Santa Monica Battles Itself, and Consultants, Over Parking

In this supposed progressive paradise, the recent removal of a transportation consultant reveals the conflicting agendas of residents that want to reduce congestion and those who want to build more parking. Then there are those that want both.
March 30, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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On the surface, transportation consultant Jeffery Tumlin was removed from the team working on a new zoning ordinance for Santa Monica after the Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City (SMCLC) lobbied for his ouster for referring to some of the city's residents as NIMBYS in his resume.

In reality, says Gary Kavanagh, "[t]he controversy over using the word nimby was most likely a convenient pretense for the real reason SMCLC wanted him gone: he has been pitching ideas to reform our outdated parking policies."

"Looking back over the SMCLC letter, there is the line '…we are concerned by Mr. Tumlin’s proposal to decrease the amount of parking required by new developments in our city– this in spite of residents asking for MORE parking not less…'. One could also just as forcefully assert that residents have asked for less traffic congestion, perhaps even more loudly than for more parking. These two goals are at odds with each other in most contexts, especially locations as popular as Santa Monica."

"The changing needs of the present, and the compelling and plausible shifts on the horizon in the foreseeable future, require a rethink of our approach to parking, and no amount of wishful thinking is going to change that," argues Kavanagh, a Santa Monica resident. "If we are as serious about sustainability in Santa Monica as we like to claim to be, there simply is no getting around the need to stop forcing automobile-centrism onto the landscape."

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Published on Friday, March 29, 2013 in LA.Streetsblog
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