An initiative to fight overdevelopment and traffic congestion in Santa Monica is headed for the November ballot, after the Los Angeles County Clerk certified that the measure had received the required number of signatures.
Proponents of the “Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic,” also known as RIFT, say they collected over 10,000 signatures of registered voters in just ten weeks. By law, the measure needed only 5,800 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
The Residents Initiative to Fight Traffic would place an annual limit of 75,000 square feet on new commercial development for the next 15 years. Schools, hospitals, religious buildings and other community-serving development would be exempt. Large-scale development projects could be approved by voters.
“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,” said Diana Gordon, co-chair of the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City, which authored the initiative. “Finally, residents will get to vote on a real solution that will reduce the growth in cars coming into our city.”
The initiative has been challenged by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce board of directors, which voted unanimously in late March to oppose the measure. Chamber board members claim that the measure would not reduce traffic congestion and that Santa Monica residents would probably “suffer decreases in services” if the measure were implemented.
Initiative proponents say that commercial development is a prime source of Santa Monica’s growing traffic congestion.