Colorado Esplanade | Santa Monica | Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architecture

The proposed Colorado Avenue Esplanade Project will integrate the Expo Light Rail into the Downtown, streamlining the existing intersection functions and guiding passengers to their business, shopping, cultural and entertainment destinations. The project accomplishes this with a combination of major urban design improvements at the Downtown Expo Station Plaza and along Colorado Avenue between 4th Street and Ocean Avenue. The improvements organize and simplify the flow of pedestrians, vehicles and bicycles, and provide more detailed directional cues such as new signage and green street improvements that clarify pathways, improve wayfinding, enhance landscaping, and provide public art.

The design team has responded to the community requests to create a sense of place and arrival at the key gateway locations, improve the aesthetics of the site, and provide an urban design framework that creates legible, intuitive, and appealing orientation and wayfinding in this highly complex space.

The Colorado Avenue Esplanade Project is seen as an opportunity to create a downtown Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Pier. Creating a wider sidewalk with decorative paving along with seating, public art and lighting to activate the space at night. Trees will be added in accordance with the Urban Forest Master Plan that will celebrate the space, trees have not been selected for the project by the design team, but any existing trees will be relocated when possible. Wayfinding has been created to address many problems that cities face to reduce the proliferation of signs and urban clutter. The wayfinding may include directional signage, colour zoning and historical information.

Dedicated bicycle facilities with a separate bike lane or cycle track which will include raised lane dividers, state of the art bike facility pavement markings and signal timing to connect the new Bike Center and the intended future Pier Bridge bicycle improvements and the regional bike path.

Construction for this project is anticipated to begin in 2012 and be completed in 2013, in advance of the Expo light rail completion.

IMAGE CREDIT: Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architecture

Passages of Text From
City of Santa Monica City Report, February 14
David Martin, Director of Planning and Community Development
Martin Pastucha, Director of Public Works

About Damian Holmes 3339 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at