Investments on Ocean Avenue to Create a New Sense of Place

October 21, 2020 9:24 AM

Starting next month, Ocean Avenue will start to look different with new amenities that reflect the local flavor of Santa Monica – a protected bike lane on the west side of the street and an expanded pedestrian “boardwalk” to accommodate outdoor dining. The investments are a coordinated effort that advance the City’s mobility and economic recovery goals to create safe and vibrant public spaces.

“This is a moment to lean into our legacy of placemaking by creatively adapting the public-right-of way for uses that add to our local quality of life and support our local businesses,” said Interim City Manager Lane Dilg. “Through these improvements, we will enhance Ocean Avenue – a beautiful corridor with views of the Pacific – as a signature Santa Monica experience and area for our residents to enjoy time outdoors, not only during the pandemic but for many, many years to come.”

The first of the two projects to kick off will be the protected bike lane on Ocean Avenue, which comes as the City Council last week approved the construction of 19 miles of protected bike lanes over the next five years. Construction will begin in mid-November with the project opening to cyclists and shared mobility users in early December.

The project will connect to existing protected bike lanes, allowing daily visitors, residents, and local commuters to ride a safe, calm route from the Downtown Santa Monica Expo station to the California Incline bicycle path that connects to 22 uninterrupted miles of beach bike path. The new connection will serve the thousands of residents and visitors that use Ocean Avenue daily.

To complement the new protected bikeway, the City is working with businesses and Downtown Santa Monica Inc. on the east side of Ocean Avenue to repurpose a limited number of street parking spaces to expand sidewalk dining areas. This extra space will allow businesses to create larger outdoor dining areas on the sidewalk while also maintaining accessible pathways for pedestrians by creating a “boardwalk” along parts of Ocean Avenue from Santa Monica Boulevard to Colorado. These improvements are set to begin in November with expanded dining opening in late November or early December for participating restaurants.

This project is partially funded through the City’s Economic Recovery Fund and regional transportation funds.

As Santa Monica works to recover from the global pandemic, rethinking the public space to allow for the new norms of physical distancing are vital not only for our personal health but will allow our local businesses to thrive. Coming in November grab a bike, scooter, or skateboard take a trip down to Ocean Avenue and help support local Santa Monica businesses.

For more information, visit the project website. For more information about the City’s Economic Recovery efforts, visit



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Community Development