The Santa Monica City Council got a peek last week at initial design concepts for the Colorado Esplanade project that will connect the eventual terminus of the Expo Light Rail line with downtown SaMo. According to a staff report (pdf) presented to council earlier this month, the project will deliver "major urban design improvements at the Downtown Expo Station Plaza and along Colorado Avenue between 4th Street and Ocean Avenue." The project design is the work of Berkeley-based Peter Walker Partners, which signed a $2.2 million contract for the gig last year.
The new proposal includes a substantial reconfiguration of Colorado Avenue: "there will be one lane of traffic in each direction on Colorado Avenue from 17th to 5th Street. Between 4th and 5th Streets, Colorado will be westbound-only with one through-lane and a dedicated left-turn lane at 4th Street. Existing eastbound traffic will be eliminated." In addition to that vehicle traffic reconfiguration, bike lanes in both directions will be added: "Bike Lanes in both directions connect the Downtown Station and the Pier; a proposed bike connection through the 4th Court alley proposes to connect the Downtown Station to the bike lanes on Broadway; and the Main to 2nd Street realignment connects the Main Street bike lane directly to the new Bike Center and Downtown."
Back in September, the SaMo Planning Commission voiced concern about the impact of pedestrian traffic on the flow of vehicles through the neighborhood. A Santa Monica Mirror article on the hearing last week describes the current proposal as "a more simplified and organized 'flow of pedestrians, vehicles and bicycles.'" Although reaction at the hearing was mostly positive, councilmembers did ask for some improvements to the designs--Terry O'Day didn't like the amount of hardscaping currently in the plan, and O'Day and Kevin McKeown both lamented the lack of bus stops in the plan area.
The hearing was the first study session for the council, so no vote was taken.
· Schematic Designs For Colorado Esplanade Presented To Santa Monica City Council [Santa Monica Mirror]
· Colorado Esplanade Design Progress and Recommended Roadway Configuration [City Council Report]
· Pedestrians Going to Get in the Way of All the Cars at Santa Monica's Planned Colorado Esplanade [Curbed LA]