Category Archives: Santa Monica

Slowdown: Excessive Cuts to Transportation Department Will Threaten Safety and Economic Recovery

We are pleased to support the appointment of Interim City Manager Lane Dilg last Saturday, April 18th, and her Plan for a Bright Future. We sent her a warm supportive welcome, along with this critical input on the budget recovery crisis being faced by the City of Santa Monica.

Santa Monica’s economy depends on a functioning transportation network that safely moves people, goods and services. Current proposed budget cuts will be destructive to transportation work, will disable basic functions, and slow our safe recovery from this pandemic. Transportation staff, infrastructure and services are classified as essential government functions* and perform vital functions that literally keep our community running safely. These cuts will damage safety and the very fabric of services and programs that we depend on living in Santa Monica.


Do you know all the vital services the Transportation and Mobility Division continues to provide on a daily basis, including now during this time of crisis? Learn here

Please join us and share your support with Santa Monica City Council. Information, email addresses and template can be found HERE.

Click image to download a .pdf of this document

Our Santa Monica streets are our largest public space, over 20% of our landmass, and one of our biggest assets. Our streets move people, goods, and services and are essential infrastructure for our economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial how we manage and use this public asset, an essential public safety function at the core of economic resilience, social equity, and environmental sustainability. The critical function of managing our streets is confirmed by Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20 that classified transportation infrastructure and services as essential government functions.* 

Movement of goods and services, customers or clients is critical to economic recovery. In the near-term, accommodating the movement of people and goods will need to be extremely dynamic to adapt to “the realities” of the post COVID-19 emergency. Efforts to rebound and support our local economy (businesses, employers, restaurants, retail shops, etc.) depend on maintaining and adjusting critical transportation infrastructure and services in real time, not on a delay of days or weeks due to insufficient staff. 

Santa Monica’s Transportation Department pays for itself in revenue generation (grants, programs, plan check and permit fees). It operates signals and roads on which we all depend. Transportation work assures public safety and economic activity– providing essential fiber optic network infrastructure, signal timing with regular adjustments, and Opticom first-responder systems. Proactive maintenance of these systems ensures faster response to emergencies and responsive, timely data-driven decision-making. 

These essential life saving functions are under threat with extreme plans to cut over half of the City Transportation and Mobility Division compared to 20-40% across other departments. While we can only imagine the stress and burden of decisions weighing on City Council, this level of cuts would severely impact basic public safety and infrastructure operation functions, wounding our city’s ability to rebound fiscally from the COVID-19 crisis. It is imperative to be strategic. We must consider the holistic dynamic relationships, dependencies and functions that contribute to safety, economic stability and regrowth. While the City suffers catastrophic shortfalls, we should not use a sledgehammer where a scalpel is needed to balance new budgets. Council needs to take time to cut costs strategically, while maintaining essential staff that would facilitate a safe and secure path to economic recovery and resilience. 

Transportation – Mobility – facilitates access to jobs, particularly for a local green economy, and access to education, childcare, culture, healthcare, food and services. Access is essential to all of Santa Monica’s residents, businesses, schools and visitors. Access is essential to our economic recovery. Santa Monica must have sufficient transportation staff capacity in order to maintain essential cost recovery services and retain competitiveness to identify new revenue opportunities. Mobility staff are crucial in the implementation of plans and permits to get the City back open for business. If we don’t take care of our transportation needs as we recover, we will quickly run into roadblocks to financial recovery. Multi-modal transportation infrastructure facilitates our community’s safety goals and environmentally sustainable mobility, and also creates revenue streams that ensure resources to manage this invaluable public asset necessary for a true economic recovery. 

Transportation’s self-supporting, even revenue-producing function must retain capacity to be nimble to identify new and expanded revenue streams and other emerging opportunities for grant funds, as well as repackaging of projects to capture the stimulus funds that will certainly be coming for infrastructure post shelter in place orders. Budget concepts currently under consideration threaten Transportation staff’s capacity in two main ways and jeopardize years of future economic and environmental progress. First, excessive budget cuts would severely impact the City’s ability to maintain current essential operations that support short- and long-term economic recovery, and second, hasty cuts deteriorate the ability to capture new and emerging opportunities for revenue streams necessary to manage our roads, an important and valuable public asset. Unfortunately, ironically, the use of most of our valuable public land is given away for free! That is a mistake sabotaging our recovery. With staff capacity there are proven 21st-century solutions to get us to a speedy recovery.

  • In Santa Monica we get thousands of personal and business deliveries each day. Delivery services make no fiscal contribution to defray the cost to us of their impact on roadways, curbsides, sidewalks, or other infrastructure that they use to do business. With increasing market share, e-commerce, rideshare and delivery services are receiving an ever-increasing subsidy with the free use of this public asset. Simultaneously, they divert revenue from our local brick-and-mortar businesses. Council should direct staff to pursue tools, even a tax if needed, to have the biggest users pay their fair share, and to help manage control over local impacts.
  • Passenger and courier services are adding convenience at the cost of increased GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions and traffic congestion with more VMT (vehicle miles traveled) and local trips — often with erratic driving behavior and dangerous maneuvering that adversely impact safety in our community. These services make money using our streets while diminishing our community’s safety. Council should strengthen our efforts to invest in strategic regional partnerships with LA to enable local fees that provide revenue to enhance safety and our ability to manage our assets locally.  

Since California’s stay-at-home orders went into effect, Santa Monica’s streets have become increasingly deadly. Drivers are responding to open roads with increased speeding that endangers not only our physical safety but also our community’s wellbeing. With resources, Mobility staff can pull from a toolbox of approved mitigations and strategies to temper safety impacts as we rebound from shelter in place orders. As we emerge from this COVID-19 crisis, experts project increased traffic congestion, which has proven to have negative economic impacts and negative safety impacts. Such impacts are already being experienced in cities beginning their own recoveries. Reduced access to less frequent public transportation will temporarily remain due to the continuing need to maintain safe physical distance during recovery. Access to mobility options is crucial to our essential workforce and to our rebounding economically. Without mobility options, there will be increased single-car trips and traffic congestion choking off our economic recovery.

Giving up on our goals to reduce gridlock would harm our economy, our safety, and our environment. As we recover our economy, we need Council to fulfill its commitment to public safety with Vision Zero. We cannot abandon our City’s adopted goals even when facing catastrophic budget pressures. We must remain vigilant and committed to the ethos of Santa Monica, maintain staff capacity, and put into action creative solutions to curb unsafe behavior and to reinvest in programs vital in our path to economic recovery.   

Santa Monica competes with other cities for regional, state and federal transportation dollars. Post crisis stimulus funds are anticipated for infrastructure. Applications will be increasingly competitive in the post crisis arena: staff must have capacity to be ready to capture funding opportunities. Cities that are prepared and well-positioned to receive these funds will, without doubt, perform better in economic recovery. Being ready means having shovel ready projects with continued investment in multi-modal street projects. Being ready means being competitive for securing these funds. 

How we manage our streets – or ignore them – will move us either toward environmental justice, economic recovery and climate resiliency or away from those vital goals. A sophisticated multi-modal system of people, goods and services moving throughout the city contributes to growing a healthy economy while reducing the 64% of Santa Monica’s GHG emitted by fossil-fuel travel. We are at a momentous time to shift old habits and capitalize on previous fiscal, sustainability and climate investments and the momentum of productive programs underway. Programs that contribute to our economic resilience are integral to improving safety, community wellbeing, and meeting our local and state climate commitments. A community that is vibrant, safe and supporting environmental sustainability is one with a strong economic recovery.  

Commitment to supporting equitable access is essential to Santa Monica’s recovery. Santa Monica’s staff manages critical transportation infrastructure and services as essential government functions, which directly contribute capacity to healthy economic growth. Transportation infrastructure and planning services combined with multi-modal mobility are the very foundation of a thriving, resilient economy based on public safety, equity, and sustainability.

Let’s be strategic and lean on staff expertise for thoughtful “restructuring” that reduces costs and bureaucracy while retaining essential capacity that builds confidently on the foundation and programs that our public roadways and investments afford us as they advance us to a vibrant and full recovery.

* Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-33-20 classifies transportation infrastructure and services as essential government functions, State Public Health Officer further designation clarifying Transportation Services  “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers”. The Department of Homeland Security lists 16 Critical Infrastructure Sectors: one of which is the Transportation Systems Sector. Keeping our streets safe and our recovery secure, at the time when the COVID -19 emergency is converging with the climate crisis, means that tough and thoughtful decision-making must adhere to our City’s and state’s climate priorities and strategies. The California Legislature letter to the state’s “Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery” sets out that urgency clearly.

Short version of this document can be viewed or downloaded HERE

Coronavirus Update: New Customer Service Center 📞

New Hotline and Coronavirus Customer Service Experience
March 17th the City of Santa Monica launched a new customer service experience for the Santa Monica community to get questions answered on the local response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health emergency.

The new hotline number to call us at is 310-458-8400. They will also continue to respond by email at info@santamonica.gov. Connecting between 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Community Resources
Essential Services Business Map
New COVID Hotline: 310-458-8400
Sign up for SMAlerts!

City of Santa Monica will continue to respond through social media. Please remember that new information is available daily at santamonica.gov/coronavirus.

Reduce Your Risk of Getting Sick or Spreading the Virus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces daily. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Staying away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • If you smoke or vape, consider quitting. Smokers who already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity could be at increased risk of serious illness
  • Following guidance from public health officials.

Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.

Santa Monica Farmers Markets are Open

The Farmers Markets will be an option for shoppers to continue to have access to fresh produce in an open setting to maximize social distancing. All markets will continue offering CalFresh/EBT for low income shoppers to access healthy produce. The market’s continuation of service will also minimize economic impacts to participating small Farmers, so they remain able to serve the market community in the months and years to come.

All vendors and customers are requested to avoid the market for non-essential visits, if ill, and if concerned of potential COVID-19 transmission. Additional options for hand washing and hand santitizer are available at each market in addition to plumbed restrooms. Any updates to market programming will be provided on both the City of Santa Monica & Santa Monica Farmers Market social media and website. (Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @SMFMS)
********************
If you’re coming to the Santa Monica Farmers Markets, please practice safe physical distancing, use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water, and cover your cough. If you are sick, please stay home. 

Changing how the City works to protect Santa Monica 

The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed every aspect of our lives – school closures, teleworking, sports seasons cut short, bars shuttered.  The City of Santa Monica has adjusted how they work in this local emergency.  Their goal is to focus all their energy, resources, and talent to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

Safer at Home through May 15. Santa Monica Extends Local Emergency and Associated Orders through May 15. Learn more.
Farmers Market: Temporarily shifting farmers markets into two weekly Farmers Markets – Wednesday and Saturday market in Downtown Santa Monica, for the duration of the Stay at Home order. The market will be open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Click Learn more 
The Do’s and Don’ts when wearing face coverings: Employees and Patrons at open businesses in Santa Monica must wear face coverings. Learn more.

Your Frequently Asked Questions Answered
New Emergency Orders – March 18th

The City will continue to provide essential public services, but have changed how they do it to limit exposure for their workforce and for residents. Here’s what this means for their operations:

  • The City of Santa Monica is currently operating in a local emergency and this means staff – planners, administrative assistants, architects, and IT experts become Disaster Service Workers in order to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency and to ensure the public health, safety, and welfare, including protection of property. 
  • Only essential staff will be coming into work while most of the workforce will telework and collaborate through teleconferencing.  
  • All non-essential City travel has been suspended and City staff will not attend in-person events or conferences that gathers people for a non-essential purpose.

Here’s what this means for you now through March 31: 

  • City Hall will be closed to the public and all non-essential staff. Reach out to them via phone, email or the City’s website
  • Santa Monica Public Library branches will also be closed. All items checked out will be renewed and late fees waived for the duration of the closure. No fines will be incurred and materials will be automatically renewed. The book drops will be closed; we encourage everyone to hang onto their materials until the library reopens. 
  • Facility closures, including Annenberg Community Beach House, Camera Obscura Art Lab, Clover Park office, Memorial Park buildings, Miles Memorial Playhouse, Reed Park tennis office, Swim Center, and the Virginia Avenue Park campus. 
  • Public counters like the Animal Shelter, Housing Division office, Rent Control, GoSaMo Center at Parking Structure 5, and Finance Office will be closed. The Public Safety counter will remain open.  
  • Youth and recreation programs have been cancelled for the duration, including CREST, PAL, adult sports leagues, tennis court permits, swim classes and the like.  
  • All Board and Commission meetings have been suspended. The March 24 Council meeting will proceed, but with a different format that is accessible to the public (they have more on that soon).

These changes are significant, and they are necessary.  The City has taken them to protect you and your neighbors from the profound health and economic impacts of this global pandemic. That’s why they have also issued an emergency proclamation placing a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent by residential tenants impacted by COVID-19.They’ve also suspended water and sewer service shut-offs for non-payment and are waiving late fee penalties for water and sewer bills and the late fee penalties for parking tickets. 

Your City team is working around the clock to implement best practices. Please follow this advice to protect yourself and your neighbors: 

  • If you are over age 65, stay home and shelter in place. If you need nutritious food, there are resources available, including Meals on Wheels West  (310-394-5133, extension 1) and delivery services like Postmates and Instacart. Local grocery stores also offer similar services, including Bob’s MarketRalphsGelson’s, and Pavilions.  
  • Everyone else should limit activities outside your home and practice “social distancing” by putting six feet of distance between you and others.   
  • Avoid people who are sick or who may have been exposed to those who are sick. 
  • Wash your hands  often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
  • If soap and water are not readily available,  use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. 
  • Avoid touching  your eyes, nose, and mouth  with unwashed hands. 

Please continue to check santamonica.gov/coronavirus for the latest daily updates and videos through this SaMoNews community newsletterFacebookTwitter, and Instagram. All information is accessible at santamonica.gov/coronavirus.  
You can subscribe to get City of Santa Monica updates yourself here!

The situation is changing daily, even hourly.  The City is adapting their operations, taking guidance from State and County public health officials. Santa Monica is a community with a heart and strong sense of family.  Take care of yourself and let’s work together to take care of others. 

Stay informed.  Stay calm.  Stay healthy.

Facts About Price Gouging The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Consumer Protection Division advises business operators and the public that price gouging, or raising the cost of certain goods or services more than 10 percent during a State of Emergency, is against the law.  The ban on price-gouging applies to medical supplies, food, emergency supplies, transportation, temporary and permanent housing, and other essential goods and services. California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a State of Emergency throughout the state on March 4, 2020, after California’s first death due to coronavirus. The ban is in effect in areas such as Santa Monica. The price-gouging law applies to both businesses and individuals. Prices can be increased by more than 10 percent only if the costs of providing the goods or services also increased. Both businesses and consumers should save receipts and records of prices.  If you think you’ve been subjected to price-gouging in Santa Monica, contact the Consumer Protection Division at 310-458-8336 at Consumer.Mailbox@smgov.net or smconsumer.org.

In Los Angeles County, contact the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at dcba.lacounty.gov

City Temporarily Closes Santa Monica Businesses to the Public

March 16th, effective at noon, the City of Santa Monica issued a supplement to the local emergency proclamation that requires two week closure of the following businesses: 

  • All bars and nightclubs that do not serve food will be closed to the public. 
  • Any bars or nightclubs that serve food may remain open only for purposes of continuing to prepare and offer food to customers via delivery service or to be picked up. Dine-in food service is prohibited. 
  • All restaurants and retail food facilities are prohibited from serving food for consumption on premises. Restaurants and retail food facilities may continue to operate for purposes of preparing and offering food to customers via delivery service, to be picked up or for drive-thru. For those establishments offering food pick-up options, proprietors are directed to establish social distancing practices for those patrons in the queue for pick-up. 
  • The following are exempt from this Order: (i) cafeterias, commissaries, and restaurants located within hospitals, nursing homes, or similar facilities; (ii) grocery stores; (iii) pharmacies; and (iv) food banks. 
  • Trucks and other vehicles that deliver grocery items to grocery stores, when such items are to be made available for sale to the public, are exempt from having to comply with any City rules and regulations that limit the hours for such deliveries, including, without limitation, Section 9.28.080 of the Santa Monica Municipal Code. 
  • All movie theaters, live performance venues, bowling alleys and arcades will be closed to the public. 
  • All gyms and fitness centers will be closed to the public. 
  • All businesses providing physical health and beauty services, including spas, hair salons, massage parlors, and nail salons, that do not provide medical care or services that supplement medical care as directed by medical professionals will be closed to the public.

The Order will go into effect at noon on March 16, 2020, through March 31, 2020, at 11:59 p.m.

City Temporarily Closes the Santa Monica Pier

March 15th the City of Santa Monica issued an executive order to temporarily close the Santa Monica Pier to the public as part of its local emergency proclamation. This follows new guidance from  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling for events and gatherings, whether planned or spontaneous, that include 50 or more people to be canceled to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  Beginning at 6 a.m. March 16, 2020, the Santa Monica Pier, parking deck, and Pier businesses will be closed to people and cars.

Temporary Moratorium on Evictions 

March 14th 2020 the City of Santa Monica issued a supplement to the local emergency proclamation that places a temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent by residential tenants impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

During the period of local emergency declared in response to COVID-19, a landlord cannot evict a tenant for nonpayment of rent if the tenant is unable to pay rent due to financial impacts related to COVID-19, including:being sick with COVID-19, or caring for a household or family member who is sick with COVID-19;lay-off, loss of hours, or other income reduction resulting from business closure or other economic or employer impacts of COVID-19;compliance with a recommendation from a government health authority to stay home, self-quarantine, or avoid congregating with others during the state of emergency;extraordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses; orchild care needs arising from school closures related to COVID-19. A landlord also cannot pursue a no-fault eviction unless necessary for the health and safety of tenants, neighbors, or the landlord.The order also suspends the discontinuation or shut off of water service for residents and businesses in the City for non-payment of water and sewer bills; the imposition of late payment penalties or fees for delinquent water and/or sewer bills; and the imposition of late payment penalties or fees for parking violations for the next 60 days.
Read More

Coronavirus Update on Gatherings and Social Distancing

The City of Santa Monica places the highest value on your health and safety. We are taking aggressive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in cooperation with the LA County Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health. Today, March 12 we have:

  1. All gatherings are cancelled, including events, programs, and activities, both hosted by the City of Santa Monica and other groups. A full list of closures is available at santamonica.gov/coronavirus.
  2. City of Santa Monica Boards and Commission (except Planning Commission) meetings are suspended through March 31, 2020. City Council and Planning Commission details will be available soon.
  3. We encourage social distancing of at least six feet while in public spaces.
  4. City services will continue, but no public access to City Hall will be available Monday, March 16 – March 31. For information on how to access public counter services, call 310-458-8301, email info@santamonica.gov, or visit santamonica.gov/coronavirus.

You can subscribe to get City of Santa Monica updates yourself here!

HandleBar Happy Hour: Daily Grill February 27th

click image to see event page

We hope you can join us for our February HandleBar Happy Hour at Daily Grill
Our group will be treated to an extended Happy Hour! #KidFriendly

Fresh-Handmade-Local
The Daily Grill invites to – Your Home Away From Home

This month we are joined by the ED, board and staff of the California Bicycle Coalition and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s ED Eli Akira Kaufman! Hope you can join us!

When: Thursday, February 27th
Where: Daily Grill, 2501 Colorado Ave, Between Cloverfield & 26th
Time: 5:30 pm – 8 pm …..

**Easy access by bike, BBB or Expo, 3 hours parking with validation at Colorado Center Garage

#HBHH #BikeLocalSM #BikeSM #SMSpoke #DrinkLocalSM #EatLocalSM
Our Happy Hours support local businesses and BuyLocalSM

Big thank you to our January #BuyLocalSM #BikeLocalSM #HBHH venue Lanea!

If it’s on your way don’t forget to pass the Bike Counter!

Bike 3 February 22nd postponed to March 7th

Due to a forecast of possible rain, we have postponed tomorrow’s class to Saturday, March 7 at 9:00 AM.
We’re sorry, there will NOT be a class February 22. 


Do you want to be more comfortable and confident when cycling on city roads? Take Bike 3 – Street Skills class and practice what you learned in a real-world setting.

The Bike 3 – Street Skills class, presented by Metro, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition – LACBC and Santa Monica Spoke is a free 2.5-hour class for adults and teens to practice safe riding with a group of beginning cyclists. You’ll learn cycling etiquette, practice riding in a real-world setting, and make pit stops at local establishments to get refreshments.

FREE REGISTRATION HERE
Class size is limited. Pre-registration is required. Register now to guarantee your spot!

Kidical Mass Sunday, February 9th – Still a GO!

We are watching the weather forecast!!
— UPDATES WILL BE POSTED HERE —

Last year it rained early in the morning but stopped just before the ride. The event went on and it was an absolutely stunningly beautiful day!

click image to load event page with all the info and any updates

DATE:    Sunday February 9th
TIME:    9:00 AM – NOON
START:  Ishihara Park (2909 Exposition Blvd)
– meet Exposition Blvd between picnic area and playground.

Free: Please RSVP HERE so we have enough refreshments and activity supplies!
Por favor RSVP AQUÍ así que tenemos suficientes refrigerios y materiales de actividad!

Join Santa Monica Spoke and the City of Santa Monica Safe Routes to School for the next Kidical Mass Family Bike Ride from Ishihara Park and Community Gardens!  We are excited to be joined by the Santa Monica Community Gardeners with fresh pancakes and tours of the Community Learning Garden. You never know what special guest could join us.
RSVP and arrive to Check-in for your pre-ride snacks and activities! 
YEY Prize Drawings!

* Children must be accompanied and are the responsibility of their parents. Bikes should be in good working condition. Free Safety Checks on site for minor adjustments/repairs. Please use good judgement – ride is on city streets – smaller children should be in a child seat, in a trailer or Tag-a-long……