Monthly Archives: December 2009

St Monica

Why worry about bike racks when you have 10 million to spend on underground car parking

Why worry about bike racks when you have 10 million to spend on underground car parking

Just around the corner from the intersection of Wilshire and Lincoln is St Monica, a Catholic school and community which has found a few million dollars to build a few hundred underground parking spaces on its site. You know the spiel: Car parking produces car traffic, car traffic produces unpleasant bike rides, and a few other nasties. With the deadline of 30 December 2009 the city has posted a DEIR (725 California Avenue) and the planner in charge who wants to hear from you is The documentation is available and has been studied by a committee of Santa Monica Spoke and we are happy to presents a detailed response to the work done so far.

The point of this effort is to make sure that the laudable attempt to make parking easier for car drivers is matched by an equal effort to make cycling and walking and transit use easier for former car drivers. This is how we are “good stewards of the earth” and “make transportation patterns more efficient”. The point is also that as a private school St Monica is an interesting example for the kind of mitigation your usual state school is exempt from. (State schools are apparently not subject to AQMD regulations that apply to normal employers)

School and church are very enthusiastic about their building project, and the motto reads: Better space for our Ministries to transform the world. Imagine: A New Era for St Monica. But somehow our neighbors have not yet understood that “Providing more parking (yay!)” is just a way of creating more driving (boo!). A better space for cars may then actually transform the world for the worse. Again, when you watch the promotional Video for the campaign, you will learn that “The new parking structure tells the community that we want to be good neighbors.” No, dear neighbors of St. Monica, the new parking structure tells the community that rather than thinking of ways to reduce the use of the car, you have raised $ 15 million (Phase 1 total: $27 million) to park them underground. Show us your bikes, and then we will know who is the good neighbor.

Soon the statue of St Monica is due to come back in front of the church, transformed from a simple stone statue to a proper bronze figure, so I hear. As the Saint is moved onto the pedestal, we wish she may get a glimpse of the poor state of the bike parking located behind her. Imagine: A New Bicycle Era for St Monica. The details of our response to the project are here.