Planning and design work for the Colorado Esplanade in Santa Monica are in high gear. Peter Walker and Partners is designing a pedestrian area that will funnel visitors from the Expo Line to Santa Monica's oceanfront amenities (they received a $2.2 million contract for the design in June). According to the Lookout News, the firm's work on the esplanade is in the mold of its Ground Zero Memorial in New York City and its Marina Bay in Singapore. During public study sessions taking place this month in Santa Monica, attendees discussed "having the Santa Monica Pier serve as a defining visible marker for Esplanade visitors, trees, potential ground floor retail, public art, and increased landscaping" at the Esplanade, according to the Santa Monica Mirror. But the planning commissioners were more concerned with what else? Traffic.
The Mirror reports that the problem is actually a transportation planner's wildest dream (400 travelers arriving on foot at the Esplanade every few minutes courtesy of the Expo Line), but could be motorists' worst nightmare (waiting for all those tourists to cross the road). Will anyone think of the cars trying to cross the intersection of Colorado Avenue and Fourth Street?
One of Walker's proposed plans involves "three total street lanes and a widened sidewalk. Another plan with a 'justified' design allows for more vehicles to travel westbound on Colorado Avenue along a widened northern half of the road." According to Santa Monica's website for the project, construction is expected to begin by mid-2012 and be finished in 2013, about two years before the Expo Line gets there.
· Colorado Esplanade [Santa Monica]
· Planners Ponder Colorado Esplanade Traffic Quandaries [Lookout News]
· Santa Monica Planning Commission Inquires About Esplanade Traffic [SM Mirror]
· Santa Monica to Weigh $2.2M Esplanade for Downtown Expo Stop [Curbed LA]