Santa Monica Lookout
Community Festival to Give Santa Monicans Glimpse into Michigan Avenue's Future
By Jason Islas
Editor's note: The original version of this article said that the Michigan Avenue Greenway was funded by a Metro grant. It is actually funded by a Caltrans grant. The article has been updated to reflect this information.
August 22, 2013 -- It is rare to be offered a glimpse into the future, but that's precisely what visitors to Michigan Avenue in Santa Monica will get next month.
“Pop-up MANGo” -- a street festival that will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on September 21 -- will afford residents a view of what the three-mile stretch of the future Michigan Avenue Greenway could look like once the project is completed.
“Pop‐Up MANGo will feature installations of possible improvements for the corridor such as: curb extensions, enhanced landscaping, places for neighbors to gather, and wayfinding signage,” City officials said.
The project, which has been in the planning stage since early this year and is funded by a Caltrans grant, will connect Santa Monica High School to the Bergamot Area Expo Light Rail Station at 28th Street with a bike route that runs down Michigan Avenue.
The idea behind the Greenway is to use traffic engineering to create a slower street for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists.
“The three-mile greenway will provide residents and visitors with a safe and comfortable place to walk, interact with neighbors, play, travel, and be, and it will connect the community to key destinations and neighborhoods,” officials said.
At the festival, City planners will use “orange cones, barricades, sidewalk chalk, potted plants, and other impermanent objects” to give visitors a more concrete understanding of exactly what they are thinking about doing to transform Michigan Avenue.
The festival will only be a small peek at potential things to come, since it will be limited to the three blocks of Michigan Avenue between 9th and 12th Streets.
Along those blocks, residents will have a chance to stop in at each station to look at proposed designs, give their feedback and ask questions.
But it's more than just a tour of proposed planning developments.
At each station, visitors will fill passports for a visit to one of the two food trucks that will be at the festival, officials said.
In addition to food, City officials promise music, art workshops for the kids and seating.
The original plan to overhaul the three-mile stretch in the quiet Santa Monica neighborhood was introduced as part of the bayside city's 300-page Bike Action Plan adopted by the City Council nearly two years ago.
The Plan, a comprehensive overview of the city's current bike network and collection of possible plans for expanding it, callsfor significant improvements to Santa Monica's streets in order to make them more inviting to bicyclists.
Along with the Greenway project, the Plan calls for a city-wide bike share program and 14 miles of new bike lanes.
It also includes the framework for the recently-completed stretch of green bike lanes along Ocean Park Boulevard west of Lincoln Boulevard.
For more information on the project, visit smgov.net.
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