Just a reminder to all:  The California Incline closes on Monday for one year. Traffic impacts on the Canyon are expected to be heavy, at least for several months. Leave extra time for trips in and out of the Canyon. The "No Left Turn" onto Mabery restriction begins today or tomorrow, with a barrier and signs. U-turns are also prohibited. Violations carry a fine of $234. Use alternate routes to access Mabery and Ocean Way from the south.

This week BOCA distributed over 200 information booklets on the Incline Closure, including "Frequently Asked Questions" and a map of alternate routes for Mabery / Ocean Way. You can download a PDF of the booklet by clicking here: https://www.yousendit.com/download/bXBZclVNckllaFR2WnNUQw

Your volunteer BOCA leadership, and that of the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association, have been working together for more than two years with city officials to prepare for this closure. The reconstruction of the Incline is necessary; some traffic congestion and inconvenience is inevitable. BOCA and SMCCA have done everything possible to try and help mitigate the impacts. Canyon residents have been well represented, and the city has responded. Patience and forebearance are now called for as we all adjust to the new reality for the next 12-14 months.

Official project information is available herehttp://www.smgov.net/bebp/project.aspx?id=26686

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

 

Prepared by BOCA Neighborhood Association for its members

_________________________________________________________

When will the California Incline be closed?

Officials say it will be within the next 4-6 weeks, in early to mid March.

Who is closing the Incline?

The City of Santa of Monica.

Why?

The Incline, which is a kind of sloped bridge, is not structurally sound and must be completely replaced. 

How is it being funded?

Nearly 90% of the funding is from the Federal government.

How long will the Incline be closed?

12-14 months. That means probably from mid-March 2015 to mid-March, -April, or -May 2016.

Is there information available online about the closure?

Yes, the City of Santa Monica has a comprehensive website devoted to the project:

http://www.smgov.net/bebp/project.aspx?id=26686

Will there be an overlap with the current sewer project on PCH?

Yes. The sewer project ran into some snags, and is apparently a month behind, meaning it won't finish until the end of May, rather than the end of April. So there will be an overlap of 2 and half months: half of March, April and May.

Will that exacerbate traffic congestion in the Canyon?

Most likely yes.

When is are traffic impacts likely to be the worst?

The first months of most construction projects are usually the worst, as people become aware and try to adjust. March, April and May are therefore likely to be very bad. Once the sewer project finishes and all lanes re-open on PCH in June, there could be some relief during the week, helped by the fact the schools will be closing. But as we saw with the sewer project a year ago, things got worse once summer arrived, especially on warm weekends. So there are likely to be impacts through the summer. And August and September will likely create new problems as schools re-open. So there are likely to be serious impacts for at least 6 months, though they may not be constant.

Will there be a reduction in traffic impacts over the course of the project?

The sewer project, which also began in the spring, may provide some clues. There was noticeable improvement beginning around October, as tourism dropped off, the weather cooled, and drivers learned to change their schedules, find alternate routes, or reduce trips. We can hope that the second six months of the closure, from October through March / April, will be better than the first six months.

What are the predicted impacts on the Canyon?

The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) detailed the existing traffic congestion at all impacted intersections in Santa Monica and the Canyon. The worst intersection of all was at PCH / Chautauqua. The report offers no solace,  saying that with the Incline closed, many hundreds, if not thousands, of additional cars per day will try to get to northbound PCH through the Canyon. The report concludes that this is unavoidable, and only offers the bleak prospect that "saturation", i.e. repeated experiences of gridlock, will eventually convince some drivers to avoid the Canyon.

Are public officials working on this? 

Though the project is located in Santa Monica, its impacts will be felt regionally, including the City of LA (Brentwood, SM Canyon, the Palisades). Officials from Santa Monica, and Los Angeles have been coordinating the planning for the closure. Councilman Mike Bonin's office has been deeply involved in in representing the concerns of the Canyon. LADOT (Department of Transportation) has been very involved in looking for solutions and mitigations. Santa Monica officials, including the project managers and engineers, have been very cooperative.

Have citizens had a voice in the preparations?

Yes. The Palisades and Santa Monica Canyon communities have been tracking and commenting on the project for many years since it was first proposed. This includes the Pacific Palisades Community Council (PPCC), the Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association (SMCCA), and Boca Neighborhood Association (BOCA). Last November, under the auspices of the Council office, a Canyon Traffic Working Group was formed, with representatives of all three community organizations meeting regularly with the Council office, LADOT, and Santa Monica officials. Three weeks ago, the group met with the contractor, Caltrop, and established lines of communication which should be helpful during the course of construction.

What are officials doing to avoid the worst traffic impacts in the Canyon?

The primary tool for managing traffic will be signs, of two kinds. The first type are large, electronic, changeable message signs. Some will be located on Pacific Coast Highway to direct drivers to the designated detour routes. Others will be on the 101 Freeway at Kanan Dune Rd., Malibu Canyon Rd., and Topanga Canyon Rd. as a means to deter discretionary cross-mountain traffic from coming over to take PCH. The second type are numerous fixed message signs which will be installed at intersections all around Santa Monica and in the Canyon, directing drivers to the designated detour routes and discouraging cut-through use of local streets. Santa Monica officials have pledged to do what they can to minimize the amount of traffic cutting through the Canyon.

What is the detour route?

The whole signage system is designed to get drivers to use Moomat Ahiko (the PCH on-ramp next to the Lobster Restaurant), as well as 7th and Lincoln, in order to access northbound PCH. Officials hope that most drivers will use this route, rather than going through the Canyon. They say that PCH traffic should flow even better than normal, at least in the area of the Incline, because during the closure the light there will almost always be green (except for occasional access to the Jonathan Club).

But if a driver is already north of Moomat Ahiko -- say on Wilshire or Montana -- and wants to go north on PCH, it is counter-intuitive to drive south to Moomat Ahiko. Officials nonetheless hope that drivers will eventually learn that this is a better route to northbound PCH than getting stuck in traffic in the Canyon trying to access PCH via West Channel.

Will the overall traffic situation be monitored?

Yes, officials will be monitoring traffic in real time, and the community has been told there will be a 24-hour telephone line to receive calls with complaints or reports. City officials and the contractor will be prepared to respond to situations, to alter signs or traffic signal timing, to dispatch police or emergency vehicles, or other measures to adjust to the situation as it unfolds. Officials will be taking traffic counts before and after closure as another means of monitoring. SMCCA, BOCA, and PPCC will also be closely monitoring, and conveying citizen and community reports and feedback to officials.

What have Canyon representatives requested?

SMCCA, BOCA, and PPCC have made a series of recommendations, most of which have been adapted by officials. These include repainting and striping the roadway markings in the Canyon, which have worn off; restoring and upgrading traffic and speed limit signs in the Canyon; adding "Do Not Block" pavement markings at key intersections.

Additionally, the groups requested a uniformed traffic officer every morning and afternoon on Entrada in front of Canyon School  for the duration of the project. Santa Monica officials agreed to pay for this out of project mitigation funds. Arrangements are now being worked out.

Finally, the groups requested increased police presence in LAPD patrol cars and motorcycles, and even Santa Monica Police, who cannot write tickets in L.A. but whose presence should help encourage lawful and prudent driving. Both LA and SM officials said they would seek to implement this.

Are there any changes in traffic flow?

Yes. All three organizations supported, and LADOT and the Council office agreed, to prohibit all left turns from Ocean Avenue extension onto the half-mile Mabery Road / Ocean Way loop during the period of the Incline's closure. Along with the no-left turn signs, there will be a no u-turn sign, and a temporary barrier to deter illegal turning. LADOT plans to have this in place just prior to the closure. LAPD will be able to enforce the restriction. BOCA members will monitor compliance.

Is this permanent?

No. Legal left turns will be restored when the Incline is reopened.

Why is the restriction being implemented?

The sewer construction has shown that, abetted by apps like Waze, hundreds of drivers per day were using this loop as a cut-through, often at high speed, to northbound PCH, in order to avoid the section with the lane closures. The loop is narrow, has many blind turns, over 60 driveways, and is a heavily used pedestrian and bicycle route. Conditions had become dangerous, with numerous minor collisions and threats to pedestrian and bicycle safety, as well as risks of emergency vehicles being unable to access the loop. A full explanatory slideshow is available online at www.bocaneighbors.com/traffic.

Won't this be inconvenient?

For many trips and at times when congestion is low, residents of the loop should not experience delays. However, at times of congestion there may be some delays for those approaching downhill on Ocean Avenue Extension. A map has been developed showing alternate routes onto the loop. Resident have supported the restriction in petitions and community forums as a necessary temporary protection against dangerous traffic conditions. The overriding benefit of the left-turn restriction is that despite the predicted traffic congestion from the Incline closure, the Mabery / Ocean Way loop will provide a safe street environment for residents and for the thousands of pedestrians and cyclists who will use the street during the closure to access the beach and Santa Monica. 

Could left turns have been restricted at rush hour only?

This was the community's initial request. But the sewer project provided ample evidence that this would provide inadequate safety protection. Community members who documented the situation with photographs and and many hours of observation and video concluded that drivers, facing long delays from the Incline closure, would ignore the restriction and continue to make dangerous high-speed turns, often into oncoming traffic; further, that congestion would not be limited to rush hour; and finally, that a part-time restriction would do nothing to provide protection from diverted beach traffic during weekends or during off-hour accidents on PCH. City officials agreed with this assessment and granted the full-time restriction.

What happens at the Ocean Avenue Extension / Mabery Road intersection after the incline reopens?

The intersection will be reconfigured to make it much safer for pedestrians and cyclists, by necking down the opening to create a shorter crossing distance. The intersection will have a marked crosswalk for the first time. Renderings are posted at www.bocaneighbors.com/traffic.

****

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

Here are some important updates on BOCA and SMCCA's continuing joint efforts to address the Canyon's traffic problems during two major construction projects.

 

CALIFORNIA INCLINE

George Wolfberg of SMCCA reports that the California Incline probably will not be closed until April, with pre-construction activities taking place during March. This is a bit of good news for the Canyon, in that there will probably be only a one-month overlap - the month of April - of the two big projects: the Incline closure and the PCH sewer construction lane closures.

The Incline work is expected to last 12-14 months. Under this schedule, the Incline closes at the beginning of April 2015, and reopens at the beginning of April, May, or June 2016. The City of Santa Monica, which is leading the project, is very concerned to have the construction affect only one summer season rather than two. There are incentives for the contractor to complete early, and penalties for completing late, so the schedule seems realistic, barring unforeseen difficulties. 

SEWER (CIRS) PROJECT

The City of LA Public Works Department continues to report good progress, and expects the construction and lane closures to end, as scheduled, at the end of April 2015. George W. reports that all night work is completed, and that work will continue daily from 7am to 7pm.

LADOT

There are some positive changes at the Los Angeles Department of Transportation which should help the Canyon address its traffic concerns. Mayor Garcetti appointed a new General Manager, Seleta Reynolds, from San Francisco's transportation agency. Like the Mayor, she is committed to balancing L.A.'s streets for pedestrians, cyclists, transit, and private vehicles. Her policy approach jives very closely with many of the goals that BOCA and SMCCA have set for making the Canyon safer for traffic and for cycling and walking, notably around Canyon School and along routes to the beach.

Our City Councilman Mike Bonin and his staff continue to be very supportive of our efforts on Traffic. Mike is the Chair of the Council's important Transportation Committee, was instrumental in hiring Ms. Reynolds, and has already toured the district with her.

Also, at the staff level, LADOT has brought back Mo Blorfroshan as the Senior Engineer for the West LA office, which covers the Canyon. Mo was formerly in this office, was well liked by the community, and knows the traffic issues in the Canyon and Palisades very well. He has already done a two-hour walkthrough with BOCA and SMCCA to better understand the exceptional traffic problems due to the sewer project and the upcoming Incline closure. He is very open to our suggestions and has been very responsive.

COMMUNITY FORUM

A number of BOCA members attended the October 15 forum on traffic issues organized by BOCA's Traffic & Walkability Committee, to provide updates and options on the many challenging issues we face. Warm thanks to Holly Goldberg Sloan and Gary Rosen for hosting once again. For those who couldn't make the forum, the Committee has posted the slideshow presentation:

CLICK BELOW TO START SLIDESHOW:

One of the Committee's primary concerns is the intersection of Mabery with Ocean Avenue Extension. As part of the Environmental Impact Report process for the California Incline, BOCA and SMCCA have repeatedly requested as early as five years ago that, during the period of construction, left turns be prohibited during peak hours as part of the mitigation for the Incline traffic overflows, which the EIR says will be significant and cannot be fully mitigated. This request was supported by a petition from neighborhood residents. Beginning in May of this year, the sewer project unexpectedly provided a disturbing preview of the impact of overflow traffic on the Canyon, particularly on this dangerous intersection and on the Mabery / Ocean Way loop. 

Based on five months of observation since the sewer project began, including extensive videotaping, the Traffic & Walkability Committee recommended to the BOCA Board that the request be extended to a 24-hour left-turn prohibition onto Mabery (only during the sewer and Incline construction projects; the prohibition would be removed once the Incline reopens). The Committee felt that a peak-hour restriction would be inadequate, would be frequently ignored, and would likely be unenforceable. The 24-hour restriction would be achieved with a physical redesign using striping, delineators, and any necessary barriers and signs. On October 2, The BOCA Board reviewed the Committee's presentation (see slideshow linked above), which covered a wide array of strategies and options, with the advantages and disadvantages for each. The board approved the recommendation for the 24-hour restriction, with the direction that the Committee conduct a community forum to let neighbors know about these developments and hear any concerns. On October 14, BOCA shared its decision with the Board of SMCCA on an advisory basis; SMCCA was supportive. The community forum was held on October 15. There was strong support for the 24-hour restriction, but some felt that a peak-hour restriction would be adequate and enforceable, and predicted that drivers would make u-turns into driveways to evade the left-turn prohibition. The Traffic Committee said it would work with LADOT to address this concern through the use of solid centerlines or other means. LADOT is currently reviewing the proposal. By the end of the discussion, there was majority support for the recommendation, and a consensus was reached.

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

BOCA's Traffic & Walkability Committee is holding a forum for BOCA members to update those interested in the latest developments on traffic issues related to the PCH sewer construction and the upcoming closure (early 2015) of the California Incline.

Issues to be covered will be:

  • Status of the sewer project
  • Status of Incline project
  • Composition of BOCA / SMCCA Traffic Working Group
  • Requests for uniformed traffic officers
  • Need for additional road marking and signage
  • Treatment of Mabery / Ocean Ave. Extension intersection
  • Canyon bumper sticker initiative
  • Livable Canyon initiative, including traffic calming, walkability, and biking
  • Next steps
  • Call for volunteers

Date:  Wednesday, October 15

Time:  7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.

Location: 242 Mabery Rd. Goldberg Sloan / Rosen Residence (thanks to Holly and Gary for once again generously making their home available)

Note: This meeting is for current BOCA members. If you would like to join, or renew your membership for 2014, please go to Join BOCA — BOCA Neighborhood Association

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

Great news, a win for the canyon, finally.  Council District 11 reports that the DWP has reconsidered the Sylmar Ground Return Project and after further study, urged by Councilman Bonin and DWP Board President Mel Levine, the new DWP General Manager, Marcie Edwards, has directed that existing conduit be used to install replacement cable without the necessity for new trenching. The existing trenching goes from Sunset in Brentwood to Gladstones via Sunset Blvd.

This project was originally proposed to trench from Sunset in Brentwood, to San Vicente, to 7th street and finally down Entrada to West Channel to the ocean. The leadership and boards of BOCA and SMCCA were gravely concerned about the impact of this proposed project, and wrote numerous letters during the EIR process. The disruption would have would have been widespread and long-term, and would have been very damaging to the businesses and the quality of life in our canyon. 

BOCA extends a very warm thanks to Councilman Mike Bonin for his outstanding leadership in reaching out to DWP and persuading them to rethink the project.

 

Here is the notice from Councilman Bonin's office:

Greetings,

Councilman Bonin is delighted to share that DWP has reconsidered the Sylmar Ground Return Project which was planned to require trenching on Sunset, San Vicente, Santa Monica Canyon, Gretna Green, and the area around Kenter Elementary, to install new cable.  After further study, urged by Councilman Bonin and DWP Board President Mel Levine, new DWP GM Marcie Edwards directed that existing conduit be used to install replacement cable without the necessity for new trenching.  This is a huge reduction in impact for the community and users of these well traveled roadways - and the Councilman expresses his appreciation to DWP's new leadership team for their responsiveness and willingness to rethink the project.

Norman Kulla

 

Here is the official updated information from DWP:

SYLMAR GROUND RETURN SYSTEM PROJECT UPDATE

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is proposing to replace the existing underground and marine electrical cables and the existing marine electrode portions of the Sylmar Ground Return System (SGRS). SGRS is needed to maintain the reliability and stability of the power generation and delivery system for Southern California continue to meet current and projected demand for power, and help increase the available share of renewable resource energy. The existing SGRS is an integral component of the Pacific Direct Current Intertie Transmission Line (PDCI), which has a capacity of 3,100 megawatts (enough to serve up to three million Southern California households), and transmits bulk power between Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest. The PDCI is a direct current (DC) system, and it cannot operate without a ground return system.

Originally, the LADWP proposed constructing a new conduit and maintenance vault system which was indicated in a draft environmental impact report (DEIR) issued for circulation on May 15, 2014. Recently, LADWP completed a study that considers utilizing existing infrastructure, thereby lowering the cost of the project, and greatly reducing the impacts to the surrounding communities as the streets will not be excavated. Replacement cables will be routed from Kenter Canyon Terminal Tower to the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Sunset Blvd. In addition, the project will utilize the existing origination point of the marine cables.

The eight-mile cable replacement for the land portion for this project is expected to occur in summer 2016. Work will be conducted in various locations along the alignment of the project for approximately eight months. No street closures are anticipated; however, some lane closures will occur at various times during the construction.

The project environmental impact report will address this change in the proposed project approach. In addition, LADWP continues to evaluate the scope of work needed for the marine segment of the project.

LADWP thanks the local communities for their patience. We will continue to inform the communities of construction progress and issue traffic advisories as needed throughout the project.

For further information, please visit www.ladwp.com/SylmarGroundReturnProject. You may also direct questions to SylmarGroundReturnProject@ladwp.com.

 

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

 

Sharon Kilbride reports that a group of volunteers, after signing in at Temescal Canyon for Heal the Bay's Annual Beach Clean-Up Day, came down the beach at the foot of the Canyon and did an extensive cleanup. 

She writes, "We had a group walk down to our neck of the beach and collected 10 buckets of garbage. Great exercise on a gloomy day.. Tons of cigarette butts taken off the beach!"

Warm thanks from all of BOCA to Sharon for her sustained efforts to keep the beach and beach tunnels clean, and to all those who volunteered today! 

Sharon Kilbride with other volunteers cleaning Will Rogers State beach during Heal the Bay's annual Beach Cleanup

Sharon Kilbride with other volunteers cleaning Will Rogers State beach during Heal the Bay's annual Beach Cleanup





Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

A Bureau of Street Services crew with 7 vehicles rebuilt the three speed humps on Mabery today. BOCA appreciates the efforts of Councilman Mike Bonin, staffers Norman Kulla and Mark Grant, and Bureau of Street Services' Nazario Sauceda, along with the BSS crew led by Tony Motta, to request and implement the hump restoration. See photos below.

We all hoped that the reconstructed humps would be perceptibly higher than the old, worn humps, and would thus reduce speeding on Mabery and Ocean Way. The newer, current city standard for humps (technically, they are now termed "speed tables" rather than "speed humps") is a maximum 2" above the existing roadway. See the photos below and you'll understand how precisely the profile of the speed tables has been engineered. We would all have liked to see them higher, but the new standard apparently responds to concerns by the Fire Department that higher humps reduce their response time - something that of course none of us want to see in this drought. Some areas of the older Mabery humps had been worn down to 1" above roadway, so some parts of the restored humps are higher, if only slightly. Also, for the moment they also lack the necessary markings (white delta shapes) which do help slow people down. We are working with the City Council office and LADOT to have the markings put in as soon as possible - there is apparently a long backlog for the marking crews, who use a specialized truck that heats and sprays the thermoplastic paint. We will update the community when we have a scheduled date for the markings.

BOCA will continue to work with City officials to try and reduce the spillover cut-through commuter traffic and frequent speeding that continues to plague the Mabery Road / Ocean Way loop, caused by the lane closures on PCH from sewer construction. This has no doubt now been exacerbated by the two-week closure beginning Monday the 15th of Moomat Ahiko Way, the PCH on-ramp from Ocean by the Lobster restaurant, which forces PCH-bound traffic to the California Incline, or, in many cases, into the Canyon.

 

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

BOCA's Environment Committee has just developed a preliminary draft concept paper for a Livable Canyon Project. This would group many of the current initiatives - tunnel maintenance, traffic calming, improved walkability and bikability - into an overall project that could qualify for funds from the City and other sources. A copy has been provided to Council Bonin's office for preliminary comment. A draft description is here -- CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE FULL SIZE.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO SEE FULL SIZE - Draft Map and Description of the Livable Canyon Project

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

Anyone who lives, walks, bikes, or parks on the half-mile loop of Mabery Road / Ocean Way knows that, since the sewer construction on PCH began in May, this narrow residential street has become a high-speed cut-through for commuters and others trying to avoid PCH. Smartphone apps like WAZE are actually directing drivers onto the street as a short-cut, as if it were a highway. The roadway has become frequently dangerous for the street's many families, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and for residents pulling in or out of their driveways. The intersection of Mabery with Ocean Avenue Extension is the site of daily nearly missed head-on collisions as drivers race downhill on Ocean Avenue Extension into oncoming traffic to turn the blind corner into Mabery. There have been numerous minor accidents at the corner.

Bad though the current traffic situation is, it is likely to get worse when the California Incline closes in January. That means four months of overlap with the sewer project, slated to finish in April.

Nine months ago, BOCA and SMCCA (Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association) formed a Canyon Traffic Working Group, which has been meeting regularly with our City Councilman Mike Bonin's staff, LADOT, and LAPD to get some relief from this unacceptable situation. We can't prevent drivers from short-cutting through our Canyon neighborhood, but we can demand that they drive calmly, slowly, and legally. To achieve that, BOCA and SMCCA have jointly been requesting a number of measures:

1. A uniformed traffic officer in front of Canyon School in the morning and afternoon rush. (This was successfully arranged with LADOT by the Councilman's office for the opening weeks of school, but will soon end)

2. LAPD motorcycle officers to patrol and write tickets for speeding or illegal maneuvers (this request is being reviewed at LAPD)

3. "Do Not Block" road markings in front of Kingman and San Lorenzo (these have now been installed by LADOT)

4. A "neck-down" and striped crosswalk across Mabery at Ocean Avenue Extension to improve pedestrian safety and discourage illegal high-speed turns (LADOT has approved this and will implement - date unknown)

5. A restoration of the speed humps on Mabery / Ocean Way loop (these have become ineffective because of wear after twelve years from original installation - thanks to Councilman Bonin's staff, Bureau of Street Services, or BSS, will restore the humps next week).

This last item is the reason that "No Parking 6:30am-4pm except Saturday and Sunday" signs went up today on Mabery, to allow BSS crews to restore the humps. While this will undoubtedly prove inconvenient for some people for a day or two, please be patient and understanding. It took nine months of effort by BOCA and SMCCA to get this work approved, and the immediate, long-term benefit should be to calm traffic and make the street safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and residents during the 18 months of the Incline closure, and beyond.

A special thanks to Adrienne Chandhok and Jona Frank, chairs of BOCA's Traffic & Walkability Committee; to Marilyn Wexler and George Wolfberg, who represent SMCCA on the Canyon Traffic Task Force; to Councilman Bonin for his personal efforts and to Norman Kulla and Mark Grant of his staff; and to BSS Director Nazario Sauceda for his ready help and cooperation.

 

 

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

A small amount of graffiti in the Little Tunnel, including one of the new "No Loitering" signs, has been removed almost as quickly as it was sprayed. Thanks to a quick phone call yesterday by Tunnel Captain Sharon Kilbride to 3-1-1, the City of L.A.'s anti-grafitti came and removed the markings today. They were helped by the fact that BOCA and SMCCA, which jointly installed the new signs, paid extra for a special anti-grafitti coating. Kudos to Sharon and the City's crew, which works out of the Office of Community Beautification, a service of the Department of Public Works.


Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

Finally a bit of good news on the Canyon traffic front. At the urging of BOCA and SMCCA in early August, Councilman Bonin's office formally requested LADOT to assign a traffic control officer to the Entrada intersection at Canyon School for the first two weeks of school. The City's Public Works department agreed to pay for this service as a mitigation for the spillover traffic from its PCH sewer project, which has increased traffic congestion throughout the Canyon. The agreed hours were on school days from 7:30-8:30am, and in the afternoons from 2:30-4:30 (M,W,F) and 1:30-3:30 (T,T) based on the school's dismissal schedule.

The service began last week on the first day of school (August 12), and from all reports BOCA has received, the presence of an officer at the intersection has improved the situation. CLICK ON THE SLIDE SHOW BELOW FOR AN OVERVIEW:

Today we got some additional good news: the deployment of an officer has been extended for another three weeks, until around September 15. It turns out that LADOT covered the cost of the first week, and the budget allocation by Public Works is going further than expected. So another 15-17 days of service can now be provided. This is very good news for the whole community.

Looking ahead, BOCA, SMCCA, Canyon School, and the Council office will work to see if the presence of the officer can be extended for the duration of the PCH sewer project (through April 2015), and ideally beyond, becoming a permanent part of traffic safety in the Canyon and at Canyon School.

BOCA  would like to thank all who have helped to make this happen:

  • Norman Kulla of the Council office, with the full support of Councilman Mike Bonin, for making the request to LADOT
  • Kendrick Okuda and Andy Flores of Public Work's Bureau of Engineering for agreeing to cover the cost as mitigation for the CIRS sewer project on PCH
  • To Edward Yu of LADOT for gaining the approval for the deployment
  • To Captain Villareal, Sargent Garrett, and Sargent Jones of LADOT's West Division for arranging the deployment 
  • To Officer James Black for his excellent service on the assignment
  • To Canyon School's Beth Preminger, Julie Silliman, and Jerry Deli for coordinating on behalf of the school
  • To BOCA's Traffic & Walkability Committee chairs Adrienne Chandhok and Jona Frank for their tireless efforts to calm traffic and improve safety in the Canyon
  • To SMCCA's Marilyn Wexler and George Wolfberg for all their efforts on the Canyon Traffic Working Group
Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

BOCA has just recognized longtime Canyon residents Earl and Carol Fisher for their generous deeding of oceanfront hillside to preserve ocean views for future generations.

The Fishers, who live on Ocean Way, own the bluffs along the western leg of Ocean Way, facing PCH and Will Rogers State Beach. In 2010, they deeded the two adjacent parcels to the Golden State Land Conservancy, and incorporated easements which will protect the historic open views to the Pacific.

This spring, BOCA commissioned Canyon artist and longtime BOCA member Judi Jensen to create an artwork commemorating the Fisher's gift to the community. The gift was to have been presented to Carol and Earl at the BOCA summer meeting, but at the last minute they could not attend. However, at the BOCA meeting, Judi was able to obtain signatures on a card for the Fishers from the members present. Last night, a delegation from BOCA was finally able to present the card and the artwork to the Fishers at their home. The delegation included Vice President Holly Goldberg Sloan, Environment Committee chair Wes Hough, and Judi Jensen.

BOCA would like to thank the Fishers for their long residency and civic contributions to the Canyon. Earl was a former BOCA president, and his and Carol's herculean efforts to preserve the Bradbury house, their historic home designed in 1923 by renowned Spanish Revival architect John Byers, has assured the permanent presence of this important Canyon landmark. For their efforts, they have been recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Combined with the easement on the bluffs, these contributions by the Fishers reflect the best civic traditions of the Canyon. Their generous efforts set an example and have helped to protect the Canyon from overbuilding. The Fishers have helped assure that the architecture and landscape which make the Canyon so special are preserved for generations to come.



Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

Much of BOCA and SMCCA's work on the beach has dealt with fixing problems (sand in the tunnels! graffitti! loitering! burnt-out bulbs! flooding!) so it's a pleasure to report on a really positive development, and one that came as a surprise to the community: Perry's Cafe has come to our corner of Will Rogers beach!

The facility opened three weeks ago in the old concession building that has long been more of an eyesore than an amenity. Its bathrooms were old and unappealing (compared to Santa Monica's spiffy new beach bathrooms) and the food concession was run-down and sold mediocre fast food. And even that space had been empty for some time, creating a feeling of abandonment.

Fast forward to July 2014: a shiny new snack bar with healthy food and drinks (click here for the menu: Perry's CafeMenu ), bright yellow umbrellas, comfortable table seating and chaise lounges, and useful rentals for visiting family and friends: chairs, boogie boards, bicycles, towels, etc.

Perry's Cafes have an excellent reputation up and down Santa Monica beach and beyond, but there has never been one this far north. Now we have our own, thanks to a new contract with LA County Beaches & Harbors. We've been critical of the County for its lack of attention to our area - rusting railings, weeds, and general neglect - but we have to congratulate them on the decision to bring in a new Perry's.

Perry's area manager is Aaron Seals, who extends a warm welcome to the community. The guy you're likely to see there is Victor and his staff. Right now, their opening hours are M-F 10-5, and S-S 8-6. They're still testing these hours, depending on patronage. So please patronize Perry's! (just as we encourage Canyonites to patronize all our local businesses). Aaron and Victor weren't sure if they would stay open year round or what their hours would be, so let's help them make that decision by giving them plenty of business. Yoiu can find out more at Perry's CafeHome. And here's a map of their other locations (the map doesn't show the Will Rogers location yet:

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

Transients have been part of the Canyon scene for years. The situation sometimes becomes noticeably worse, and from various report that appears to be the case right now. Here are some of the actions that LAPD, BOCA and SMCCA are taking.

1. LAPD

Officer Michael Moore, the Assistant Chief in the Office for Special Operations, is well aware of these issues, and he and his colleagues periodically check the tunnels and beaches. If you see anything of concern, leave a message for Officer Moore on his cell phone: (310) 622-3984. If there is any threat to personal safety whatsoever, even a verbal threat, call 9-1-1.

Officer Michael Moore

Officer Michael Moore


2. LAPD Homeless Unit

BOCA learned this week that LAPD has apparently assigned two officers, Officers Brennan and Harris, to focus on the issues of transients along the beach, tunnels, and canyon. Yesterday, their squad car was on the bike path, and the investigated the situation first hand. BOCA will be trying to work closely with them. More information to follow as we receive it.

3. BOCA's Safety Committee

The Committee, chaired by Christy Lowe, will be looking into better coordination with LAPD, and more information for BOCA members and Canyon residents to monitor the situation and report infractions.

4. L.A. County Department of Beaches & Harbors

BOCA will be making a presentation and appeal at the July 23 meeting of the Los Angeles County Beach Commission, which oversees the L.A. County Department of Beaches & Harbors, to take a more active role in overseeing and maintaining the Canyon beach tunnels and entry points to Will Rogers State Beach (owned by the State of California, maintained by Los Angeles County). The maintenance neglect of this area - litter, human waste, graffiti, rusted and broken railings, weeds - creates a sense of lawlessness (the so-called "Broken Windows" theory of crime prevention) and invites further bad behavior. The County has an obligation to maintain our area to reasonable standards, especially since it is one of the most important pedestrian and bike gateways to the coast.

5. BOCA Members and Canyon Residents

You can help by taking a photo or video with your cell phone any situation, condition, or individual you believe to be in violation of city of county codes, or presenting any kind of threatening situation. It is illegal to loiter in the tunnels, or to verbally abuse or threaten anyone in the public right-of-way or on public property. Sending these photos to BOCA or LAPD helps us document the situation and identify individuals of concern. You should also not hesitate to call LAPD and report any situation which concerns you. LAPD has repeatedly said they would prefer to get calls that don't amount to anything rather than not get calls which should have been made.

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

Now that the physical improvements to the beach tunnels are complete, BOCA and SMCCA will be working to address some of our related social issues, including transients, encampments, and graffiti. Based on numerous reports, these problems appear to be getting steadily worse, in terms of the number of incidents and the aggressiveness of some of the transient population. And the situation is often exacerbated in the summer when the overnight population increases due to fair weather. The first step is to warn the community of two individuals currently in the area.

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The first is a white male, approx. 5-9", average build, light beard on chin, tattoos on legs. He is verbally aggressive, and threatened violence against one of BOCA's members. He has defecated at least once in the tunnel, and has been loitering and drinking there. He hid his face from the photographer for this photo. LAPD's Officer Michael Moore was informed yesterday of the threat, and wrote this morning that he would look into it. If you see this individual, call Officer Moore's cell at (310) 622-3984. If the individual threatens in any way, call 9-1-1.

This woman was blocking the steps from Entrada up to Mabery yesterday at 7:00pm. When asked to clear a path to go by, she was verbally abusive, and appeared mentally disturbed. When she departed, she left behind her trash, which included mail from 159 Entrada, so it appears she had been going through mailboxes in the area. Additionally, last night there was a theft of belongings from an unlocked car nearby on Entrada. There is no indication this woman was the culprit, but the warning stands: do not leave valuable items in your mailbox or car.

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

The first complete repainting of both beach tunnels in many years has just been completed in advance of the July 4 holiday weekend. Funded jointly by BOCA and SMCCA, and overseen with tireless effort by Sharon Kilbride and Wes Hough, with the painting by Mariano, the repainting has given the tunnels a bright look, and has earned appreciative comments by many Canyon beachgoers and other passersby. A huge thanks to Sharon and Wes for this multi-day effort planned and executed over many weeks.

 

The next step, which will take place with a week, will be the posting of the Tunnel identity signs and the No Loitering signs, so that LAPD can enforce the law against loitering in or blocking public public rights-of-way. 

beach tunnels signs.png


Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

The repainting of the Roosevelt Tunnel and the Little Tunnel, organized and funded by BOCA with SMCCA, is well under way! Our painter Mariano has finished the wall painting in both tunnels (cornbread yellow). On Monday he will resume and paint the metal railings and handrails in gray. A huge thanks to Sharon Kilbride and Wes Hough for their incredible time and effort on this, arranging the painting, buying all the supplies, and overseeing the work.

We are also adding new gateway signs to the tunnels - one at each of the five entrances (three at Roosevelt, two at Little Tunnel). All the signs will have an anti-graffiti coating that should make it easier to keep them clean and legible.

new gateway signs for the beach tunnels

new gateway signs for the beach tunnels

We are also replacing the existing "No Loitering" signs, many of which have been defaced or covered, with new ones.  These must be posted, with the appropriate Los Angeles municipal code number, in order for the LAPD to enforce the rule. BOCA has been getting reports of increased vagrancy, vandalism, encampments, intoxication, and aggressive behavior. We will be working with LAPD, the City, and the County in the coming weeks and months to restore civility to the Canyon's beachfront.

No Loitering sign must be posted in order for LAPD to enforce the law

No Loitering sign must be posted in order for LAPD to enforce the law

Finally, we have reported the two lights that are burned out in the Little Tunnel to the Bureau, and are prepared to respond to any graffiti.

You can help maintain the tunnels. If you're going through and see problems of any kind, take a picture with your cellphone and send it to us.

IF THERE IS AN IMMEDIATE SAFETY THREAT:  call 911

IF THERE IS A NON-EMERGENCY POLICE ISSUE, LIKE VAGRANCY:  call Officer Moore's cellphone at (310) 622-3984

IF LIGHTS ARE BURNED OUT: call James Masud at Bureau of Street Lighting to report it: (323) 913-4727

IF THERE IS GRAFFITI:  call 311 and report it - we have provided them with extra cans of the new paint so the paintover will match

 

 

 

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman

The much needed repainting of both the Little Tunnel and the Roosevelt Tunnel is about to begin! The work is scheduled to begin tomorrow morning, Wednesday, June 24. It should last 2-3 days. The project has been organized and funded jointly by BOCA Neighborhood Association and Santa Monica Canyon Civic Association (SMCCA). If you're jogging to the bike path, or just headed to the beach, you may need to use the other tunnel if the one you're going to is in the process of being painted. The project will begin with prep work, followed by spraying. The color will be similar to the existing, but a little warmer and brighter (paint chip "Corn Muffin"!); the metal railings will be painted gray for better appearance over the long term. Extra paint will be stored by BOCA so that graffiti can be quickly covered and repainted by the City with matching color.

Posted
AuthorDoug Suisman