Music,games and Ice Cream! A “pop-up” Bike Lane, free helmets and helmet decorating plus a bike obstacle and safety course by Santa Monica Spoke for the Kids!
See the event HERE!
click to see full size flyer
17th Street is experiencing an increase in the number of people walking and biking. People are using the street for neighborhood trips as well as to get to and from the Expo Light Rail station at 17th and Colorado. Members of the community have reached out to say they don’t feel comfortable walking or biking at night or during the early morning along 17th Street. The City is working towards adding safety improvements along 17th Street from Pico Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard and Michigan Avenue from 14th Street to 19th Street to help address the safety concerns.
The goal for the project is to address community concerns and help people feel more safe and comfortable to walk or bike. Another goal of the project is to respond to requests to have the street feel more like a neighborhood street and less of a cut-through street.
The project proposes to improve the pedestrian lighting, create better crosswalks and make people who bike more visible and better protected. Help us make 17th Street safer and more comfortable for everyone.
By: Community Voices, re-posted with the permission.
This post originally appeared on the blog of local community activist and organizer Luke Klipp. It was republished on Santa Monica Next and their sister site, Longbeachize. Klipp serves as a Metro Board Deputy to Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and he is the President of the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council. He is also the founder of online organizing efforts “Greater LA” and “Happy Urbanists.” The opinions expressed here are his own
Mis-an-thro-py (noun): A dislike of mankind
Mis-an-thrope (noun): A person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society
Mis-an-thro-pic (adjective): Disliking humankind and avoiding human society
Why is everyone else traffic?
It’s a simple question, really, but it belies a much bigger challenge in a culture that relies so heavily on the most inefficient means of transportation: cars.
Go to any community meeting discussing a possible new park or creative space or commercial venture or new housing, and the chief concern will be traffic and parking. Watch the local news about a big event coming to town, and the primary areas of focus will be traffic and parking. Traffic reports are as frequently provided on every radio station and every television station as reports of the weather, and more frequently than anything else.
So, again, why is everyone else traffic?
I reflected on this as I sat in the window at our bed and breakfast in Copenhagen, overlooking a street filled with patrons of the bakery downstairs, enjoying their baguettes and pastries while jazz music filtered up the street and a violin could be heard playing in the distance.
There was not a car in sight or in sound, and there were people everywhere. And it was delightful. Oh, and we got to our bed and breakfast from the airport with ease; no congestion, no honking, no exhaust fumes, and no brake lights.
I reflect on this today as I sit at my Los Angeles home, listening to cars roaring past, hearing nary a human voice or instrumental sound.
Engines purr and growl, and an occasional bus makes its presence known with an automated announcement whenever it pauses at the stop across the street. Handfuls of humans churn past in their climate-controlled, self-contained pods, and not one of them can be heard except for the sounds of their engines.
And I reflected on this at a recent community meeting, where the possibility of an outdoor patio at a restaurant was enough to turn out several neighbors in opposition, even though the adjacent street sees tens of thousands of cars, motorcycles, and buses churning past 24/7, creating much louder noise.
Somehow the much-louder sounds of engines barely registered, while the possibility of people audibly enjoying themselves was enough to motivate people to come to community meetings and express their opposition. Recent research has shown that the sound of cars and trucks burdens life, leading to negative health outcomes, and yet that never registers a single comment, despite people’s clear sensitivity to sound.
Misanthropy: A Dislike of Humankind
Our reliance on our cars makes us into misanthropes. But then, every single day, the vast majority of us step into isolated rolling rooms.
By our nature, we are social beings. Yes, some portion of us are naturally more introverted, meaning we recharge when we have space to ourselves; ultimately, however, we know from myriad studies that even just a few days of social isolation will inflict lifelong, permanent emotional and mental trauma upon a person.
We see only the backs of others’ heads and we are terrified to look directly into the eyes of another person, because it means that we are headed straight for each other.
We communicate through turn signals and brake lights, and almost the only time we hear each others’ voices is on the occasion that we’re yelling a crude remark or expressing frustration (and certainly almost never joy).
We are never physically close to each other, needing to leave lots of room to avoid a possible collision that would result in thousands of dollars in damage.
We don’t see faces and human interactions; we see brands and driving patterns, learning things like how BMWs and Benzs tend to be reckless, and getting restless when other drivers take time to be thoughtful and careful.
We get upset at the inconvenience of someone walking across a street or biking ahead of us, even as their choices mean fewer cars traveling on the street.
We want wider streets and faster speeds, with as much space between us and others as possible.
If you were to create a technology with the intention of turning a socially-inclined species against itself, you could hardly do better than the automobile. Neighbors get upset at the prospect of a new local attraction. Shipping interests support efforts that displace thousands from their homes. And people just going to and from work feel empowered to organize in opposition to any effort to save lives and spare many others from a lifetime of medical bills and bankruptcy.
Early in its infancy, the automobile was viewed as an affront to humanity.
But as the technology was promoted by an industry determined to defeat the odds, and as more and more people adopted it, the rules that had once been created to save human lives were co-opted by rules intended to give the automobile industry supremacy, even as that shift has meant the loss of millions of human lives.
We have widened lanes, widened roads, obliterated our street trees, pushed out residences and businesses in droves, and sacrificed untold numbers of human lives, all in obeisance to the great automobile. And where has it gotten us? To hear many people say it, we’ve apparently not done nearly enough, given how much more parking/roadways/et cetera we need.
Finding Our Humanity Again
Rather than not enough, we have already done way, way too much to accommodate cars.
Rather than recognize the value and importance of our neighborhoods, we have turned them into drive-thrus, even banning things like kids’ street games to facilitate faster driving.
Rather than focus on the safety of our most vulnerable street users who travel on foot or on bikes, we have turned them into obstacles that must be minimized.
Rather than confronting and addressing the daily carnage that would be considered horrifying statistics for any other industry, we have and continue to turn a blind eye – over and over – even going so far as to claim that any efforts to stop the bloodshed is “exploitation” of those whose lives and livelihoods it claims.
Yes, our automobiles turn otherwise rational human beings into misanthropes. The question is whether we understand and recognize this and are ready and willing to reassert our humanity.
Which do we value more: our speed or our safety? Which do we recognize as giving back more to the community: our local businesses or our big-box and chain shops? Which do we see more as representing our neighborhoods better: our local, walkable streets or our freeways? What is more meaningful to us: space for our cars or space for our lives?
It’s time for everyone else to stop being traffic and to just be, well, everyone else.
Multiracial Group of Friends with Hands in Stack, Teamwork
How will Santa Monica’s leadership commit to this effort over the next two years? These are our asks, Agenda Item 9A.
June 27, 2017
Dear Mayor, City Council, City management and staff
With the number of crashes involving fatalities or serious injuries still climbing at alarming rates — we reaffirm that the time is now to make a strong commitment to Vision Zero and a true and meaningful investment in safer streets.
On May 9th Council gave clear direction they wanted staff to explore the creation of a staff coordinator to implement the City’s commitment to Vision Zero and the need to see real results in reducing serious traffic injuries and fatalities on our streets. Staff’s recommendation appears to be an incomplete response to council’s direction of creating a position to expedite implementation and to coordinate and capitalize on external and interdepartmental opportunities that may otherwise be lost.
In Santa Monica we have a demonstrated history of how talented and dedicated staff have produced undeniable successes and results. We are aiming for, and have achieved, huge environmental and sustainability successes, such as successful water conservation, implemented a nationally-recognized Wellness Project, and increased biking, a healthy active mobility option that contributes to a healthier environment and community. All of these successes have been reached by dedicating staff and money to achieve these results. The ultimate cost for not meeting our Vision Zero goals is loss of life. Money doesn’t have a brain or specific expertise, money cannot make the strategic and tactical decisions to achieve our ultimate commitment to our City’s safety goals and Vision Zero — Only people can, the time to start is now.
Fixing problems is more intensive and costs money. Preventative measures save money and in this case save lives. We are now faced with “fixing” outdated planning policies of an auto centric 50’s that have recently made safety on our streets exponentially worse — we must be proactive in identifying and addressing solutions. Santa Monica must continue to be a catalyst and leader in protecting the lives of our residents and visitors. We heard our City Manager recount how Bill Bratton was laughed at because he wanted to “prevent crimes”. However that didn’t stop him and he made his vision a reality in NY! Let us not laugh off proactive implementation to reach our commitment to a safer Santa Monica and Vision Zero. We must progress beyond words on a page and create a proactive, transparent system with dedicated funding and specific actions toward this effort if we truly want to succeed in reducing preventable traffic injuries and fatalities in 10 years.
We understand there are many tradeoffs as we discuss the very real budgetary and financial issues for running our city. There can be no tradeoffs when it comes to the lives of our community and the epidemic of serious injuries and traffic fatalities we are now facing locally, regionally and nationally — we must not continue to dehumanize these preventable deaths and injuries by making them so abstract that they seem as though they are someone else’s problem. With this two year budget we must demonstrate true leadership and real investment in the safety of our community. We ask that council’s direction be followed and that we expedite necessary changes in practice to institutionalize, catalyze and guide efforts and focus to achieve our goals. We fully support the monetary proposal to jump-start and implement key safety projects. However it is imperative that we use a data-driven process and capable leadership to implement strategies that evaluate our progress and institute adjustments as necessary without collectively diluting the efforts of an already busy staff who continue to implement successes in other related and important roles.
In Santa Monica we lead with initiatives like the Wellbeing Project that prioritizes human health and safety. Let’s continue this legacy and keep our streets safe as we encourage active transportation that must also reflect council’s priority to our Vision Zero Policy and infrastructure that removes safety barriers to make it a viable choice for our community — in addition to the framework to make safety implementation real.
This letter is submitted by Cynthia Rose for Santa Monica Spoke and Cris Gutierrez for Climate Action Santa Monica.
See our previous letter to Santa Monica City Council on Vision Zero HERE
Santa Monica Forward’s shared their values on the budget and Vision Zero HERE
Ride Breeze or ride your own bike, but don’t miss this one!
For June we have another 3X the fun event! We combine the Monthly Ride with the Mayor, Summer Breeze Community Ride (includes free 1.5 hours ride time credit*) & a Feeder Ride to the Ribbon Cutting for Santa Monica’s New Main Street Parklets & the 17th Annual Summer Soulstice Festival — all into ONE and all for FREE!
We’ll start the morning at the New California Incline Breeze Station (Ocean Ave & California) at 8:45am.
Santa Monica Spoke is joined by Public Bikes and Main Street Santa Monica to lead this June Community Bike Ride Event that culminates at the New Parkets Ribbon Cutting and the Main Street Summer Soulstace Festival. We’ll be joined by council member Sue Himmelrich riding for the Mayor, City of Santa Monica Mobility Team and of course Breeze Bike Share starting at the new Breeze Station at the top of the California Incline for this 3x’s the FUN EVENT!
Surely to be a day of fun, entertainment and excitement. You’ll get to experience some of Santa Monica’s amazing coastline along the Beach Bike Path, chat with the City Council member(s), City Management and staff on our way to the New Parkets Ribbon Cutting and the all day entertainment at the 17th Annual Summer Soulstice Festival on Main Street!. The ride is under 3 miles. We begin with a ride down the separated Bicycle & Pedestrian Path on the new California Incline, to the Marvin Braud Beach Bike Path and down Main Street for the Ribbon Cutting of the New Parklets (at Holy Guacamole) and the 17th Annual Summer Soulstice Festival. More info HERE
Like all our Breeze Community Rides you will have the opportunity to learn helpful tips on how to use the Breeze Bike Share system, including checking out, locking, flexibility of “out-of-station” and the ”hold” feature, multiple bike check out on one account, along with safety tips and Rules of the Road.
Ride Breeze Bike Share or ride your own bike — all are welcome!
It promises to be a day filled with fun, exploration, entertainment, NEW PARKLETS plus the 17th Annual Summer Soulstice Festival – all for FREE!!