SantaMonicaWalks! is a volunteer-supported organization dedicated to promoting walking and pedestrian infrastructure improvements in the City of Santa Monica. We are committed to improving Santa Monica’s streets, which make up the largest collective public space in the City. We want to make Santa Monica safe and fun for every pedestrian of any ability, and to advocate for robust, safe, and fun walking environments for residents of every age, ethnicity, income and ability in the City.
Santa Monica enjoys year-round walking weather and even terrain, as well as gorgeous views of both mountain and ocean. It is a vibrant city, dedicated to increasing its citizens’ options for active transportation. All Santa Monicans in every neighborhood of the City should feel safe and comfortable walking for pleasure, exercise, or as transportation. SantaMonicaWalks! supports policymakers and City staff in their efforts to make Santa Monica a more pedestrian-friendly city through improving the quality of its street-based public space.
SantaMonicaWalks! Advisory Committee
|Grace Phillips, Founder
Grace Phillips founded Santa Monica Walks! in response to the City’s Pedestrian Action Plan. She is a landscape designer and urban planner who believes that the quality of the City’s streets and public space destinations are the most important factors influencing residents’ walking behavior, and wants to help the City foster innovative design solutions to make Santa Monica a more livable, walkable city. She is a longtime community advocate, and currently serves as the Chair of Santa Monica’s Urban Tree Task Force. She is also a member of the City’s Measure V Citizens’ Oversight Committee focusing on stormwater, and is a vice president for health and safety on the Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council.
Jean Armbruster, MA, is the Director of the PLACE Program (Policies from Livable, Active Communities and Environments) at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Launched in 2006, the program’s mission is to foster policy change that supports the development of safe, healthy, active environments for Los Angeles County residents. PLACE makes grants and provides technical assistance to cities and communities, particularly those experiencing high obesity rates, to promote the development of policies such as bicycle and pedestrian master plans, complete streets, and safe routes to schools plans. Ms. Armbruster is passionate about creating equal access to health-promoting communities and loves the co-benefits inherent in built environment work, including the potential to mitigate climate change. She loves hiking with her dog in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Chicago native living in Santa Monica 22+ years; vegan, loves and rescues Jindo dogs, former bike commuter now work-from-home pedestrian. CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) member, Santa Monica Animal Shelter volunteer, Provisioning/Support/Sales Manager for DSL West, Independent Associate for LegalShield, writer, amateur photographer; when not seen walking my dog in Santa Monica, I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Waze, FindFriends, Nextdoor or on SantaMonicaDeeVa.blogspot.com.
Dominique Kaschak is a graduate of UCLA’s Urban Planning program. Interested in the relationship between environment and health and well-being, she is a proponent of the innumerable benefits of walking.
Susan is a retired Santa Monica City Manager. She is the former Director of Development, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Foundation. She was a Vice Chair of the Santa Monica Urban Forest Task Force. She is a Vice President of the Santa Monica Conservancy, and currently serving on the Santa Monica Pier Corporation.
Affiliated Community Organizations
|YWCA: Julia Miele
Julia Miele is the Executive Director of the YWCA Santa Monica / Westside, whose mission is to empower women and girls at every life stage by creating opportunities for growth, progress and success. Julia came to the YWCA from AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), where she served as Director of Fundraising supporting AHF’s worldwide HIV/AIDS treatment and care programs. Her experience prior to AHF includes Director of Community Services with the American Cancer Society in Los Angeles and work Population Services International in India and Washington, DC. Julia lives in Santa Monica with her daughter, Isabella, who loves to walk to school!
|YMCA: Tara Pomposini|
|Venice Family Clinic: Nancy Rodriguez
Nancy Rodriguez joined the Venice Family Clinic five years ago and she currently runs the Health Education Department at the clinic, as well as, manages the clinic’s Integrative Medicine and Specialty Care Program. As the Director of Health Education, Nancy develops, manages and evaluates health education and a wellness program offered at the clinic and strives to provide high quality programs to the patients and community at large. In addition, Nancy teaches exercise classes at the clinic to engage patients and community members in healthier and active lifestyles.
|SM Spoke: Cynthia Rose|
|WISE and Healthy Aging: Barry Seid
A New York native and former Chief Information Officer for Litton Industries, Barry has been active in the senior community in Santa Monica, serving on the Commission for the Senior Community as well as on the Advisory Board for WISE and Healthy Aging. He has also volunteered for Heal the Bay, Meals on Wheels, the SMMUSD Bond Oversight Committee and the AARP as a tax advisor.
- To participate in the City’s Pedestrian Action Plan, as a way to garner public interest and increase participation. We plan to use the Plan’s Community Workshops to increase our own profile and increase membership.
- To be a voice advocating for site-sensitive architecture and public space design, so that our streets become valuable pedestrian destinations in and of themselves.
- To influence the new LUCE zoning code to incorporate progressive standards for Santa Monica street design and maintenance, especially those that affect pedestrian safety and comfort.
- To outline challenges facing our streets, the largest single category of public space in Santa Monica, as the City densifies and develops. To encourage the City to create a single “street guardian agency” so that competing interests in the street are resolved with the greatest public benefit.
- To have to City adopt the most progressive parking lot requirements in California. Parking lots are the confluence of public health and environmental hazards, and need to be redesigned from scratch to enhance pedestrian safety, reduce stormwater runoff, reduce the urban heat island effect, and encourage multi-modal travel.
- To encourage the adoption of Safe Speeds Around Schools, establishing 15 mph as the speed limit around all schools in the City.
- To support Santa Monica Police in the enforcement of all pedestrian-related traffic controls. In particular, crosswalk and jay-walking enforcement are both critical aspects of pedestrian safety in the City.
- To encourage City Council to consider adopting the slogan “Twenty is Plenty” for all secondary streets in the City, reducing the current speed limit to improve pedestrian survival rates.