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Santa Monica Officials Hope New Parking Signs Could Ease Weekend Traffic

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark


Rusty's Surf

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

July 4, 2013 -- City traffic engineers hope that a million dollar project can get cars off the streets and into parking spaces faster in Downtown Santa Monica.

The project, which officials hope could be completed by the end of the year if approved by the City Council Tuesday, would place real-time parking and traffic signs at strategic locations around Santa Monica's beaches and Downtown.

“As you know, on busy weekends, a lot of people tend to go to the closest lot to the Pier or the lot they went to last time,” said Traffic Engineer Andrew Maximous.

If those lots are full, it leads to “a lot of people just circling around and not finding parking,” said Maximous.

“The whole idea is to give people enough information to direct them to available parking,” which could spell relief to anyone who has been stuck in line at one of Santa Monica's parking structures on a weekend, he said.

The project, which is funded largely by Metro and State grants, would target problem areas around Downtown and near the beach, including the freeway off-ramps at Lincoln Boulevard and at 4th and 5th Street.

The project includes seven signs that will be installed at beach parking lots and nine signs installed at various locations around the Downtown.

“This project would construct real time parking and travel information signs for motorists traveling to Santa Monica beach parking lots adjacent to the Pier, on Ocean Avenue and Palisades Beach Road,” staff said.

Signs would also be placed on Fifth Street near Colorado Avenue, on Pico Boulevard near Main Street and on Neilson Way near Ocean Park.

“Signs placed near the Santa Monica Freeway off-ramps would also display parking information for garages in the Downtown area,” according to staff.

Since the signs can be programmed, staff can update them to tell visitors where to find parking during special events and construction or to direct traffic away from accidents.

And they would automatically respond to environmental factors.

“The signs will have embedded light sensors that automatically adjust the brightness of the sign according to the time of day and are similar to a typical street light,” staff wrote in a letter they will send to residents once the project is approved.

Since the signs are largely automated and can be programmed with messages remotely, they will take relatively little time to operate, Maximous said.

He added that the electronic signs would only be used when needed.

“These signs aren't intended to be on 24/7,” he said. “They are strictly for special events.”

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