Nelson\Nygaard crafted the Circulation Element of Santa Monica’s 2008 General Plan Update, steering it through an intense public process, including over a dozen public workshops as well as planning commission and city council hearings. The plan broke through the city’s notorious anti-growth politics by using new development to fund a package of community benefits, including new bicycle lanes, more gracious sidewalks, more frequent transit, and stringent transportation demand management programs. More importantly, the plan commits to capping peak period vehicle trips as part of Santa Monica’s dedication to reducing greenhouse gases, air pollution, and regional traffic.
The Circulation Element is carefully integrated into the Land Use Element, focusing almost all new growth in the city around its major transit nodes, including a light rail extension from downtown Los Angeles. In addition to paying new impact fees, development will be required to meet stronger trip reduction requirements, including universal transit passes and parking fees or parking cash-out for all new residents and employees. The plan also provides incentives for existing residents and employees to reduce their trips, through both better transportation choices and more services within walking distance.
To help implement the plan, Nelson\Nygaard was brought back to develop a Bicycle Action Plan, zoning ordinance, Transportation Impact Fee, and specific plans for the downtown and Bergamot Station areas.