RECORDING: SAMOCAN Event with Michael Schneider

On September 21st SAMOCAN hosted Michael Schneider, a native-born Angeleno, who started Streets For All to change LA’s built environment from being car-centric to being multi-modal. Michael walked us through his story and what led him to start Streets For All. Michael focused on the impact Streets For All is having on the transportation revolution in Los Angeles and how to get involved to change the city for good. This presentation was recorded and is available to view in the video embedded above.

Share your comments on how to improve bike connections in these Westside Mobility Projects!

Share your comments on how to improve bike connections in these Westside Mobility Projects!

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) is partnering with Council District 11 to plan a network of four bikeways connecting Westside neighborhoods and adjacent cities. The bike routes will feature traffic calming measures to make them comfortable for riders of all ages and abilities.

Share your thoughts for a chance to win a FREE bicycle! You’re invited to join LADOT at a community event for a chance to participate. For more information on the project and ways to participate, please visit

Open Letter: Protecting Santa Monica bikeways from motor vehicle incursions

To:  Santa Monica City Council, Santa Monica Planning Commission, City Manager David White, Mobility Manager Jason Kligier, Director of Public Works Rick Valte,  

Subject: Protecting our bikeways from motor vehicle incursions

Dear Council Members and City Leaders:

Santa Monica has become an exemplar of far-sighted bikeway design and implementation in our region.  Recent innovations seen on Ocean Ave. and 17th St. have raised the bar for creating protected bike facilities that provide the safety and comfort to allow many more people to bike for their everyday mobility. Additional protected bikeways planned in Santa Monica’s Bicycle Action Plan will bring us ever closer to realizing a citywide bikeway network that will be a game-changer for mobility, traffic reduction and meeting our Vision Zero and climate goals.   

Unfortunately, some motorists are undermining the benefits of recently-installed protected bike lanes (and standard, striped bike lanes) by parking in them and sometimes even driving in them. This behavior is photo-documented almost daily in social media posts.

When motor vehicles block these lanes it forces cyclists to divert into traffic lanes, sabotaging the safety and utility of these facilities, spoiling their potential to provide safe, equitable mobility choices for greater numbers of people. Further, when cyclists need to divert around vehicles blocking bikeways, this induces unsafe cycling behavior that might expose the city to liability as a result of negligence in maintaining proper bikeway access.

Therefore we, the undersigned organizations strongly urge the city to take steps to address this epidemic of bikeway incursions. There appear to be several strategies that could be explored:

– Physical barriers where they are safe and appropriate to prevent or discourage drivers from entering bikeways, such as bollards at entrance points, concrete separators and modular curb elements (like seen on Broadway).

– Additional signage and pavement markings to make it blatantly clear that bikeways are off limits to cars at all times.

– Signs that stipulate substantial fines for violations.

– Enforcement by parking and traffic officers, especially where vehicles park on the sidewalk or driveway aprons. But as a general rule, officer enforcement is sporadic and therefore less effective than physical elements.

– Perhaps photo enforcement, using something like the Automotus camera technology recently deployed in the Zero Emission Delivery Zone program.

– A literature search to explore best practices being used by other municipalities.

Clearly, physical barriers that prevent motor vehicle incursions 24-7 without the need for enforcement personnel is the superior and likely most cost-effective choice. And it makes sense to implement effective solutions to this problem before new bikeways are installed, so that this problem is not perpetuated and to save from having to make costly retrofits.

Please direct staff to find effective solutions to this vexing problem so that we can fully realize the many benefits of our growing bikeway network, especially public safety, and prevent this critical investment from being compromised.

Thank you,

Kent Strumpell, Laurene von Klan, Co-chairs

Climate Action Santa Monica

Santa Monica Safe Streets Alliance

Santa Monica Spoke

Santa Monica Families for Safe Streets

Streets For All

BikeLA (formerly Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition)

Santa Monica Forward

Send Council a message in support of the motion by Councilmembers Zwick and Torosis and Mayor Davis to keep our city’s bike lanes safe with a combination of enhanced parking and traffic enforcement, reducing double parking, and quickly building safer bicycle infrastructure.

UPCOMING: SAMOCAN Event with Michael Schneider

Join us September 21st for our SAMOCAN Event we will be hearing from Michael Schneider, a native-born Angeleno, who started Streets For All to change LA’s built environment from being car-centric to being multi-modal. Michael will walk us through his story, what led him to start Streets For All, the impact that it’s having, and how to get involved and change the city for good.

CASM on Los Angeles Times HSI

CASM on Los Angeles Times HSI

One of CASM’s members from the 2023 Climate Corps, Ryan Kim, published an article titled Opinion: Climate Corps is Empowering Youth to Speak up for Climate Action in Santa Monica focusing on his experience this summer. Ryan Kim talks about his experience in the farmers markets with Climate Corp Leaders Nancy Sanchez, Mario Melgarejo, and Jasmine Contreras and manager Amy Butte. He talks about his advocacy project speaking at the Santa Monica City Council Meeting on June 27 and advocacy sessions conducted in the Climate Corp program. Want to read Ryan Kim’s article? Click the link below: Opinion: Climate Corps is empowering youth to speak up for climate action in Santa Monica | HS Insider (

More about Ryan Kim:

Ryan Kim is a student in his junior year and is currently attending Santa Monica High. He likes to play games, run and hike often during his free time. He is the current news editor for his school’s journalism. He enjoys taking photos and videos of nature and friends and loves to write opinions or news articles. He hopes that in the future, he can go to many different places including Paris and Italy.


On August 23rd SAMOCAN hosted Stephanie Doyle, from Vote Solar, who presented about the new legislation in California (AB 2316) passed in 2022, and the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, which adds an incredible opportunity to expand solar access for Californians this year. Stephanie Doyle discussed how community solar is a renewable energy strategy that can offer equitable participation by non-homeowners in the development and ownership of solar and battery storage systems. It is a concept that still needs to be perfected to be functional in Santa Monica and California but its a great start to the renewable energy movement. This presentation was recorded and is available to view in the video embedded above.


SAMOCAN David Blundell

Visual anthropologist Dr. David Blundell on Thursday July 20, 2023 shared his perspective on local knowledge and environmental sustainability by reviewing the context of where people live. David Blundell expressed how people have had difficulty embracing their lifestyle with the environment in the urban world due to electronics and media in their lives.
 Dr. Blundell acknowledges that while local indigenous peoples have continued to be inspired by nature, local knowledge should be passed down to generations to come, or it will be forgotten. As a native 5th generation Santa Monican Dr. Blundell proposes a continuance of local knowledge and uses his own experience living in South East Asia to expand on environmentally sustainable ways to live. 

While Dr. Blundell uses his own experience living in South East Asia; he also discusses how important his childhood was learning about Santa Monica’s groundwater and swimming in local Santa Monica springs.  

It was through these experiences in Santa Monica that inspired Dr. Blundell’s own awareness of how people can bring local ecological resources and sustainability into our daily lives.

You can watch Dr. Blundell’s presentation in the recording embedded below.

Award-Winning Santa Monica-Based Author Writes Novel on Climate Change 

Award-Winning Santa Monica-Based Author Writes Novel on Climate Change 

In her network news career, and in her home life, Susan Cope experienced up close the extremes of wildfires, extreme storms, and raging surf. Today, as a grandmother, this Santa Monican is bringing her experience to bear to create climate conversation across generations. 

Susan has written an award-winning, young adult novel, What on Earth. It’s the story of siblings who travel to the future and are challenged to understand how Earth, their friends, and their own neighborhood have been affected by a changed climate. With smarts, curiosity, and a touch of magic, they adventure into action. What will they do?

Susan Cope and What on Earth received the Green Stories Writing Novel Prize and The Prism Prize for Climate Literature. Find the award-winning novel in your local bookstore, or online by clicking here. Young and old readers alike are encouraged to find this book and talk about it. It is eye-opening!

After being asked what her favorite climate action is, Susan quotes, “I believe it will take everything all of us can do to avert climate disaster. Marching with students when Greta Thunberg visited, and showing up for SM Climate Action Corps and other climate events in Santa Monica, are public ways I show my climate concerns. Finding new ways to conserve energy is a quieter way. I advised an ecology club for many years, and have shared my thoughts with generations of students. Writing What on Earth? is my most important climate action so far. There is still soooo much to be done!” 

Putting Values Into Actions, Church Goes Solar

Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica is going solar! On the eve of Earth Day church leaders decided to fund the installation of a 7500-watt solar system that will save the church approximately $200/month in electric bills. A three-time winner of Sustainable Quality Awards for its green building retrofits, community education, and related efforts, UUSM members are elated to finally add renewable energy generation to their 1930s campus on Arizona and 18th St. It appears to be the first church in Santa Monica to do so.

UUSM has been engaged in a multiphase upgrade of all its buildings since it purchased the 1915 bungalow next door to the church in 2004. The upgrades, overseen by architect and Green Living Committee Chair Alison Kendall, began with moving the bungalow forward on its lot and retrofitting it with accessible bathrooms for classes and meetings. Moving the bungalow allowed space for a series of courtyards with stormwater detention facilities beneath. The retrofit of the 1960 Social Hall came next, adding a commercial kitchen and sliding doors to the courtyard. A final step has been a series of upgrades to install LED lighting and new technology allowing hybrid online and live services during the Covid pandemic. Each project integrates the latest in energy, water, and resource-conserving equipment and materials, with informational signage designed to explain the green features of the building to users.

While installing solar had been a long-term plan, finding a contractor to provide the relatively small system was difficult. After years of searching, the church was referred to Opulent Power Systems who offered an attractive bid. Moving quickly, Kendall launched a campaign to raise the needed funds for the project, as well as to obtain the Board of Trustees support for the project. The haste was motivated by the potential to secure soon-to-expire reimbursement rates that would be paid by the utility for excess power generated by the church, which will reduce the payback period for the system to an estimated 5.6 years.

Amazingly, six generous Green Living Committee members quickly stepped up, pledging $22,000 to fund the initial cost of installation. The strong donor support made the Board’s approval of the project equally rapid. All members realized that saving $200 in electricity a month will be an excellent investment, an example of wise stewardship of church resources AND of the Earth’s resources as well. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is expected to provide a 30% direct-pay rebate for such projects to non-profits, totaling over $7,000 for UUSM. These direct payments, never before provided to non-profits, will help many organizations install solar PV and energy conservation projects. The church also hopes to use IRA and other rebates to help offset the costs of replacing aging gas heaters in the church and social hall with “heat pump” units that provide clean, green, all-electric heating and cooling.

Years of climate activism by the church have paid off, made possible by congregational education, generous donors, government incentives, and a commitment to putting church values into practice. It was certainly a great way to celebrate Earth Day!