A Santa Monica group opposing a November ballot measure, which proponents say is aimed at reducing traffic growth in the city, has formed a coalition to challenge the initiative.
Coalition members announced at a conference at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica Wednesday, July 30th, that they have united to defeat the ballot measure known as the Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic (RIFT).
The group is comprised of community activists, teachers, parents, renters’ rights leaders, homeowners, environmentalists, historic preservationists, religious leaders and nonprofit organizations.
Earlier this year, the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City gathered more than 10,000 signatures to qualify the Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic for the ballot.
The Coalition for a Livable City says that the measure calls for reducing future commercial development in Santa Monica by half, to 75,000 square feet annually. All residential building, hospitals, schools, care and government facilities and places of worship are not included in the proposal.
Calling the Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic one of the most detrimental ballot measures in Santa Monica’s history, the anti-RIFT coalition says that the measure “sounds good on the face of it, but a closer look reveals that it will essentially create a whole new set of problems for the city and severely hurt the city’s world-class schools.”
“We all agree that the city has a horrible traffic problem, but RIFT is not the solution,” said Terry O’Day, executive director of Environmental Now and co-chair of the anti-RIFT campaign.
But Diana Gordon, co-chair of the Coalition for a Livable City has said, “Residents are fed up with overwhelming traffic congestion and our city’s continuing failure to set limits on commercial growth, which is a major source of gridlock.”
While the Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic would limit some development, it would allow massive development of expensive condos in already dense residential neighborhoods, displacing renters and further diminishing the city’s supply of affordable housing, according to initiative opponents.
“RIFT is just too risky for Santa Monica,” O’Day added.