Ocean Avenue Project

Ocean Avenue is one of the most iconic and highly used streets in Santa Monica. The onset of the pandemic created a greater need for the community to be able to spend more time outdoors, and the City quickly mobilized to make improvements to the streetscape. 

Roadway Enhancements

The Ocean Avenue Project has two main components:

  • On the west-side of Ocean Avenue, between California and Colorado avenues, the project creates a protected two-way bikeway. This connects the Colorado Esplanade and California Incline bikeways, creating a continuous protected route from the Downtown Santa Monica Metro light rail station to the beach.
  • On the east-side of the Ocean Avenue, select on-street parking spaces were repurposed to expand the sidewalk to allow additional outdoor dining space while also maintaining safe passage for people walking.

Pedestrian, vehicle, transit, and bicycle access is maintained for the entire corridor. On the west-side of the street the project increases the amount of accessible (ADA) parking spaces, but reduces the amount of standard on-street metered parking spaces. On the east-side of the street, where requested by businesses and in consultation with Downtown Santa Monica, Inc, the project reallocates some parking spaces to expand the sidewalk and increase space for outdoor dining.

Above: A person rides their bicycle in the new Ocean Avenue bikeway 

Protected Bicycle Intersection

The first protected bicycle intersection in Santa Monica was installed at the intersection of Ocean and California Avenue. Protected intersections use simple design concepts to make everyone safer by moderating vehicle turn speeds, increasing separation between different modes of travel, and enhancing visibility of people walking, biking and scooting. Find out more on how to use protected intersections here.

After the protected intersection was first installed in Winter 2020, a series of onsite observations were conducted in response to community feedback. During Spring 2022, the intersection design was modified to include additional bike lane markings, restoration of the southbound right turn lane onto the California Incline, and additional flexible posts to define areas of the intersection.  


Above: Aerial view of the Ocean & California intersection before (left photo) and after modifications (right photo).  

Artists in Residence

Through the Ocean Avenue Artists in Residence program, Here LA, an interdisciplinary design group, engaged residents and businesses in identifying and exploring additional ways of making the street people centered. Conversations with local stakeholders and over 500 survey responses revealed that what people love most about the street is resounding: the unique natural setting, views of the Ocean, and the location of the street and park atop the bluff. Competing with this natural beauty is the high traffic street and key gateway to the Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade, Metro Light Rail, and more. Read the final report on the Ocean Avenue Artists in Residence here

Above: Families enjoying the pop-up art installation in Palisades Park

Project Materials/Downloads

Project Presentation

Protected Bicycle Intersection Information Sheet

Ocean Ave & California Ave Intersection Improvements Construction Notice #1

Ocean Ave & California Ave Intersection Improvements Construction Notice #2

Ocean Avenue Artists in Residence Final Report

Related Links

Ocean AiR Press Release

How to Use the New Protected Bicycle Intersection at Ocean and California

Santa Monica Economic Recovery

Santa Monica Parklets Program

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