In its current incarnation, Santa Monica Airport serves as a drain on the surrounding community in a number of ways. Flight loops cause almost continuous neighborhood noise; toxic air pollution is dispersed into all the neighborhoods in the near vicinity; crashes occur on an annual basis; tax payers pay millions of dollars of subsidies each year with very little profit going into the general city fund.
Airport 2 Park , coalition of community groups and neighbors formed to promote the creation of a park on the land that is currently Santa Monica Airport, aims to change all that. The group arose as a response to a City Council investigation on how to approach the upcoming end of the city’s 1984 agreement with the FAA on July 1, 2015.
They found that the public overwhelmingly supports the closure of the airport, which would then be replaced by a multi-purpose park, the largest of its kind on the Westside. Here is what, ultimately, the members of Airport 2 Park envision for the space: “A park could provide for recreation and sports; trails and facilities for walking, hiking, jogging, and cycling; playgrounds for children; activities for seniors; artworks, gardens, and the re-creating of natural habitat.
Airport buildings on Airport Avenue could become arts and cultural facilities. Buildings north of the runway now used for aircraft operations could become space for tech incubators; the rents to the city for these uses can support park operations.
A park will also allow for improvement of north-south street connections to improve traffic circulation.” However, in order to set the ball rolling for such a drastic change to take place, some preliminary steps have to happen. The first of those will be the upcoming Santa Monica Airport Bike Ride, hosted by Santa Monica Spoke.
Who: Michael Brodsky, Professor at Loyola Marymount University, and Frank C. Gruber, Attorney and blogger at http://thehealthycitylocal.com, will be hosting the ride.
What: A short 4.5 mile ride around the perimeter of Santa Monica Airport (SMO) in order to see and learn about some of the current issues relating to this facility and hear about potential creative new uses for this property.
When: Sunday, September 15th at 10 am
Where: The southwest corner of Clover Park, next to the Santa Monica Airport fence.
Damien will be there in his bucket bike. If you’re a Santa Monica Next or Streetsblog reader, be sure to say hi…but don’t wake the baby.