SANTA MONICA—Beginning on January 21, a raised landscaped median will be constructed along Ocean Avenue as part of the city’s plan to improve the walkability and safety of the street. The median will be fronting the Civic Center and will go from Olympic Drive to Vicente Terrace. Construction will last for about three to four weeks, during which lanes closures are to be expected.
In 1993, the city adopted the Civic Center Specific Plan, in which the median’s construction was envisioned. The city updated the plan in 2005 after purchasing 11.3 acres of former RAND property across from City Hall in 2000; part of the plan involved building a median about 10 feet in width to reduce the scale of the street and create more space for greenery. Throughout the evolution of this plan, numerous workshops have been held and public input taken into account.
The median is also a safety enhancement of the Civic Center Village Residential Project Development Agreement, the project also features 318 residential units on city-owned land, half of which will consist of high-priced condominiums and the other half consisting of more affordable housing. “The project also includes approximately 20,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space and 626 parking spaces,” said David Martin, Planning and Community Development Director, to Canyon News. The Agreement was approved in 2008, and the median will be one of many that the city has been installing on a regular basis throughout major streets.
After the median is constructed, drivers will no longer be able to make left turns into and out of any streets and driveways that are along both side of Ocean Avenue. In order to access those streets and driveways, northbound drivers can use the new signal at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Olympic Drive, allowing a protected U-turn. Southbound drivers can make a left turn as well as a U-turn at the southern end of the median at Vicente Terrace.
“While the median will be landscaped and will improve the appearance of the area,” said Mr. Martin, “it’s primarily a safety measure necessary to prevent unsafe turning movements on Ocean Avenue.”
For pedestrians, two crosswalks will be located in order to cross the median. The first will be located at 1740 Ocean Avenue in front of the Le Merigot Hotel and the second will be located at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Olympic Drive.
To learn more about the construction, residents can visit www.smgov.net/pcd.