Dear City Council-

My name is Adam Rakunas, and I live in the Wilmont neighborhood. I ride all over the city with my daughter in our cargo bike, and I am excited about the possibilities that will come with the Michigan Avenue Greenway. Right now, the ride to Virginia Avenue Park is a little hairy; people use Michigan and Delaware as shortcuts to avoid Pico, which means watching out for speeding cars in a residential area. We also have to dodge cars when we’re heading anywhere east of the Civic Center, even though Olympic Drive should be a safe, easy way for us to connect to the bike lane on 11th Street. Right now, I wouldn’t think of having my daughter ride solo on any of these streets.

However, if the MANGo, with its diverters, raised crosswalks, and other traffic-slowing measures, is constructed, I think it will make an incredible and positive difference for my daughter and for every other kid in Santa Monica. By creating a safe cycling route to get to Edison Language Academy and SaMoHi, more parents will feel better letting their kids ride to school, thus putting fewer cars on the road, thus making it even safer. It’s a virtuous cycle, one that’s been repeated around the world as cities make the commitment to creating safer streets. And if the MANGo works, then that means other bikeways around the city will work, and that can only make for a safer, healthier city.

I realize it’s a bold and scary move to make a street that demands slower car traffic, and that there are editorialists and pockets of resistance who think that doing anything to impede auto circulation is a bad idea. We’ve had one hundred years of car culture, and it’s split the city in half, made the skies smoggy, and hurt and killed too many people. The MANGo is the first step toward changing the way we get around the city, and it’s going to set the tone for the next fifty years of how Santa Monica works. What kind of city do you want? One for cars, or one for people? I hope you will choose the latter and cement your legacy as the city council that said yes to the MANGo and everything that will follow.

Adam Rakunas

(Note to everyone else: if you live in SM, please take a moment to email the city council and ask them to approve the MANGo. Feel free to cannibalize this email as you see fit. Thanks!)