Letter: With So Much Development, Pedestrian Deaths Not Surprising

Santa Monica resident Ellen Marks comments on a recent article about the number of pedestrian deaths this summer.


I was particularly struck  regarding the increased number of major traffic accidents in Santa Monica… fatalities, hit and runs, etc. 

What does the city think is going to be the result of the increase in development? That people will start parachuting in instead of driving?

What does it think is the result of attracting tourists, students and businesses? With all the construction that is happening and scheduled to happen before we have an increase in public transportation in place, or even after? That we will rush out to buy and learn to rollerblade or skateboard in vast numbers?

Are we all going to learn to carpool to do marketing and run errands? Good idea, perhaps, but not realistic.

I am, sadly, anticipating an increase in bicycle injuries (I see lots of bicyclists without helmets), and have been much more alert than ever driving around town as I observe near-accidents on the up-take.  It's a bit of a mine field of late. We just don't have streets wide enough—we don't even have area enough.

— Ellen Marks, Santa Monica



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PHIL HENDRICKS September 12, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I believe Ellen Marks is correct in all respects. I would add the the majority of City leaders, at every level, have lost all moral and ethical scruples.
Eddie Greenberg September 13, 2012 at 02:07 AM
At this rate the problem will only get worse. Instead of paying out fortunes out to consultants to only tell them what they already know, why does the city not begin with some common sense? Many crosswalks on Wilshire east of 4th. St. are not lit in any way like Pico. People crossing in the darkness are especially at risk. Lighting dark crossing areas would help on Arizona too . Improved Big Blue Bus lines across town would be great also. No doubt people over 60 will rarely be using bicycles. In order to leave cars at home residents need to have far more confidence that they can reach their destinations safely and timely and the same about returning home. Much more realistic planning and serious thought needs to be given on the logistics of such a plan.Perhaps more traffic police officers can be assigned to hot spot areas too. Overdevelopment is feeding the problem while city hall spins in the other direction. I agree with Ellen and Phil. The problem originated from the top down and it should be given the higest priority. Lives hang in the balance!
Robert Lawson September 24, 2012 at 06:50 AM
Wider streets encourage faster driving, which will result in MORE deaths, not fewer. Road diets and attentive drivers help, as do bike lanes. For what it's worth, it's not crazy to think people won't drive. I don't own a car and moved to Santa Monica a year ago BECAUSE it's about the only place in LA you can live without a car (along with Venice). The tech community here is excellent and the streets are generally decent for bicycling, but with attitudes such as this "everybody will always drive and I know this because it's true for me" it's no wonder our streets are a bloodbath.
Robert Lawson September 24, 2012 at 06:51 AM
Also, I hardly see development as the problem. Inattentive or frankly irresponsible (drunk, etc.) drivers are not developers' fault. Besides, with enough density you wouldn't even need to drive within SM. You don't now, really, but most people won't try something new.


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