THE SANTA MONICA CITY COUNCIL has approved the Colorado Esplanade project, which will transform the streetscape of Colorado as a one-way westbound street between Fourth Street and Ocean Avenue, with wider sidewalks and a two-way bicycle track.

THE SANTA MONICA CITY COUNCIL has approved the Colorado Esplanade project, which will transform the streetscape of Colorado as a one-way westbound street between Fourth Street and Ocean Avenue, with wider sidewalks and a two-way bicycle track.

The Santa Monica City Council has unanimously approved a plan to transform the streetscape of Colorado Avenue west of Fourth Street to accommodate the arrival of the future Exposition Light Rail line.
The council voted May 14 to support the final design of the so-called Colorado Esplanade project, which covers Colorado Avenue between the future terminus of the light rail line at Fourth Street and the Santa Monica Pier. The council voted to amend the plan to remove the proposal for a Second Street bridge extension and instead construct a Main Street to Second Street alignment.
The Esplanade project is intended to provide a more pedestrian-friendly experience and help resolve the various circulation needs near the city’s final Expo Line station, which is expected to bring surges of passengers once it comes on line in 2016, staff say. The new streetscape design by Peter Walker Partners will also help address the community vision for an integrated light rail system that is easily accessible by vehicle, bicycle or on foot, staff note.
City officials hope that the streetscape atmosphere will highlight to passengers and visitors that they have arrived in Santa Monica, and will create a “gateway” to other parts of the city like the beach, Civic Center and downtown.
“This is probably the one project that most epitomizes the new thinking we’re having in Santa Monica about what our city should look like,” Councilman Kevin McKeown said.
Under the project, Colorado will be turned into a one-way street westbound from Fourth Street, and other features include wider pedestrian sidewalks, new lighting and a two-way bicycle track.
The core project is estimated at a cost of $10.7 million, including realignment of Second and Main streets and infrastructure upgrades along Colorado.
The project was originally anticipated to use $10 million of redevelopment agency funding and $3.3 million from Metro grants. But due to the elimination of redevelopment funding from the state budget, the council approved $5.7 million in funding from the General Fund along with the Metro grant funding.
The design will incorporate wayfinding opportunities to local points of interest for passengers as they exit and enter the station.
The Esplanade is supported by the Land Use and Circulation Element as a way to “maximize placemaking” associated with the Expo Line station and create vibrant downtown gateways.

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