Michigan Ave. Greenway Proposals Go To Planning Commission & Neighborhood This Week


Map of greenway proposal scope area.

The public process to explore the potential for Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway continues, with two more milestones this week. On Wednesday, the latest planning work exploring possible alternatives will be presented to the planning commission. On Thursday the second presentation will be made to the neighborhood at Virginia Park.

At a meeting open to the public hosted by Santa Monica Spoke, I got a look at some of what will likely make up part of the presentations this week. The presentation focuses on 3 approaches, of neighborhood scale roundabouts (called traffic circles in the presentation, but I’ve also seen very different interpretations for that distinction), what were called slow movement intersections using elevated intersections, textures or other features to dampen vehicular speeds, and a cycle-track option. Following the presentations and meetings this week I’ll go into some more detail about the latest these potential options, and how responses to them are going so far.

For a little more background on the context of the area, I did a write up on the first public workshop that was hosted in the Pico Neighborhood in March. In hind sight, I also should have given more credit to Barbara Filet, who is a long time bicycling advocate and resident in the Pico Neighborhood, for planting the seeds of this. She has championed Michigan Ave becoming a better route for bicycling for many years, and well before I became involved in local bike advocacy (disclaimer: Barbara is on the advisory committee for Santa Monica Next). This Streetfilms video on greenways in Portland  does a great job of introducing the neighbored greenway concept for the uninitiated.

Such corridors incorporate various kinds of features to slow top speeds and reduce car traffic volumes on neighborhood residential corridors (such as roundabouts or traffic diverters). Often they are designed to connect to schools for safer walking and bicycling (along with other aesthetics features to bring in new plants and reduce urban water run-off), and Safe Routes To School funding for Samohi dovetails with the Michigan Greenway effort.

Among many other worthwhile goals, this proposal is an important opportunity to improve safety for Samohi students walking, biking or riding skateboards to campus, many of whom are already using the Michigan Avenue corridor as a vital lower key alternative to the intensity of car traffic on Pico Boulevard. I encourage anyone supportive of possible enhancements to the Michigan Avenue corridor, or wanting to offer input, to attend one or both of the meetings this week. You can also write into the planning commissioners, and their contact information is listed here. Also be sure to mark your calendar for an onsite workshop next month featuring temporary feature installations and food trucks.

Portland’s Bike Boulevards Become Neighborhood Greenways from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

More info on upcoming city and community meetings and workshops for the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway:

  • Wednesday, August 28, 7:00pm
    The Planning Commission of the City of Santa Monica will discuss the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway project. Staff will make a presentation and the commission will provide direction and guidance. There will be time for public comment. The meeting is held in the City Council Chambers, City Hall, 1685 Main Street.
  • Thursday, August 29, 6:30 pm
    Staff will be making a presentation to the community about the project. Staff will present the project alternatives and host an interactive discussion with the group. In the Patio Room at Virginia Avenue Park.
  • Saturday, September 21, 11am-3pm
    The input from these meetings will be reflected in the event: Pop-Up MANGo: Temporary Greenway Installation and Community Festival. This event will be a free, family-friendly festival and community conversation about the project that will feature temporary installations of possible improvements for the corridor. Food trucks, music, art, and interactive activities will also be a part of the day.

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