Traffic projections for the Colorado Esplanade—the planned gateway into downtown from the Expo light rail station at Colorado Avenue and Fourth Street—show one-way car flow on Colorado wouldn't worsen congestion.
A traffic study prepared for the city as part of an environmental review of the Esplanade project, looked at current and future conditions at 22 intersections along Main, Second, Fourth and Fifth streets and on Lincoln Boulevard and Ocean Avenue. It concluded there would be "no significant traffic impacts."
(The study, starting on page 61, is attached to the right of this article.)
City planners say restricting Colorado to westbound traffic between Ocean and Fourth could actually improve the flow of cars around downtown, because it would allow them to realign Main and Second streets and place a "pedestrian scramble" at Ocean and Colorado, which they say would improve access to the Santa Monica Pier.
Before his term ended, former City Councilman Bobby Shriver asked to see the traffic studies at future planning sessions on the project.
"If we're going to have one-way traffic, great, but it will have significant impacts elsewhere," he said.
The study acknowledges one-way travel would "result in potentially additional traffic redistribution." But it found "these traffic shifts can be fully accommodated by the given traffic capacity [on] parallel corridors, without creating significant operational issues or travel delays."
The Esplanade design still needs final City Council approval, but construction is expected to start this year. Work is already underway to build the train station at Fourth Street.
SEE ALSO: New Drawings of Esplanade
With the one-way restriction, the sidewalks on the south side of Colorado will be widened to 55 feet. The avenue will also accommodate a two-way track for bicycles.
It's estimated as many as 400 people will traverse the Esplanade every five to seven minutes during peak hours.
The environmental report, called an "Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration" is scheduled to be approved by the City Council on Tuesday night.