Santa Monica Lookout
Santa Monica Residents and Businesses Share Concerns over Lincoln's Future
By Jason Islas
March 18, 2013 -- A survey conducted by the resident-organized Lincoln Boulevard Task Force showed that Santa Monica residents and business leaders alike want to prioritize making Lincoln Boulevard a safer street with less traffic and more coffee shops and restaurants.
The majority of the 638 residents and 23 businesses (out of about 150) that responded listed homelessness, public safety and traffic in their top concerns and they want more crosswalks, better street lighting and even shared parking for businesses in Lincoln Boulevard's future.
“Much of what the data shows was common knowledge,” according to Task Force representatives. “Lincoln is a congested roadway that appears to be neglected and over-represented by auto serving business. Much of the neglect is attributed to four high priority issues: public safety, weeds and trash, graffiti and homelessness.”
Santa Monica took over control of the stretch of Lincoln Boulevard that runs from the 10 Freeway to southern border of the City in June from Caltrans, prompting residents to try to shape the conversation about the street's future.
Roger Swanson, chair of the Lincoln Boulevard Task Force, said that the survey was about getting data about what residents want.
“Up until now, no one has had any data,” he said. “We don't want a consultant coming in and telling us what they're going to do.”
One thing that the survey revealed is that 70 percent of residents and 75 percent of businesses don't want developments higher than three stories along Lincoln Boulevard.
Swanson said that residents seemed willing to support shared parking if it would encourage more restaurants and cafes, uses considered more pedestrian-friendly than the auto shops that currently do business in the area.
Residents and businesses were both wary of more affordable housing on Lincoln. Only 32 percent of businesses and 37 percent of residents supported the idea.
Businesses and residents differed, however, on the question of adding bus priority lanes, with 55 percent of residents supporting the idea and 74 percent of businesses opposed, citing concerns over losing more parking in a stretch of Lincoln where the resource is already scarce.
Recently, the City abandoned the idea of putting bus-only priority lanes on the stretch of Lincoln, at least until it was possible to extend the lanes into Los Angeles to the south. (“Santa Monica Officials Rethink Lincoln Boulevard Bus Lane,” February 2013)
Swanson hopes that the survey will “facilitate dialogue” with City officials as they begin the process to redesign the busy boulevard.
The Lincoln Boulevard Task Force grew out of the Ocean Park Association (OPA) last year when the City began plans to take over administration of Lincoln Boulevard from the State.
For the survey's full results, visit www.opa-sm.org.
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