See the Maps: Bike Paths, Building Heights, Parks in Latest Bergamot Plan

City releases completed draft of the Bergamot Area Plan, a long-term guide to development near the arts center.

The city has completed a draft of a "visionary" planning document to guide development of the Bergamot Station Arts Center area with the arrival of the Expo Light Rail.

Near Santa Monica's Mid-City and Pico Neighborhoods, the area encompasses 140 acres on both sides of Olympic Boulevard on the northeastern edge of the city.

It is expected to be transformed into a walkable neighborhood with lots of apartments, creative offices, restaurants and shops when the Expo line is operational in 2016. A station at Olympic and 26th Street in the Bergamot area will be one of three light rail stops in Santa Monica.

The newly-completed Bergamot Plan—which is still awaiting City Council approval—will be accessible by foot, bike, bus and train, but lesser so by car.

The maps above this article show provide a glimpse at some of the most important components of the plan, including proposed building heights, bike paths and facilities, park and open space locations, and fiber optic infrastructure.

The entire plan can be viewed here or downloaded as a PDF here.

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Fred Alexander February 15, 2013 at 05:35 PM
During AM rush hour the 26th street exit off the 10 west bound is often backed up to the 405. Leaving SM during rush hour is a nightmare as everyone knows. Adding more buildings and less parking will only add to the current congestion. The ideology of less parking to force the use of alternative modes of transportation is out of sinc with realty.
Gary Kavanagh February 15, 2013 at 08:00 PM
Fred, you have it a little backward, the government has been supporting a policy of pushing into people into cars for decades. The status quo policies are not mode neutral. Setting parking maximums, if set low enough might be something one could paint as forcing people away from cars, but to my knowledge there is no proposal to set parking maximums, only relax minimums. Government policy has been to force development to be auto-centric. Also out of synch with reality is thinking we can double down on government polices to push people into cars that require ever more of a depleting finite resource without eventual consequence. Southern California used to be a giant oil field remember (or maybe you don't, people don't often seem to know our own history), and it's nearly all gone now. That will happen to every oil field operating today eventually and the pool of potential resources left to tap is shrinking in scope and becoming more costly and polluting all the time. I don't know if you've seen photos of what tar sands oil mining looks like, but it looks more like an industrial version of Mordor than anything that belongs on Earth. The ideology of enriching the motoring convenience of the present at the expense of impoverishing the future to a diminished world is not one I am okay with, yet it seems to be our guiding philosophy at the present.
Gary Kavanagh February 15, 2013 at 08:07 PM
I look forward to seeing this area improve under new plans and the proximity to the rail line. There are sidewalks that are non-ADA compliant, blocks with no sidewalk at all presently, and numerous other factors inhibiting getting around without a car in that area that will benefit from redevelopment. My main area of concern moving forward is ensuring more housing ratio in the mix as the area is already so mono-centric commercial, and Bergamot needs a mix of uses and people to be a lively place at all hours rather than a place people simply drive into and rush out of when work begins and ends as it is presently. I happen to work in the area, and know a lot of people that would jump at the chance to be closer to their employment so they wouldn't have to drive.
Gary Kavanagh February 15, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Not to mention the fact that all those government polices that are are for the exclusive convenience of motoring didn't really work, because it invites more people to drive, and the more people drive, the less useful cars become. More parking spaces, more lanes, it doesn't work in the end. The 405 has been expanded and expanded time and time again costing billions, destroying homes and neighborhoods, polluting lungs in mils in every direction, but at rush hour a person on roller skates can go faster. That is not progress. Trying to solve traffic issues by means of capacity expansion is a complete dismal failure, that should be plainly obvious, I have no idea why so many want to hold onto just doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
Brenda Barnes February 16, 2013 at 06:41 PM
Once again the City gets the cart b/4 the horse, and worshipers of transit think that does not matter. There is actually no way to get from one side of this area to the other. There is no way this large an area is transit-oriented. In fact, what the City is now calling the Bergamot Area is really two areas under LUCE, so it is illegal, and we homeowners affected by it will sue, so this is never going to happen. If it were going to happen, then why doesn;'t the City provide all the transportation solutions first, so we can see it works? I submit the reason is the City won't ever even try to make it work, and it is a ruse to get rid of homeowners and then make a system that serves the resulting developers and their partner, the City. The entire thing is a mechanism for corruption. It does not help to be such a devoted lover of transit that corrupt City officials can use the word as a talisman to hide from citizens what they are doing. In Denmark a new area called Orestad was planned, an area on an island near Copenhagen. It is one-seventh the size of Santa Monica and has 10 transit stations. If there were not this number of stations--as in SM there are only three, for an area seven times as large--then there would have to be connectors to whatever number of stations there were. Here, we always are told there will be free jitney buses, or something. Why not put them in now to get us to bus stops? Then we could see it working--if it will.
Mara T February 17, 2013 at 02:28 AM
I agree... we need more solar parking lots like the one near Main St and/or underground parking.
Mara T February 17, 2013 at 02:34 AM
There is the time factor with taking the blue buses, and the crowds on the buses at certain times. I am not able to bike in this city (but would on totally separate bike paths). If I can't visit a shopping district, like Montana, and park I won't go.
Fred Alexander February 17, 2013 at 02:40 AM
S.M. City reduced Santa Monica Blvd. to one lane to accommodate and encourage bus riders. Have you noticed the empty big double buses and traffic backed up for several blocks? Same will apply to more buildings and less parking regardless of the so called studies to create a green S.M. Californian's love their cars.
Mara T February 17, 2013 at 02:56 AM
I was looking for quotes from you Gary K... and found this article http://santamonica.patch.com/articles/living-car-free-in-santa-monica about going car free. Please know that many people have needs that don't dovetail with yours. We have to haul things, we don't want to ride bikes on the dangerous Lincoln Blvd or other major streets, we have responsibilities outside of the city... Please don't lump us in as "do nothings" and a small constituent of "shouters" (as mentioned in http://la.streetsblog.org/2012/10/22/the-consequences-of-doing-nothing/). Let me ask you this... are the renters for the as yet unapproved and not yet built multi-story residences in SM going to have parking? According to you they won't need it. Try renting the places with no parking and restricted to only people who work in SM, and see how it goes.
Brenda Barnes February 18, 2013 at 07:01 AM
You are so correct, Mara. The idea that you can just not build any parking and that will "encourage" people to use transit, walk, or bike is ridiculous. This guy Tumlin is among the few planners making a fortune selling books and being a consultant pushing the idea. It is so silly they have to call people names who point out obvious problems with it. They can't answer on the issues, which include at various stages in people's lives they cannot take one trip from home in the morning and one back at night, the way we did in our 20s through late 30s, when we stopped doing that kind of working. Some of us, primarily working women with children, cannot do that even then b/c we have to take children places, and on and on. My car has been on the fritz for three days, and even though I actually take buses and trains quite a bit, the "in-between" kind of things, like grocery shopping, I have been putting off until it is fixed. I just don't have the time it would take to do that kind of thing by transit or walking, and there is no way someone my age should be on the dangerous streets of SM on a bike. The one building the Council approved without parking--letting the attorney get away with giving absolutely no guarantee tenants would all not have cars, even though he said that's what they were going to do--has not been able to get financing. If it had, all of us know there would have been that many more cars parking on streets or in public lots.
Gary Kavanagh February 19, 2013 at 01:44 PM
At portions of routes toward the starts and ends of journeys buses have either off loaded most, or are waiting to pick up most of their passengers, as if frequently the case in Downtown where every route converges. When buses can't keep a consistent schedule through downtown, it messes up things and creates delays for people all down the line, for possibly miles away. Buses are frequently packed with standing room only in Santa Monica, especially on the most popular core arterial lines. Anyone who actually rides the buses with any regularity knows this, and is far more concerned with wanting more bus frequency and reducing over crowding than "empty buses". Buses don't back up cars anywhere remotely close to as much as cars back up cars. Cars are their own worst enemy. And as far as I am concerned a vehicle with 30-60 people should take priority over those that typically contain 1 person in the most heavily populated areas. Treating transit as subservient to private automobile traffic in such spaces is to say that 1 or two people in a car, their time is more valuable dozens of transit riders. If our goal is to be able to move more people through the downtown that is entirely counter productive. (Here is a very helpful demonstration of how bus ridership ramps up & down along routes in a transit system) http://www.humantransit.org/2013/02/countering-the-empty-buses-myth-with-video.html (Here's a photo also illustrating point) http://makeitgreen.webs.com/img/cbb.jpg
Gary Kavanagh February 19, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Let me phrase this as a series of questions. Do you think it's fair that people without cars should pay may for their rent to subsidize the real estate in an apartment building required to house other people's cars (which cost as much as $50,000 per space to build)? Do think people walking, biking, taking the bus should pay more for food to subsidize the cost of underground parking garages at new grocery stores? Do you want to see the population of cars in the city grow faster than the number of people who can live here? If you answered no to any of these questions, you may want to reconsider defending the status quo of zoning policies which work to systemically favor and benefit those who drive and punish those who do not, which is quite backward if our goal is for the continuation of the city's development to not induce more car trips. We don't have an accurate census for just how many parking spaces are in Santa Monica, but I suspect the rate of parking space units built has grown tremendously, while the units of housing built barely budged in the past 20 years. This imbalanced dynamic is likely one of several roots for present traffic woes and commuter culture. Development will happen, and I want to legalize the possibility for it to happen while not encouraging and inducing as many car trips as it has in the past. Parking minimum zoning is a relic of a long gone era, it ought to be chucked to the waste bin of history.
Gary Kavanagh February 19, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Mara, You mentioned you might consider biking if there were better paths, which I am assuming you mean greater separation from traffic. The reason the way things are the way they are, is anytime investments are proposed that go beyond token gestures for bicyclists is because motivated motoring advocates (which includes a number of residents, despite the fact more then 60% of our households own bikes) and interest groups go into full on foaming mouth attack to ask for even a tiny fraction of resources. I fought like hell and rallied others, just to get the city to start doing some bike lanes with a little more than the 5 ft. absolute minimum the state requires. So folks can have at least a little breathing room from reckless drivers who swing doors into people's path (which is illegal), and the passing of other vehicles. You'll notice my persistence in any of the new bike lanes with a little extra buffer space. If we say bicycling will never work based on facilities that most people fear to ride in, we are creating an impossible catch 22. The fact of the matter is many car trips are under 5 miles, under 2 miles, and even under 1 mile in some cases, these are distances in which the physical effort to ride a bike is a breeze even carrying loads, and quite often faster than door to door travel time for a car because parking is easier. Will a bike work for everything? No, & that's not the point. It's about enabling the most efficient tool for the job given a context.
Mara T February 20, 2013 at 12:18 AM
The end result for us all should be a functioning city, with accessible areas for our daily needs. If I don't walk (Gary K) should I pay taxes for improving sidewalks and lighting? We residents are all in the city together~ if I don't have a car I walk/bike/bus... and gain from those improvements. If I drive and can't or won't consider walking/biking or going by bus.. I will gain from the garages. There are so many variables. Just how many jobs are there here... and how many are commuting in to fill them? Would they choose to live here if they could? Have there been any quantified studies on this? Are there plans for student housing near our college? If not, why not? Are there dedicated one way streets that also provide two way bike lanes? What about 10th being north bound and 11th being south bound... with a whole lane with a dirt bike/walk path?
Gary Kavanagh February 20, 2013 at 02:06 AM
What I was referring to was not taxes, but the private subsidies, which are in some cases compelled by government mandates. The economic effects that things like parking minimum zoning has on the prices of rent (in Portland new apartments in some buildings that took advantage of being allowed to build a lot less or no parking, were as much as $600 cheaper a month than new apartments built to ratios formally required under zoning), and other basic goods and services. Driving is double subsidized, privately and publicly, in a web of financing that is not immediately obvious and thus acts to both obscure what the real costs of driving are, and systematically disadvantage people with out cars, who can't drive or choose not to drive (or drive but want to drive less). The number of US residents who do not drive for one reason or another, age, economic necessity, disability or choose not to, is estimated around 100 million people, equivalent to nearly the entire population of Mexico. There are more non-drivers in the US then the entire populations of most world nations. I'm tired of seeing this population systematically disadvantaged in the pursuit of flawed policies to benefit drivers (but which actually also undermine driving by inducing more trips making things worse all around).
Gary Kavanagh February 20, 2013 at 02:34 AM
On the subject of taxes, comparisons of driving to walking & public sidewalks is so often brought up, but that obscures enormous differences. For the cost of our adding 10 miles of 1 additional lane on the 405, we could repair nearly all the broken & non ADA compliant sidewalks all across the entirety of Los Angeles. 10 miles for drivers that will in all likelihood accomplish almost nothing (lane additions are diminishing returns), is treated as more important than improving the quality of walking for everyone in LA. People who walk or take transit do not require a $25,000-$50,000 real estate investment to be made to store their private property temporarily on arrival, and the cost of bike racks and their limited foot print is pretty negligible by comparison to parking a car. And typically when designing buildings around parking and drivers needs first, it diminishes the quality of other travel modes by introducing curb cuts and irregular traffic flows that create new potential conflict points for walking and biking. Cars also continuously destroying public infrastructure even when they are sitting doing nothing. I see this in the tire depressions that build up on streets where bike lanes are adjacent curb parking all the time. People whine about parking rates, but they are creating their own costs. Bicyclists & walkers however do not destroy infrastructure any faster than natural erosion. The list of differences in comparative costs goes on and on.
Mara T February 20, 2013 at 06:14 PM
It is apparent that the residents of Santa Monica are not being heard. There is already rent control here, therefore caps on allowable rent exist. It sounds to me that the argument for allowing building without parking is to line the developer's pockets, not aid our citizens. What about our, the citizens, concern about the height of proposed buildings? What about all new developments required to contribute to strategic parking areas throughout the city if they don't provide parking at their own development?


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