Monthly Archives: June 2010

Santa Monica Spoke meeting tonight!

Dont’ for get to come and and join us this evening for the first of our regular monthly meetings

Date: 16 June, 2010

Day: Wednesday

Time: 6:30pm

Place: 502 Colorado Ave,           corner of 5th and Colorado in Santa Monica, enter through gate on Colorado

Bike parking on the patio, car parking on the street and in city structures

Hope to see you there!!

The LUCE at City Council

The Santa Monica City Council will continue its series of special public hearings on the Draft Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) today, June 15th at 5:45PM.  The purpose of these hearings is to determine the final contents of the LUCE, and adopt the Plan and its associated Environmental Impact Report.

Future special meetings of the City Council dealing with the LUCE are on the following dates:

Tuesday, June 15 – Special Council meeting, Budget Adoption AND LUCE meeting – 5:45 p.m.

  • 1.     Community Benefits
  • 2.     Housing Strategy
  • 3.     Employment Strategy
  • 4.     Fiscal Impact of Future Land Uses

Thursday, June 24 – Special LUCE meeting – 6:30 – 10:30 p.m.

  • 1.     Final EIR
  • 2.     Districts
  • 3.     Activity Centers
  • 4.     Mix of Uses
  • 5.     Heights

Thursday, July 1 – Special LUCE meeting – 6:30 – 10:30 p.m.

  • 1.     Sustainability/Monitoring & Implementation
  • 2.     Heights
  • 3.     Deliberation

Tuesday, July 6 – Special LUCE meeting – 6:30 – 10:30 p.m.

  • 1.     Deliberation
  • 2.     Adoption of Final LUCE/Certification of Final EIR

If you would like to learn more about the comprehensive vision for the City’s Land Use and Transportation policy, or if you would like to voice your comments on the content of the Plan, please consider going TODAY, June 15th, 2010 at 5:45 p.m. in Council Chambers (City Hall, 1685 Main Street, Santa Monica 90401).

If you have any questions about the plan or the public process, please write to

Federal Safe Routes Program Under Attack

Urge Your Representative to Support Safe Routes To Schools

Take Action!

House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) has targeted the federal
Safe Routes to School program established under the 2005 Federal
Surface Transportation Bill (SAFETEA-LU) as wasteful government
spending in his weekly “YouCut program”.

Each week representative Cantor asks people to vote for which of five
options they would cut from the federal budget. Republicans then hold
a floor vote in the House of Representatives to try to eliminate the
program that gets the most votes.

This week, the federal Safe Routes to School program is one of
Rep. Cantor’s targets. He argues that SRTS duplicates other
bicycling and walking programs, and that bicycling and walking
infrastructure is a local government responsibility. We need your
help making sure that Members of Congress understand the
value of Safe Routes to School and support it.

Please take a few minutes to send a message to your Member
of Congress to ask them to vote against any effort to cut Safe
Routes to School.

Santa Monica Spoke meeting, Wednesday, June 16th 6:30pm

The first of our new monthly meetings has been set for this coming Wednesday, June 16th at 6:30pm in the community room at 502 Colorado Blvd (5th and Colorado)

We are excited to have a special guest Santa Monica City Council member Terry O’Day attending to “talk bikes” in Santa Monica!   Terry O’Day is running to keep his seat in November so now is a great time to meet and talk with him on his ideas for the future.

Come to the meeting, meet the Steering Committee – find out what we are doing and let us know what YOU want to see done.  We need your input to make our city a more friendly, bikeable place to live and play.  With your input we CAN make this happen.

Recently Santa Monica Spoke has been working to get more bike parking in crucial areas of the city such as around downtown and the Third Street Promenade, improving and suggesting new bike lanes, organizing the increasingly successful “Bike it Days” at local schools.  Come, get involved or just give us your input.  Spread the word!!  We’d love to meet you and get your ideas!

The meeting place: 502 Colorado Blvd (5th and Colorado) – enter through the gate on Colorado, We urge you to come on two wheels –Bike parking on the patio. car parking on the street or city structures.

AGENSYS Rx: Cancer Prevention through Bike Path

Agensys is a highly-esteemed biotech firm doing cutting-edge research to cure cancer that offers high-paying jobs in a clean manufacturing environment. The company is now housed in several Santa Monica buildings and it hopes to consolidate all operations by constructing a 153,000-square-foot building at the 4-acre 1800 Stewart Street site, right next to the future Bergamot rail station, on city-owned land, which it desires to lease for 50 years. It is just the kind of company the city wants within its borders, and other cities would throw out the welcome mat for such a plum. But to win permission to build in Santa Monica, it must meet design guidelines and offer community benefits.

Agensys had been told by the planning commission that one public benefit very much desired by the community is a bike path on its southern border, which would connect Michigan Ave., to Stewart St. and Exposition Blvd. Creating this link would open up a whole new route for bicyclists, via Michigan Avenue, from West Los Angeles and the eastern part of Santa Monica directly to the beach, civic center and Santa Monica High School (with one detour around Crossroads School, to be fixed in the future). This path would provide a link through the 38-acre block of land containing Bergamot, the city yards and Stewart Park, the largest un-crossable collection of parcels in Santa Monica after the airport. It would provide a much-needed east-west bike route between Broadway and Pearl. The people at Agensys have not wanted to revise their designs to include a bike path, which they reiterated at the council meeting on April 27. While some Council members argued for the bike path, others seemed hesitant, perhaps star-struck by a desirable employer like Agensys.

At a June 1 meeting for residents living nearby the proposed Agensys project, Dale Goldsmith, the Agensys lawyer, explained how staff had wanted Agensys to provide a pedestrian walkway and they had done so. End of story. His position was that the future (2015 at the earliest) Expo bike path should provide all the bicycle facilities necessary for this 38 acre area. Or a bicyclist could dismount and walk through the Agensys pedestrian path they planned to provide.

Proposed Bike Path through Agensys site

Agensys developers oppose building vital Bergamot bike path

Those options are inconvenient, potentially hazardous and will do little to help cycling become an easy choice for local trips, as LUCE calls for. A bike path from Stewart Street to Michigan is the missing link for a direct, convenient bicycle connection between Bergamot Station and surrounding communities with Santa Monica High School, the Civic Center and the beach. Architects have suggested it is possible to do creative things with building design to make room for the bike path: cut out a notch, place the mass elsewhere or combine a sliver of city yard land with this parcel. The Agensys folks felt they had done enough, and they threatened to pull out of the city completely if they had to provide more benefits.

I think their confidence and unwillingness to do more has to do with the public fear of cancer and the desire to accommodate a prestigious company looking for a cure.

When I discovered my breast cancer in 2003, it was a shock that transformed my life. I benefited from an innovative cancer therapy and I changed my lifestyle to help prevent a recurrence, successfully so far. One of the most important changes I made was to become more physically active. I now bicycle for nearly all my local trips, which integrates regular exercise into my daily life. Cycling can improve overall health and research shows it can help reduce cancer risk as well.

So it frustrates me when the good scientists at Agensys threaten they can’t accommodate a bike path on their southern border because it will compromise their cancer research. Contributing a 14-foot corridor for this bike path would provide a vital connection for implementing the active transportation network we need to live healthy lives, and cut down on the car trips the neighbors so fear. With all due respect to Agensys’ important work, preventing cancer is better than curing cancer!

Bicycling just half an hour a day reduces risk of cancer by 34 percent according to a new Swedish report published in the British Journal of Cancer. The study, which looked at more than 40,000 Scandinavian men ages 45-79, found a direct relationship between the amount of time men spent cycling and the risk of being diagnosed with cancer and their cancer recovery rate.

The constrained Santa Monica City Yards is not able to remove any buildings to create a bike path at this time. But there is a little strip of land BEHIND the city yard buildings that appears available. Perhaps it can be combined with some Agensys land to create the bike path. That way, Agensys can take pride in both helping prevent cancer and helping to cure it.

And with a 50-year lease, it is now or practically never. There is another public meeting about this project on Wednesday, June 9 at 7:00 pm in Virginia Park, this one hosted by the city, so mercifully, more urban designers and bicyclists will show up and make their wishes known.

(Barbara Filet)