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Letter to the Editor regarding proposed "Safe Routes to School" changes to Michigan Avenue near Santa Monica High School:

 

Letter to the Editor

regarding proposed "Safe Routes to School" changes to Michigan Avenue near Santa Monica High School:

I have been involved with this project since then trying to see the traffic analysis and mitigation plan that they said they would do. Of course they were delayed in doing it. After being told repeatedly by the City Planner that I would be able to see it when it was completed, she then came back and apologized and told me it wouldn't be available until a week before it went before City Council. I've spent quite a bit of time the past few days reviewing it and there are many glaring inconsistencies.

I wrote the note below to the City Council asking them to hold off on approving the Safe Routes to School plan until an adequate traffic analysis and mitigation/redistribtuion plan can be put in place. Right now the majority of the 400 displaced drivers are supposed to drop their kids off in the morning in the metered parking spots on Lincoln. That's unacceptable.

Excerpts from note to the City Council re: Agenda Item 8-B

Hello,

At the February 11 City Council meeting you are being asked by City Staff in Agenda item 8-B to approve the conceptual design for the Samohi Safe Routes to School project. I ask that you not approve this project until a better traffic analysis and plan for the significant amount of displaced trips is completed.

Work on this project started almost a year ago yet the required traffic analysis was not completed and made public until last Tuesday February 4th, not much time for the public to review. What I have found in that short time are some very significant issues with the "Transportation Analysis for the Proposed Circulation Improvements at Santa Monica High School".

The most disturbing part of the traffic analysis is trying to figure out what the plan is for the approximate 400 morning car trips (approximately 15% of the total morning Samohi trips) that currently use the route that's being eliminated by turning Michigan and 7th streets from 2 lanes into a single lane one way streets to make room for two bicycle paths.

The plan for where these cars are to be redistributed has not been clearly communicated at any of the meetings.

The Transportation Analysis says that "the majority of the trips were assigned to northbound left at Michigan and Lincoln". The future volume numbers show an increase of 58 trips. It's questionable if that path can handle the total proposed increase of 77 (29% increase) trips.

The analysis then says that "some reassigned trips are assumed to utilize the "northbound Lincoln Boulevard metered curb lane south of Michigan". This is not currently a formal drop off point for the school yet over 50% of the displaced trips are being rerouted this way, assuming cars can drop students off at the few metered spaces. Very surprising.

Other drop off locations that have generally been mentioned as replacements include the Civic Center and a new drop off point near the new Technology building. Either of these locations add about a mile to parents who primarily use the eliminated route and now must circle the high school. This would add significant traffic to already congested intersections.

This Transportation Analysis has serious issues and the plan for how the displaced traffic will be redistributed is not adequately addressed. This project should not be approved until there is a better plan to address the traffic redistribution.

There should also be a more holistic view that includes steps to increase bus ridership. I've been told that addressing the bus issue isn't a part of this "Safe Routes to School Plan" because the funding for the project is specifically to improve only biking and walking.

Unfortunately I may be wasting our time as negative impacts to traffic in Santa Monica isn't a priority to a majority of the City Council members based on the Bergamont Village vote. I hope that's not the case in this situation.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Karen Melick

2235 23rd St

Santa Monica

Mother of a junior at Samohi

 

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