A suspected drunk driver crashed right into a Primary Road parklet on Friday and native neighborhood associations are methods to sluggish visitors and shut parts of the road to automobiles throughout peak eating hours.
Plans have been already within the works, however they’ve taken on higher significance in gentle of the latest incident, which injured 4 diners.
At 8:09 p.m. alleged drunk driver Piper Pollard crashed a black BMW into the concrete limitations surrounding the out of doors eating house by Urth Caffe, in response to SMPD Public Info Officer Roberto Villegas.
Pollard, a 21-year-old Pacific Palisades resident, was arrested for a felony DUI.
Three diners suffered minor accidents as a k-rail was knocked over and one particular person was transported to a neighborhood hospital to deal with a suspected ankle fracture. The concrete barrier prevented the automobile from immediately hitting bystanders.
“This isn’t an out of doors eating accident. This can be a drunk driving accident,” stated Primary Road Companies Enchancment Affiliation Govt Director Hunter Corridor, who spearheaded Primary Road’s al-fresco eating program. “You’ll be able to’t cease a drunk driver 99 p.c of the time from killing individuals. However fortunately, that is concerning the 1 p.c of the time you can — with a 4,000 pound concrete barrier.”
That is the primary visitors incident at a parklet in Santa Monica the place any accidents have been sustained, in response to Villegas. At the moment, the tables at Urth Caffe have been faraway from the road house, nonetheless there’s nonetheless out of doors eating open within the backyard and deck areas.
There have been preexisting issues about visitors patterns within the space and MSBIA and the Ocean Park Affiliation are engaged on methods to handle the pace of automobiles touring alongside Primary Road and parallel roads.
“Within the time of COVID there’s a lot much less visitors, so individuals have gotten used to driving quicker than they ordinarily would,” stated OPA President Marc Morgenstern. “We see that not simply on Primary Road but additionally on Neilson Approach and within the streets like third and 4th Road.”
The variety of dashing citations issued in Santa Monica has elevated by 50 p.c through the pandemic — going from 819 in 2019 to 1,234 in 2020, in response to Villegas.
DUIs, however, have dropped by 44 p.c, doubtless as a result of shutdown of nightlife. In 2019, SMPD made 197 DUI associated arrests together with 4 felony arrests in comparison with 111 arrests together with three felonies in 2020.
OPA and MSBIA are wanting into putting in pace bumps and different resistive options resembling rubber pads to assist sluggish visitors on Primary Road, Neilson Approach, third Road, and 4th Road.
“It’s a part of a broader motion to divest in visitors and transfer in the direction of a extra bicycle pleasant space,” stated Corridor. “You’ll be able to anticipate us to be pushing for that along with residents within the subsequent couple days.”
The 2 organizations are additionally engaged on an “Al-Fresco 2.0” program that may shut off parts of Primary Road to automobile visitors throughout peak eating hours. This may improve each the variety of seats out there and the gap between diners.
“The dialogue now with numerous related metropolis departments is about how selective blocks could possibly be closed for restricted intervals of time, say on the weekends,” stated Morgenstern. “That means individuals might benefit from the retailers and eating places with more room out there and fewer issues about visitors.”