Navigating Transportation In Silicon Beach
As May, the month when the Metro Expo Line is scheduled to open, fast approaches, the City of Santa Monica stands to benefit greatly, according to experts at last week's Bisnow's The Future of Silicon Beach event at the Gallery on the Third Street Promenade.
Cox, Castle & Nicholson partner David Waite, above left with Linwood Ventures principal Scott Schonfeld, moderated the Silicon Beach on Wheels panel. David asked panelists about transportation and how housing issues are impacting the area. Scott said he has seen Santa Monica change recently from being a car-centric lifestyle to having more bikes and pedestrians.
The approximately 300 people in attendance also heard how important smart growth and affordable housing are to the area.
Santa Monica city manager Rick Cole said focusing on mobility is one of the city's strategic goals. The scheduled opening of the Metro Expo Line on May 20 will help toward that end, he said.
UCLA associate director of transportation studies Juan Matute agreed, calling the new Metro Expo Line a game changer for the Westside. Technology also is aiding transportation as people use apps to look up public transportation schedules or contact ridesharing services, he said. Both Uber and Lyft are very popular on the Westside, according to Juan.
Martin Automotive Group CEO Dan Martin talked about the severe lack of housing on the Westside and pointed to the transit-oriented Martin Expo Town Center. The project would include 516 apartments, retail and office space, "generous open space" and a renovated Martin Automotive Group location, Dan said. The town center will be built on a five-acre site at Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive near an Expo Line stop.