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Santa Monica to Weigh $2.2M Esplanade for Downtown Expo Stop

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The Santa Monica City Council will today decide on whether to approve a $2 million+ contract for an esplanade (Merriam Webster: a level open stretch of paved or grassy ground; especially one designed for walking or driving along a shore) that will connect the Downtown Santa Monica Expo Line station at Colorado and Fourth to Ocean Avenue, the Santa Monica Pier, Main Street bridge and Downtown. The Santa Monica Daily Press reports that the Council chose Peter Walker and Partners of Berkeley to decide the project; the landscape architects are building the 9/11 memorial in NYC. A representative from Peter Walker said a rendering for the esplanade is not yet available (the image above is just of the station). The esplanade, which will hopefully open when the station does in 2015, will have a "special emphasis on sidewalk and bicycle facilities to accommodate light rail users." If you're questioning the need for an esplanade, the station site is indeed near the Santa Monica Promenade and the ocean, but the 10 freeway empties out on the stop's other side--not exactly ped/bike-friendly. We also are hearing, via the Transit Coalition discussion boards, that Santa Monica is considering shelling out more money to make the 17th St. and 26th St. (Bergamot) stations easier to access.
· Esplanade Design Contract Up for Approval [SMDP]
· Santa Monica Loves Some Field Ops Park Designs [Curbed LA]