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For Pedestrians' Safety, Wider Pier Sidewalk

The width of the northern sidewalk on the old pier bridge will double.

The city wants to give pedestrians more room and separate them from cars on the crowded Santa Monica Pier deck.

It will double the width of the northern sidewalk and install a concrete barrier between it and car lanes as a temporary fix until the pier deck—the bridge that goes underneath the iconic pier sign from Ocean Avenue to the wooden pier itself—is completely replaced in 2016.

The City Council approved the interim plan on Tuesday night at the cost of $150,000. It is hiring Meek Shea, Joint Venture, to do the work. That's the same company that's gearing up to demolish and reconstruct a a long section of the pier from the high tide line.

SEE ALSO: Santa Monica Pier to Undergo 1 Year of Construction

Planning Director Martin Pastucha said the police department is worried the existing 4-foot sidewalks doesn't accommodate all of the people walking on the bridge. "Pedestrians often walk in the adjacent vehicle lanes," he said.

The police are concerned about "the potential conflict between pedestrians and vehicles in the event a driver was to lose control of a vehicle," he wrote in a memo to the council.

Built in 1939, the pier deck will be completely redone in 2016 with a federal transportation grant funding improvements to pedestrian, bicycle, and car access.

The plans for that project are still being drawn up.

In the interim, the northern sidewalk will be extended from 4.33 feet to 9.33 feet. Drawings included in Pastucha's memo show the new sidewalk will fit two adults and two children.

The City Council had previously talked about getting cars off the pier deck completely by removing the pier deck parking lot and replacing it with a garage at a city-owned plot north of the pier, adjacent to Lot 1N. But those plans are on hold as the city balances a growing budget deficit in the wake of losing the community redevelopment agency.

At the time, former councilman Bobby Shriver suggested staffers might be  exaggerating how unsafe it is for pedestrians to share the pier ramp with cars.

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Paul Rich March 01, 2013 at 12:04 AM
I endorse wholeheartedly the plan to eliminate on-the-pier parking. How logical and glorious to re-purpose the pier bridge as a walking bridge, a viewing bridge with terrace steps and landscaping, with Disney-esque foot lights at night. Down the center a single trolley car, like downtown's Angels Flight, that would become an instant international icon for Santa Monica. A single lane could be designated for emergency vehicles and security. An attainable dream if it wasn't for those pesky budget woes. But that's another story.
Kurt Koller March 01, 2013 at 01:40 AM
According to the drawings provided, it appears there will only be a sidewalk on one side? They're removing 3' of traffic lanes but adding 7' of sidewalk/jersey barrier on the one side. So does that mean they're getting that missing 4' by eliminating the sidewalk on the South side, which is about 4'?
corner soul March 01, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Better idea, why have cars on the pier at all? Just close the entrance with removable bollards, and than only service vehicles and EMT can access the pier if needed. they could do that in an afternoon, and it would certainly cost a lot less to implement.
Dan Charney March 04, 2013 at 09:20 AM
I think this is a great idea- make it all walk except for certain hours for service vehicles to deliver to the various venues- there must be some other way to provide access for the parking- this would be wonderful for people- what a positive thing to do

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