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Santa Monica Gets Nearly $5 million County Metro Transit Grants

Santa Monica Real Estate Company Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

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


Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Lookout Staff

November 17, 2015 -- Santa Monica will connect its beach bike path to the Pier, replace aging buses with new clean-fuel versions and make other transit-related improvements using some $4.7 million in grant money from the County, City officials said.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has approved four of five projects submitted by the City for the agency's “2015 Countywide Call for Projects,” which requires $1.2 million in local funds, officials said.

Money from Proposition C and Proposition 1B will be used for that purpose, according to a staff the report sent to the City Council this month.

Overall, the funding “will help us reach our mobility goals,” said David Martin, the City’s director of planning and community development. “It’s great.”

Slightly more than $1 million of the MTA grant money would be used to build a ramp connecting the beach bike path to the century-old Pier, according to the report from the heads of planning and development, transit services and public works.

“This would allow for continuity of bicycle traffic from the beach to Colorado and Ocean Avenues and would improve regional bicycle access to the Downtown Expo Station,” according to the report. “Connectivity between the Beach Bike Path and the Downtown station is currently disjointed.”

Another project will allow the Big Blue Bus to replace four existing 40-foot system buses with four clean fuel buses, officials said.

Principal Administrative Analyst Sarah Johnson-Rios said the buses are reaching the end of their “useful life” and need to be replaced. The new buses will be on the BBB’s routes serving Pico Boulevard, Lincoln Boulevard and the Freeway Express to Downtown Los Angeles.

The routes will also provide connections to the Metro Expo Phase 2 light rail stations at 26th St./Bergamot, 17th St./Santa Monica College and Downtown Santa Monica.

Those stations are scheduled to begin revenue service next year, the report said. The City had originally asked for 13 replacement buses. The funding it did get from the MTA is based on the estimated 2015 cost of $547,163 per each 40-foot clean fuel bus.

Also on the list of newly approved projects are new lights for pedestrians on the west side of 17th Street between Wilshire Boulevard and Pico Boulevard (except on the I-10 bridge) and up to 18 curb extensions at nine intersections for access and safety, the report said.

The MTA is providing $1,494,654 and requires $373,664 in local matching funds, which would come from Proposition C.

Another project that won the MTA nod funds “multi-modal” travel planning to help meet the City's goal of reducing single-occupant vehicles going to and from Santa Monica.

“Travel advisers would be trained on the myriad new transportation options available in Santa Monica, including the growing variety of first and last mile connections, and would utilize the City's web platforms’ and other means,” the report said.

The MTA grant for the project is $375,459 with a local match of $93,864, which will come from Proposition C. The funding covers the 2016-2017 and 2018-2019 fiscal years.

A fifth MTA application for $3.2 million to improve connections to the Bergamot Expo Light Rail Station did not receive funding, officials said.

Proposition C was approved by voters in 1990 and adds a one-half of 1 percent tax on retail sales in the County. The proposition returns 20 percent of the tax to the county’s cities for transportation needs, according to the MTA.

Proposition 1B funds are for improvements to transportation facilities to help reduce local traffic congestion, improve traffic flow and traffic safety. The measure was approved in 2006 by California voters.


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