City Unveils “Thrilling” First/Last Mile Plan for Bergamot Transit Station

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“I’m thrilled,” said Cynthia Rose, the executive director of Santa Monica Spoke, when asked about her thoughts about the Bergamot Area First/Last Mile Improvements – a series of bicycle and pedestrian safety projects aimed at improving access to the station and arts area from the north, south, and east. A full copy of the presentation can be found here.

The plan, which was introduced at a public meeting held by Spoke earlier this week after five years of outreach that included hundreds of mailers, to people living in the project area, public meetings and tabling at local events, is for a series of road safety improvements along 1.6 miles of streets near the station. The project area includes Olympic Blvd from 26th St to Stewart St (.3 miles); 26th St from Olympic Blvd to Broadway (.3 miles); and Stewart St from Colorado Ave to Kansas Ave, Colorado Ave from Stewart St to Yale St, and Pennsylvania Ave from 26th St to Stewart St (1 mile). Some of the projects have been in the works for longer than five years.

“Staff has done an incredible job staying focused on this, making good projects even better,” Rose continued.

The City Council will hear the plan at next week’s meeting, and thanks in part to its extensive five-year outreach plan, it is expected to be quickly approved. All of the projects in the plan are already funded, with the bulk of the funding coming from L.A. Metro.

The full list of plan improvements includes:

Olympic Boulevard from Stewart St to 26th Street

Most of the plan is about improving conditions for people walking such as the installation of a new 7’ sidewalk where there is not one today on the north side of Olympic Boulevard.

New Sidewalk, Trees, & Street Lights

The project will construct a new 7’ sidewalk where there is not one today to close gaps in the pedestrian network and reduce barriers for people walking and rolling to/from the Metro train station and the surrounding employment area. In addition, thirty-two (32) trees and ten (10) streetlights will be installed.

Close Slip Lane

The project will modify the northeast corner of Olympic Blvd and 26th St to remove the channelized right turn or slip lane. This will reduce speeds for turning vehicles and improve sightlines.

26th Street from Olympic Boulevard to Broadway

A bike box similar to the one pictured here will be installed on 26th St and Broadway

Concrete Barriers

Concrete barriers will be installed on 26th St from Olympic Blvd to Broadway, connecting bicyclists and scooter users to the future Broadway protected bike lanes from 5th to 26th. 

Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI)

Traffic signal timing adjustments such as an LPI will be implemented at signalized intersections to give pedestrians the opportunity to enter an intersection a few seconds before vehicles are given a green indication. With this head start, pedestrians can better establish their presence in the crosswalk and are more visible to motorists which improves yielding compliance. 

Stewart St and Pennsylvania Ave

A protected bikeway will be coming to Stewart Street

Concrete Barriers

Concrete barriers will be installed on Stewart St from Colorado Ave to Kansas Ave to create protection from moving traffic. The existing bike lanes will shift curbside while parking will shift away from the curb. This treatment increases safety and comfort while also attracting more riders of all ages and abilities. 

Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI)

Traffic signal timing adjustments such as an LPI will be implemented at signalized intersections to give pedestrians the opportunity to enter an intersection a few seconds before vehicles are given a green indication. With this head start, pedestrians can better establish their presence in the crosswalk and are more visible to motorists which improves yielding compliance. 

Bicycle Traffic Signals

A dedicated signal alerting bicyclists that they can cross through the intersection without vehicular traffic moving.

Bicycle signals will be installed at Stewart St/Colorado Ave and Stewart St/Olympic Blvd. 

Bike Gap Closure & Turn Restrictions

Bicyclists will have a dedicated left turn to connect to Yale St. Left turns from Colorado Ave onto Yale St will be restricted for drivers. The existing crosswalk at Colorado Ave and Yale St will be removed to reduce conflicts and decision points that need to be made within this tight space.

Bus Boarding Island

Two bus boarding islands will be installed on Stewart St; one near Colorado Ave and one near Pennsylvania Ave for southbound and northbound buses. Bus operators will stop in- lane with traffic to load/unload passengers. This design improves transit efficiency and eliminates bus/bike conflicts.

Curb Extension & Turn Restrictions

A curb extension will be added on the south corner of Nebraska Ave to shorten crossing distance, reduce pedestrian exposure to moving vehicles, and reduce turning speeds; a right-turn only sign will also be installed on Nebraska Ave.

A 5’ center median will be installed on Stewart St to prevent left-turns out of and into Nebraska Ave. 

Raised Bicycle Facility

A short section (240 feet) of the bike facility from the 10 Freeway underpass to Kansas Ave, will be raised to sidewalk level. The 8’ bikeway will contain signage and bike markings to clarify the space allocated for bicyclists and scooter. The project terminates at Kansas Ave, leading users to nearby schools and parks. 

Install Lighting & Street Trees

Twenty (20) new trees and nineteen (19) new street and pedestrian light poles will be installed along Pennsylvania Ave. between 26th St and Stewart St.

New Sidewalk

A new sidewalk, ranging from 5’ to 15’ wide, will be constructed on Pennsylvania Ave. between 26th St. and Stewart St. where there is not one today.

Parking on the south side of Pennsylvania Ave will be removed to accommodate the new sidewalk which will provide a safe path of travel for people walking and bicycling to/from work, home, Santa Monica College, Metro E Line, and Expo Bike Path.

Damien Newton
Damien Newton
Damien is the executive director of the Southern California Streets Initiative which publishes Santa Monica Next, Streetsblog Los Angeles, Streetsblog San Francisco, Streetsblog California and Longbeachize.

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