The special City Council meeting of Feb. 1, 2021 took on the long-planned shift of creating mobility corridors for Culver City. Bus lanes and protected bike lanes will be the primary features of the plan, known as MOVE Culver City. The Quick Build Mobility Corridor is the result of months worth of intense planning and outreach after years of consideration and discussion.
The council vote to approve unanimously.
Community engagement was high, with more than 60 people speaking from the virtual podium. The residents were almost unanimously in favor of the plan, while many representatives of local businesses were less than enthused.
Multiple local business interests asked for more studies to be done. Michael Hackman of Hackman Capital Partners, offered that limiting auto traffic through downtown was not what they were hoping for. Neill Brower, representing Culver City Toyota/Honda, even sent a letter to the city citing CEQA standards as a reason to delay. City Attorney Carol Schwab noted at the meeting that the environmental law did not apply to this project, and that all legal standards were met.
The loss of business and income during the pandemic were given by several speakers as a reason to pause, but the city noted that lack of traffic due to the pandemic highlighted this as the ideal moment to proceed.
The idea that ‘this needs more study’ was refuted by the immense amount of background and data offered in the city’s presentation. Culver City’s Chief Transportation Officer, Rolando Cruz, cited both the Transit Oriented District workshops of 2017 and the 2018 Council prioritization of traffic, and gave an hour long presentation of deeply researched and detailed data to support the build.
Tamar Christensen was one of more than three dozen residents cheering for the change, took it to the next level, saying “This is not about residents versus business; this is about climate change.”
Cruz noted that “Congestion is an issue and we have a choice; do nothing and traffic will get worse, or try something different.”
The changes that the city has already made to downtown for the pandemic – enhanced space for outdoor dining, a bus- only lane going westbound on Culver Boulevard – will remain as part of the design.
Public Works Director Charles Herbertson said, “This is a pilot project that can be a source of data. The ultimate design will occur at the end of the project.”
Mayor Alex Fisch approved, saying that “This is about making the city livable and sustainable. If we don’t do it now, we will be back down behind those huge traffic volumes.”
For more information, go to http://moveculvercity.com/