MB Real Estate Dodges a Bullet with Vista Del Mar Restoration

By Dave Fratello | July 27th, 2017

It sucked.

Actually, the drive on the newly choked Vista Del Mar route from the South Bay to west LA and Santa Monica still sucks.

But change is coming. By this time next month, VDM should be more or less back to normal.

As DigMB reports this morning, Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin has just announced that traffic lanes that had been eliminated will now be restored.

Soon VDM will be 4 lanes wide again, with the new "beach parking" spots at the top of the cliff removed and somehow re-added below, at the beach level. Presumably, other choke points will be addressed. The signal at VDM/Culver will be tweaked to speed up traffic flow. Phhhhhhhhew!

When Bonin first ordered restrictions intended to put the area on a "road diet," commute times doubled (and worse).

We've been hearing about the horrors of the drive from friends, past clients and current clients. And though MBC is all 90266-based now, that's a drive Dave knows well (did it for 10+ years) and we've found ourselves stuck in that traffic a couple times recently.

If the poorly planned road restrictions had remained in place, many people feared for the future of Manhattan Beach real estate.

Yes, your local realtors have been quietly panicking about it. No one wanted to talk about it with clients in their pitch for MB, but the traffic issue was looming large.

One past client of Dave's, who has recruited others to move to MB, saw the problem right away: People working in tech businesses in Venice, Santa Monica and nearby areas would not want to be make their homes in an area that was feeling newly inaccessible. You don't write a check for a $3M house and sign up for 90-minute-plus drive to work and back. Yuck. You just look elsewhere. (Pacific Palisades, anyone?)

Another current client told coworkers that the drive was brutal and they should look elsewhere.

Friends have switched morning commutes to Sepulveda, a road they had previously avoided because it sucks. And it's now worse.

Until there are flying cars, or a hyperloop between MB and Santa Monica, people will be driving to work. So there have to be appropriate ways to get places by car. (God bless those who bike commute. "Burn calories, not fossil fuels," right?) 

Manhattan Beach was facing a bunch of pain not just because its current residents were suffering, but potentially because any number of potential buyers were going to turn away.

You know what happens when demand drops, right? Prices are next.

So we've dodged a bullet, for now, it would appear. 

Oh sure, we still have to live with the insufferable lies.

When VDM was first restricted, there was much self-justifying talk about "road diets" and safety and idealistic plans for the future. People wanted to set automobile drivers against bicyclists. But the change was made overnight, without planning or consultation with affected communities. It wasn't some progressive dream come true. It was an ill-considered, unilateral action.

Councilman Bonin didn't even have the grace to make a surprise announcement on Twitter before he hammered South Bay commuters over the head.

Now Bonin is offering what sure looks and sounds like a sincere apology – even if he is muddying up the issues a bit. Here's the video he posted on YouTube:

Bonin admits he "made a mistake," and says he's trying to fix it.

"The level of gridlock created by Vista Del Mar was unacceptable," Bonin says.

He apologizes for commuters being late to work or missing time with toddlers: "I am sorry, we are doing our best to make it right."

He didn't apologize for threatening Manhattan Beach home values, even though he had done so.

For now, we can try to put that particular concern in the rear-view mirror.

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