20 Aug 2014
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Nebraska Would Bustle Under Updated Bergamot Plan

As they prepare for major development near the Bergamot Arts Center, Santa Monica planners look to transform the street into a corridor of neighborhood shops easily accessed by foot and bike.

Nebraska Would Bustle Under Updated Bergamot Plan Nebraska Would Bustle Under Updated Bergamot Plan Nebraska Would Bustle Under Updated Bergamot Plan Nebraska Would Bustle Under Updated Bergamot Plan

Planners are paying a lot of attention to side-street Nebraska Avenue in updated plans to regulate future development in the industrial Bergamot Area.

Along with busier Olympic Boulevard, Nebraska would be transformed into one of the area's two corridors, possibly boasting wider sidewalks, shared bike lanes, shops and small parks between Centinela Avenue and 26th Street.

"We're creating a unifying corridor, a pedestrian-oriented spine," city consultant Woodie Tescher told the Planning Commission last week, "a place where people walk and gather."

In an updated version of the Bergamot Area Plan, it's called the "Nebraska Spine."

In the "mixed-use creative district," retail would be encouraged along Nebraska Avenue, particularly in the heart of district at Berkeley Avenue, and within the mixed-use projects planned on Colorado Avenue.

The street would be extended from its current terminus at Stewart Street to connect a "transit village" across from a Metro station at Olympic and 26th at the Bergamot area's western boundary to residential and commercial development planned to the east.

Planners said to ensure the shops serve residents and don't become a regional draw, concentrated retail hubs should crop up in a few select areas along Nebraska, instead of running the entire stretch. It's proposed they'll be kept under 2,000 linear feet, the size of the Third Street Promenade.

The 140-acre Bergamot area will undergo major changes with the arrival of the Expo light rail in 2016.

In as soon as five years, the future Bergamot area could include a made-over Bergamot Arts Station. There's also a proposal for a 766,094-square-foot "transit village" of residences, office space, shops and restaurants at the former PaperMate site directly across from the station (those plans, however, are reportedly being held up by about six months). Just east of the "village," an even bigger project is planned consisting of more homes and spaces for creative offices and cultural art outlets.

The Bergamot Area Plan calls for retail in the transit village to be at the Expo station, on a new street through the former Papermate site, and possibly at the intersection of Olympic and Stewart, where several hundred residential units are proposed.

Olympic would be transformed into a landscaped "greenway" with lots of greenery, parks and sidewalks, and new signalized crosswalks east of Stewart. It would "take on a more urban form as it continues west with on-street parking, two new signalized crossings and more activity near the Expo station," according to the city planners and consultants.

Areawide, the proposed street network is projected to create 8.5-10 miles of new sidewalks, 2.2 miles of new dedicated or "sharrow" bike lanes, 1.8-3.6 miles of new multi-use paths, and 1.5-3 miles of new shared bike space.

Other proposed improvements include converting Pennsylvania Avenue between Stewart and 26th from a one-way street to a two-way street.

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