Santa Monica moving forward with plan to cap 10 freeway near downtown area

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A years-old proposal to cap the 10 freeway near its Santa Monica terminus is part of a plan that will soon be considered by the city of Santa Monica, reports the Santa Monica Lookout.

According to a report prepared for the Santa Monica City Council, the Gateway Master Plan will address planning in the area “adjacent to the I-10 Freeway that links Downtown to the Civic Center” and to Santa Monica High School, and it could include covering the freeway with decking that could create new space for a park.

“This key location should become an experience that reflects the city’s values of community, sustainability and pride of place,” the report says.

Previous reports on capping the park had explored extending the McClure Tunnel and covering the 10 freeway from Fourth Street to Ocean Avenue.

The new staff report says the Gateway Master Plan offers “a unique opportunity for strengthening connections over the freeway right of way.” It also says the cap park would be a way to offer “an enlarged green space for outdoor enjoyment” where there previously was none.

By removing the visual and physical barrier between the city’s downtown and its civic center area, the park could create a new link between the two sections of the city. The report also notes that by providing access to “peripheral parking opportunities,” the park might be able to reduce car congestion in the city’s downtown.

The process of realizing the Gateway Master Plan would be “an open process facilitated by staff, and include participation from the community, land owners and decision-makers as priorities for the area are refined.” The report indicates city staff would like to get moving on the plan in the first half of this year.

The idea to top the freeway with a park was first proposed in 1996, says the Lookout.

The Gateway Master Plan is one of seven projects that city staff recommends prioritizing, including a neighborhood plan for development in the area around Memorial Park and a similar plan for the Pico neighborhood.

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