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Good News for Santa Monica: Poll Finds Majority of Californians Value Coast
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Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

November 18, 2016 -- Visit one of Santa Monica's beaches any day of the week and you'll see a large number of visitors enjoying their time.

So it should come as no surprise that the results of a new poll released this week by The Field Poll on behalf of the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability showed Californians place high value on the condition of the coast and visit the beach at least once a year.

The poll showed 90 percent of registered California voters believe the condition of the state's oceans and beaches is very or somewhat important to them.

This concern remained high among those who live on the coast and in inland communities as well as those of various age groups and household incomes, with the level never falling below 80 percent in any category.

Nearly 80 percent of registered voters visit the beach at least once a year, according to the poll. Twenty-six percent say they visit once a month or more.

Among age groups, those ages 18 to 29 and 30 to 39 feature the most people who visit the beach at least once a year with 89 percent.

People ages 65 or older are the lowest on that list, with just 60 percent visiting once a year.

The lower the household income, the less likely a person is to visit the beach at least once a year. Although no income level had fewer than 65 percent visiting the beach at least once a year.

When asked about obstacles for visiting the beach, more than three-fourths said lack of affordable parking was somewhat of a problem or a big problem.

Other problems stated included limited affordable accommodations (75 percent), limited public transit options (68 percent) and limited public access (62 percent).

"The vast majority of Californians care deeply about the coast," said Jon Christensen from UCLA, who was the lead investigator for the poll.

He added that this poll and a survey he did with a colleague of beach-goers over the summer show that the coast is not accessible for everybody.

"We need to fix that," Christensen said. "And we hope this poll and our survey of beach-goers can point toward solutions."

For Santa Monica, the public transit issue could be a decreasing problem for visitors because of the opening of the Expo Line light rail in June (“Santa Monica Celebrates New Expo Line, Carless Alternatives,” June 7, 2016).

Creating more parking near the beach, however, is not a priority as Santa Monica officials look to expand the number of ways to get around without driving.

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