Santa Monica Pedestrian Mall Wants People to Hang Out

Updates are coming to the Third Street Promenade as it seeks to innovate the retail experience.
March 20, 2019, 10am PDT | Camille Fink
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Shinya Suzuki

Changes are in store for the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California, reports Merle Ginsberg. In 1989, the pedestrian mall opened after a two-year renovation and it was a model for similar ventures around the world. But it has not received much of an update in the past three decades and sales have declined in recent years.

Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. partnered with the research firm Gehl to find out what improvements could be made to attract visitors. They found that people want moveable chairs and more color, writes Ginsberg:

You can see signs of new life already. Adirondack chairs in yellow, teal, and blue are arranged in groups on the sidewalk. Chairs that spin like tops add some kid-oriented fun—as do new movable platforms covered in fake grass. 

With the Expo Line now connecting downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica, the area has seen an uptick in the number of visitors. The recent redesign efforts are focused on drawing people to the Third Street Promenade but also on getting them to spend time and, ultimately, more money there.

"Right now, public meetings are being conducted to decide which of the Gehl report scenarios will be amenable to the city, property owners, building owners, and of course, the public," says Ginsberg.

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Published on Friday, March 8, 2019 in Los Angeles Magazine
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