Santa Monica

Councilmember Kevin McKeown


(Don’t forget that any TV set graphic on my website links to a video!)

Zev Yaroslavsky, our own Los Angeles County Supervisor, says traffic keeps him out of Santa Monica — watch!

Frustrated by traffic, and feeling generally that Santa Monica is growing out of control, over 10,000 residents signed petitions to put a traffic-fighting commercial growth cap on the November 2008 ballot.  Prop. T was backed by all five neighborhood groups (and by me).  A spirited grassroots campaign couldn’t match hundreds of thousands of dollars in slick developer-funded mailers — Prop. T lost.  ...Now what???

Volunteers gathered signatures, then demonstrated on heavily-trafficked street corners urging voters to cap commercial development and slow future traffic growth.  Los Angeles Councilmember Bill Rosendahl and my Santa Monica Council colleague Bobby Shriver joined me at the Cloverfield I-10 freeway on-ramp.

My personal traffic-fighter

Santa Monica has recently adopted a new Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), and both parts of that — land use, and circulation — are critical to solving our traffic problems.  Enlightened land use will help in the long term, putting housing where the jobs are, and letting people live local lives instead of having to commute and pollute.  One

The “circulation” part of LUCE is the key to mobility, and, more importantly, access. How can we reduce our own dependence on cars, and improve our roads to become “complete streets,” safely serving pedestrians, bicyclists, and mass transit as well as cars?

reason Santa Monica suffers such horrendous traffic today is that our jobs and housing are out of balance.  We need more affordable housing, but should carefully limit commercial growth. I talk more about land use on my Development page on this site, as well as in the video to the right.

Prop. T told us traffic has become unbearable, to the point that many residents were ready for drastic action (the opponents of Prop. T said it was too drastic). A 2008 RAND study suggests we might reduce traffic by making driving more expensive, reflecting its true cost to our community in environmental impacts and otherwise productive time lost to congestion.  Developer fees can mitigate traffic impacts.

What can we do about traffic ourselves, today?  Try not to create more of it!  Combine errands, and leave your car at home if you can. Walking in Santa Monica is a real pleasure.  On my bicycle, I can get anywhere in Santa Monica almost as fast as in my car.

We can’t let lingering passions over Prop. T keep us divided.  If we want Santa Monica to be a livable city, we all have to work together, now, to reduce traffic.

How free is “free parking”? We need to examine our old assumptions, and assess how subsidized parking may attract still more traffic. The new Walker Report about parking rates in downtown Santa Monica is a real eye-opener, and suggests ways we could reduce traffic.

I’m honored by, and grateful for, your support in electing me six times!