Sustainable & Connected: Santa Monica furthers vision for a safe, multimodal transportation network

March 15, 2024 1:01 PM
by Jason Kligier

The Mobility Division of Santa Monica’s Department of Transportation, or DOT, has been hard at work on projects that further the goals set forth in the city’s Bicycle, Pedestrian and Vision Zero action plans.

This hard work was recently recognized by the California League of Cities, which named Santa Monica’s Safe Streets for 17th Street and Michigan Avenue Project as a winner of one of the 2024 Outstanding Local Streets and Roads Project Awards.

In February, DOT staff presented to the City Council updates on projects designed to make it safer, easier, and more sustainable for folks to get around Santa Monica.

Between 2015 and 2019, five percent of all crashes in Santa Monica were fatal or involved severe injury, but more staggering is that 65 percent of those involved the most vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists, and scooter riders. DOT currently has 18 pedestrian and bicycle safety improvement projects underway or recently completed to help make getting around Santa Monica safer for all and to further the City Council’s priority of a Clean & Safe Santa Monica.

And, as the transportation sector produces 68 percent of Santa Monica’s greenhouse gas emissions – more than any other sector – this work is also instrumental in furthering the City Council’s Sustainable & Connected priority. DOT’s goal is to reduce emissions by converting 50 percent of local trips to active modes, such as walking or cycling.

Current projects
Recently completed – or nearly complete – safety enhancement projects include:

Safe Streets for 17th Street and Michigan Avenue
Completed in December 2023, bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements on 17th Street and Michigan Avenue include more than a mile of protected bikeway, pedestrian scale lighting, curb extensions, protected intersection, ADA curb ramps, mini traffic circles, and enhanced signing and striping.

Ocean Avenue protected bikeway
Completed in January of this year, this project added a more than half mile two-way cycle track on Ocean Avenue, along with a protected intersection and crosswalk, signing and striping improvements. The project also resulted in a gain of 75 parking spaces!

Wilshire Boulevard safety enhancements (Phase 1)
Through the Wilshire Safety Study, a year-long community engagement process, a plan was developed for comprehensives changes to reduce the number of collisions on Wilshire Boulevard, and in January of this year the city completed the first phase of the project. This includes right-turn-only restrictions at unsignalized intersections – which had previously seen a large number of collisions – flashing beacons, bus stop improvements, curb extensions and painting, paint and post median refuges, and enhanced signage and striping.

4th Street pedestrian safety improvements
Improvements on 4th Street from Olympic Boulevard to Colorado Boulevard are at 90 percent completion, and include curb extensions and ramp upgrades, high contrast crosswalks, new pedestrian and street lighting and new fencing on the overpass bridge.

“MANGO” 20th Street pedestrian and bike connection
This project is at 80 percent completion and consists of a shared use path from 21st Street to Michigan Avenue over the 20th Street overpass bridge. The path will be multi-use, with a separated two-way bike path, a new upgraded crosswalk with bike signal heads, ADA curb ramp upgrades, and pedestrian scale lighting.

See the full slate of projects and timelines in the PowerPoint presentation.

Next Steps
The Mobility Division’s priorities for the coming year include:

  1. Continue toward completing funded projects currently underway.
  2. Identify funding sources for next round for unfunded projects.
  3. Prepare grant applications as staff capacity allows.
  4. Educate and promote projects/progress with the community.

And these initiatives are advancing the city’s progress in other priority areas, as well.

Justice, Equity & Diversity: In Santa Monica, 60 percent of Big Blue Bus customers are low income, and just over 10 percent of Santa Monica households do not own a car.

AAA reports that it costs $14,390 annually to own and operate a car in California, making transportation a major household expense.

DOT is working to make safe, sustainable transit accessible for people across the economic spectrum by building a complete, high-quality network of multi-modal options.

The department also ensures that facilities are accessible to all ages and abilities through thoughtful design and public education.

Economic Growth & Cultural Vitality: Infrastructure must meet the demands of our dynamic city. New development and changing land uses can have immense impacts on the roadway and require close coordination between city departments and the community to minimize conflict and meet all users’ needs.

Through community engagement and thoughtful design, we’re building a city where transportation is safe, friendly, and environmentally conscious!

Interested in updates? Sign up for DOT’s monthly newsletter.

Authored By

Jason Kligier
Mobility Manager


Getting Around, Transportation Planning, Ways to Get Around