Community support is minimal for a long-debated plan to transform Santa Monica Boulevard into a local highway, and most travelers on the east-west thoroughfare say they would begin using Olympic Boulevard as an alternative route, according to an informal poll of area residents.
Sixty percent of the respondents said that the proposed changes to Santa Monica Boulevard were unacceptable.
The poll was conducted by the Westwood South of Santa Monica Boulevard Homeowner's Assn., which sent questionnaires to about 1,600 people who live south of the boulevard; about 190 people responded.
The homeowner's association is contesting a $69.1-million plan by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to enlarge a 2.2-mile stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard, which is divided into two parallel roads from West Los Angeles to Beverly Hills.
The agency's plan includes transforming both Santa Monica boulevards into an urban superhighway, with four eastbound lanes and four westbound. "Little Santa Monica" runs parallel to the main boulevard, separated by a grassy median strip.
Changing Santa Monica into a highway was considered "a disaster" by 40% of the poll respondents, while 51% said that the change "would be less convenient." Only 10% said that Santa Monica Boulevard would be more convenient as a highway and 5% said that altering Santa Monica would make no difference at all.
Transportation planners predict that about 70,000 cars will travel along Santa Monica by the year 2010.