Status Update on Redevelopment Priority Programs



Affordable Housing:  The preservation and production of affordable housing has been a top priority for Agency funds.  At its April 22, 2008 meeting, the Agency authorized an agreement with Bank of America to obtain a line of credit in the amount of $50,000,000 for purposes of accelerating affordable housing development, with an option to increase the line of credit by an additional $25,000,000. This leveraging of set-aside funds enhances the City’s ability to more immediately address the need for affordable housing and avoid inflationary increases in land and construction costs.  Historically, the Agency has provided more than the 25 percent of its gross redevelopment tax increments and over 40 percent of net available redevelopment revenues on affordable housing.  The Agency shall continue to fund affordable housing and whenever possible allocate additional resources beyond the required 20 percent housing set-aside.


Civic Center Parks and Public Facilities:  Extensive efforts to implement the Civic Center Specific Plan have been made since its adoption in 2005.  On June 10, 2008, a significant milestone was achieved when the Agency adopted the resolutions approving the DDA and Lease Agreement between the Agency and Related/Santa Monica Village, LLC for the Village project, which features housing, neighborhood serving retail, open space and additional public benefits that reflect the City’s values and policies toward supporting affordable housing and child care, artist housing, alternative energy production and sustainable design and transportation.


To continue moving the Civic Center program forward, redevelopment funding is necessary to implement other key public improvements such as the design and construction of the Palisades Garden Walk Park and the Early Childhood Education Center and the rehabilitation and expansion of the landmark Civic Auditorium.  Additionally, with Redevelopment funds, the City will have the opportunity to transform circulation patterns within the Civic Center and the Downtown by integrating efforts to address the following objectives:

o       Connecting the Civic Center and Downtown

o       Creating a vibrant downtown LRT transit gateway

o       Enhancing and expanding open space and park area

o       Resolving circulation issues for pedestrians, bicycles, transit and other vehicles

o       Addressing parking needs comprehensively, identifying shared use opportunities.


The areas of focus are briefly described below.

·        Connecting the Light Rail Station, Downtown and the Civic Center districts together by widening the sidewalks along Colorado to create a green pedestrian boulevard from the Expo light rail station to the Pier, beach and Civic Center by removing one vehicle travel lane. This improvement would facilitate the tremendous increase in pedestrian volume generating from the station.


·        Modifying the circulation system through revisions to the street grid with the creation of a new street to divert traffic away from the 4th and Colorado intersection.  This improvement would reduce conflicts with Big Blue Bus and enhance circulation in the downtown and civic center.



·        Creating additional park and open space by decking the I-10 freeway for all or part of the sections from Ocean Avenue to 4th Street, this improvement would integrate the Colorado Avenue streetscape as the northern edge of Palisades Garden Walk (PGW) and create a pedestrian promenade/axis from 2nd Street across the deck and into PGW.


·        Comprehensively evaluating parking needs to maximize shared use by considering peak demand days, times, and fluctuations caused by events and seasons.  This effort would maximize the value of investment by evaluating joint use opportunities for special events, Samohi, the Civic Center Auditorium, and transit.


·        Enhancing cultural facilities through joint use opportunities with Samohi and Civic Center Auditorium. The Santa Monica-Malibu School District, drawing on the opportunity to connect its long-range plan to expand the Samohi campus with revitalization efforts in the Civic Center, proposes to construct several new improvements including a pedestrian/bicycle promenade, recreational facilities and amphitheater. Based on review of the School District’s proposal, these projects appear to be eligible for redevelopment funding, subject to the School District’s ability to meet certain Agency requirements concerning ability to demonstrate need for funding and findings of community benefit. 



Downtown Parking Strategic Plan: In FY 08-09, Walker Parking initiated a study concerning the pricing and operations of the downtown parking structures. The final recommendations from this study will be presented to Council at a future date.  City staff has issued an RFP for the design and build of Parking Structure 1 and 6; award of contract for the selected firm will be presented to Council in early FY 09/10; design work is anticipated to commence in Fall 2009 and construction in FY 11/12.  Bayside District stakeholders have requested that the program address project enhancements, including parking structure landscaping, signage and entrance lighting.  This program also includes funding for land acquisitions, purchase and installation of bicycle racks within the downtown and in the newly constructed bicycle transit centers.


Traffic Signal Master Plan Implementation:  This program features improvements to synchronize traffic signals, modernize and install fiber optic communication to connect every traffic signal at all the intersections onto the City’s Advance Traffic Management System, and the installation of a traffic signal to control northbound and southbound traffic on PCH.  Phase 1 and 2 of the program, which includes the traffic signals in the downtown, portions of 4th street and Lincoln have been completed; Phase 3 is currently underway and anticipated to be finished by Fall 2009; Phase 4a and 4b is anticipated to be completed by Fall 2010.


Memorial Park Master Plan:   The LUCE identifies Memorial Park as an “activities center” with the park block serving as a catalyst for building a vital mixed-use neighborhood.  This direction, combined with the policies of the Open Space Element, make the careful master planning of this block particularly significant.  The first phase of this project will be extensive community process to develop a long term master plan for this 13.4 acre block bounded by 14th Street, 16th Street, Colorado Avenue and Olympic Boulevard including the development of the programmatic vision for the property, a phasing and financing plan, environmental review, and phased implementation including identification of a site, design and construction of a permanent facilities for the Community Maintenance uses that are currently occupying a portion of the property. 


Commercial Corridor Improvements:  To date, extensive community outreach for the City’s Land Use and Circulation Element have been conducted and the work related to framework, design studies and improvement studies has commenced.  Based on the community’s input, this program will include installation of pedestrian access ramps, pedestrian barriers, and traffic signal modifications to increase pedestrian safety; increased parking opportunities; expanded public bus facilities; and strengthened street connections.


Infrastructure Improvements: To evaluate which of the City’s core infrastructure, such as streets and sidewalks, storm water facilities, and streets lights are in need for seismic upgrades and complete reconstruction, the Agency approved funding to complete a full study of these needs.  Studies of these needs are currently underway, with the needs assessment for the City’s existing streetlights, parks/beach signage and wayfinding and bike/pedestrian wayfinding signage completed. The completed studies’ results recommend replacement of outdated circuits and light poles throughout the City, implementation of new and improved signage and wayfinding for all parks and the beach, and commencement of signage strategy and plan development for bike/ped wayfinding. Findings from the remaining assessment studies and related improvement costs will be incorporated into the City’s CIP program in the future.