The Pacific Palisades Community Council unanimously agreed Thursday to send a letter to the Santa Monica Public Works Department highlighting concerns over a bridge replacement project that will close the California Incline in summer 2013.
The California Incline is a road that connects Ocean Avenue to Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica.
"We have reviewed the reference [environmental impact report] and found it worrisome," states the PPCC's letter. "A primary concern is the Traffic Management Plan. ... The 'TMP' is both detailed and vague, leaving many facets to be worked out in the future and no signage to deter discretionary commuter traffic from areas such as Camarillo and Thousand Oaks."
The letter notes the importance of Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Boulevard to transportation in the Palisades, and "disruptions on PCH often bring Sunset Blvd. through the Palisades to a complete stand-still."
Signs aimed at deterring "discretionary commuter traffic from areas such as Camarillo and Thousand Oaks" who use mountain roads in the Palisades to get from the 101 to PCH "should be installed in the weeks leading up to construction as the first day will set the tone for the duration," according to the letter.
The PPCC also wrote that Santa Monica's Traffic Management Plan boundary is too small. "It fails to include the area along PCH from Entrada Drive to Sunset Blvd. as well as Sunset to Allenford," states the letter.
The council additionally suggested the following:
- "TMP should seriously consider turning 7th Street from Wilshire to the I-10 on-ramp into a one-way street to provide a useful alternative to motorists who need to access the westbound Coast Highway."
- "The Moomat Ahiko improvements will be helpful but inadequate to handle diverted Incline traffic."
- "Appian Way [should] be opened from the Pier to Pico Boulevard for the duration of the project.
- "The 'coned-off' exit from the 1550 parking lot must be closed temporarily and relocated to reduce traffic turbulence around the McClure Tunnel."
- PPCC members also recommended deactivating the traffic signal at PCH and Annenberg Community Beach House.
- And to ensure rapid completion of the project, construction work "should proceed 24/7. ... We urge Santa Monica to provide substantial early completion incentive bonuses to contractors and, to the extent possible, use pre-cast materials."
Sam Morrissey, a Santa Monica traffic engineer, attended the meeting and dialogued with PPCC and community members.
He told Patch the key to reducing traffic jams during the incline project is "getting the message out early, getting the message out clearly and getting the message out effectively" on proper detour routes. "So if we've decided we want to minimize traffic on one route, we need to really work hard to [send the] message that this is not the desired route to make the other route effective."
Morrissey added "on the flip side we, then, have to monitor traffic to make sure it does work. If the route we suggested is jammed with traffic, no one will want to get on that route, so it will be a challenge."
- For more information about the California Incline construction project, click here.