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Pop-up MANGo

This is a good example of:

Inexpensive prototyping to test street improvements and traffic calming techniques


For years, the Pico Neighborhood in Santa Monica wanted to transform Michigan Avenue from a car-centered corridor to a safe, calm, and attractive street. In 2013, the city initiated a planning process for the Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway (MANGo)  to look at options.  Santa Monica describes a Greenway as “Neighborhood Greenways are inviting and safe streets that provide ample amenities for all users.” These livable corridors favor low speeds and local automobile trips over cut-through traffic, helping to create a comfortable experience for neighbors, pedestrians, and bicyclists of all ages and skill levels, particularly youth and seniors.

On September 21, 2013, a community planning workshop was held not in a meeting room, but on Michigan Avenue.  Instead of Powerpoint, a festival and planning stations were dotted along a three block stretch of roadway. The event/festival, sponsored by the City of Santa Monica, Caltrans, Melendrez, and the Community Arts Resources featured:

  • Food trucks, music, art
  • Temporary installations (using common materials found at landscape supply & home improvement stores) for curb extensions, enhanced landscaping, mini-parks, places for impromptu neighborhood interactions, way-finding signage and traffic calming measures (chicanes and roundabouts).
  • Vendors donated items for the installations.  Furniture was donated from Landscape Form & Maglin, and Valley Quest & Monrovia donated trees and plants.
  • A bike-ride tour of the various installations to “test drive” the street layouts.
  • A passport evaluation system to (1) guide participants through the installments and (2) obtain feedback


Mock traffic circle Image: City of Santa Monica

Mock traffic circle Image: City of Santa Monica


The installations were mainly constructed using:

  • Straw wattles (long baffles of straw used on construction and landscaping sites).
  • Potted plants to signal future landscaping
  • Chalk and art supplies

Details: More than 400 people attended Pop-up MANGo.  The following page (from the report recommendations – link below) summarizes statistics from the event:

Popup mango feedback

Feedback from Popup MANGo


Santa Monica incorporated the ideas collected at Pop-up MANGo into recommendations for the Greenway design.  Neighborhood consensus merged on the following goals (1) Slow Traffic Down , (2) Encourage Neighborhood Walking, Biking, & Mobility, (3) Make Creative & Safe Community Space for All Ages, and (4) Enhance with Greening & Sustainable Features.

The draft report is here.  On February 11, 2014, the Santa Monica City Council adopted the report, though did not approve action on diverters, unless the adopted  interventions proved unsuccessful.

Images Instagram user dave_927 & the City of Santa Monica

Key Quote:

“I’m really loving this whole idea! It’s great and provides a lot of safety!” – participant at Popup

URL link to Main Resource:

Project Location :

Santa Monica, CA, US

Development Context:



Under Construction


City of Santa Monica, Caltrans, Melendrez, Community Arts Resources, IBI Group

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