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SaMo Transpo

SaMo Transpo

A field trip was long overdue – my son moved to Santa Monica 3 years ago; I hadn’t visited him, so there would be a lot to see.

I knew of the bike lanes, bikeshare, light rail, the 22-mile Marvin Braude Coastal Bike Trail – Santa Monica has it all, but my favorite attraction is the Third Street Promenade.

Third Street Promenade

Inspiration strikes like a pang in my heart – wouldn’t Santa Barbara’s lower State Street be so much more if it were closed to car traffic? Like Santa Monica’s Promenade, it would take a giant step towards maximizing its economic potential, while improving pedestrian safety.

I’ve been telling friends of this fantasy ever since moving here last November – it seemed so obvious, why hasn’t there been an outcry to make this happen on State Street?

No bikes on the Promenade

Ironically, no bicycling is allowed on the promenade. That’s because it’s jammed with pedestrians most of the time, so this passion of mine, which stems from my bicycle advocacy, would mean no bicycles on lower State Street. Nonetheless, the economic impact would be worth it – tourists would love it, residents, too.

No biking on the Promenade
No biking on the Promenade
Tourist-friendly: free sunscreen on the Promenade
Tourist-friendly: free sunscreen on the Promenade

Metro's Expo Line

I’d done my research – what to see, what to do, where to stay, but most importantly, how to get around. The date was set and schedules were synchronized for my visit.

Then I awoke to an article in the Washington Post, “L.A. – the city of traffic jams — finds a way to get people out of their cars.”

The Expo Line — with its cheerful black and yellow cars resembling giant bumble bees — received rave reviews from the start, and recent ridership data attests that its popularity is more than novelty. As of June, estimated ridership on the Expo Line increased 40 percent, from 45,876 passengers last year to more than 64,000 this year — a target it wasn’t expected to reach until 2030, the Santa Monica Lookout reports.

So no surprise, light rail is a hit in Santa Monica, but even with bikeshare and bike lanes galore, there are too many cars and congestion is a constant.

My son didn’t know – you can use the Metro TAP card on the bus, too, which he thought would be more convenient for him – maybe there’ll be one less motorist in L.A.

Everyone loves the Third Street Promenade
Everyone loves the Third Street Promenade
Refills mean fewer disposables
Refills mean fewer disposables
in the Washington Post
in the Washington Post
Metro TAP cards for two
Metro TAP cards for two
Diagonal crosswalks move pedestrians safely and efficiently
Diagonal crosswalks move pedestrians safely and efficiently
Bikeshare is ideal in compact, hi-density Santa Monica
Bikeshare is ideal in compact, hi-density Santa Monica

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