Controversial Santa Monica Building Project Prompts Traffic Concerns

The Santa Monica city council was expected to vote Tuesday evening on a controversial building project that some residents fear will increase traffic and congestion in a city already crowded city.

A spokesman for the city planning department said it would recommend to city leaders to allow the Bergamot Transit Village, a mixed-use project totaling 765,095 square feet -- half of which would be creative office space. The project would also include 473 rental housing units and 25 artist work/live units.

But residents like Tricia Crane said they felt like they were being taken hostage by traffic and developers wanting to build more big projects.

"I was a young reporter driving on assignment, and I drove through Santa Monica and thought, 'Wow, I could live here,'" said Crane.

Thirty years later, she said, it's much harder to live in the city she fell in love with so many years ago.

"We are already locked in our city," she said."I can't get out at night, I can't get in in the morning."

Hines Corporation, based in Texas, is behind the Bergamot development, which would be built on a site where an old Papermate pen factory once stood, on 26th Street near Olympic Boulevard.

"This project is going to produce 7,000 new car trips. I mean, that's just a threat to our quality of life," said another concerned resident Oscar De La Torre.

NBC4 could not reach someone from Hines to speak to on the project, and were referred to the city of Santa Monica, where a spokesperson said the city would be working with the developer to mitigate traffic impact.

Proponents of the project have said the proposed location would help with mitigation because it is walking distance from the future Bergamot light rail station.

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