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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

MVCC Board Votes “NO” to Restore Venice Blvd to Three Lanes Each Way

crowd

cameras
The major television stations were there to cover this.

A standing-room-only crowd gathered at the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) meet to hear Restore Venice Coalition motion that would restore Venice Blvd to three lanes each way as opposed to the two-lane configuration that has occurred as a result of the “Great Streets” project.

Bikers, owners of bike shops, bikers representing bike organizations, Playa del Rey residents, Venice residents, and residents and business owners of Mar Vista were present to provide pros and cons for the motion presented. People were given one minute and then 30 seconds because there were so many people.

The result was that only three of eleven  MVCC board  members voted to restore Venice Blvd to its original three-lane configuration.  The three voting for were Hollie Tilson (represents area closest to Venice), Michelle Krupkin (co-chair of both Great Streets ad hoc committee and Transportation and Infrastructure committee) and Ken Alpern (co-chair of Transportation and Infrastructure committee).`

The others wanted to wait for one year until they had more data.  It sounded like a one-year trial but was mentioned at the meet that it was going to be a two-year trial. It was previously reported to be reviewed in three months.

Another motion was made and approved to have all data turned over to MVCC for analysis.

“Data” was not defined.  Is it accident, incident data?  Is it “feel good,” “calming” data for those who live and work in area. No previous accident, incident data was provided before or after the ‘Great Streets” initiation. Restore Venice Coalition has requested traffic data from Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

Nat Gale, principal project coordinator for Los Angeles Department of Transportation, will present LADOT data on the first month of Venice Blvd “diet,” as some call it. The meet will be held at Saturday, 22 July from 1-3 pm at Windward School, 11350 Palms Blvd.

“Great Streets” is billed as a place where people want to come to shop and businesses consequently make more money. The  even “larger  picture” to this story is that 82 percent of the business owners do not like this. Their sales are down. One owner said she doubted if she would survive the year. People, businesses are not cozying up to the idea of this small town effect. It is hurting them.  See article. 

Mike Bonin spoke first to explain the process; a representative from Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) spoke next. The LADOT spokesperson explained in theory why this would be a calming and safety effect based one of Newton laws of physics.

Venice Blvd was State Route 187
Venice Blvd, formerly State Route 187, is the major thoroughfare between Lincoln Boulevard in Venice, which is Route 1, and Interstate 10 in the South Robertson district.    It has affected, according to one speaker, 19,000 daily commuters from all over the area. Chris Cerbo produced documents showing the number of commuters to be 32,000.  Several speakers were from the Playa del Rey area and were caught with, not only the road diet there, but Venice Blvd.

The  State “relinquished” Venice Blvd to the City for the “Great Streets” program as requested by Councilman Mike Bonin. The “Great Streets” is in line with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s streetscape design for pockets of Los Angeles. LADOT Director Seleta Reynolds was hired to implement “Great Streets.” Councilman Mike Bonin lives in Mar Vista.

Downturn in Business
But the “Great Streets” project that was to give Venice Blvd in Mar Vista the “small town effect in the big city” has resulted in not just traffic calamity but downturn in business activity.

Several business people spoke and said their business income was down. One owner who spoke owns the Mar Vista, Venice Grind, and MV Grab and Go and he said his business income was down. Ace Hardware said his business was down 4 percent from last year.  One lady said she did not think she would survive the year.

Car traffic has diverted thru neighborhoods
The car traffic, which will continue, has diverted to side streets to the chagrin of those residents who live on the side streets. “Divert bikers to the side streets, not cars,” one commenter said.   People still have to go from A to B; the questions is what is the fastest way. Emergency vehicle response time has increased according to one commenter and he had seen emergency vehicles using the bike lane.

One commenter said “if you really want to slow down traffic, change the speed limit.”

Sounds like it is all for the bikers, pedestrians
It appears the “Small Town” effect has succumbed to mean protect bikers, safety for pedestrians.  Although, one commenter mentioned that a wheel chair has to go off the curb at the corner and navigate the bike lane to the pedestrian traffic cross walk.

One speaker did say there had been bike incidents and a skateboarder accident since the new configuration.  But no one presented accident figures for previous years or since implementation of the “Great Streets.”

Member of  Restore Venice Coalition

Sees this as the future.

Comments (5)

  1. Billy Zanatakos

    Another win for the guy on the bike.

  2. kevin

    a correction – venice blvd. is no longer CA state highway 187. the city successfully petitioned caltrans to withdraw it from the state highway system last fall. the entire stretch is now simply a city street – the state no longer has an interest or say. info here: http://mynewsla.com/government/2016/10/30/california-relinquishes-state-route-187-to-los-angeles-city-gets-14-5m-in-the-deal/

    • reta

      Kevin, Thank you so much. Will do a story later today on this. I was told by council office that Beethoven to Inglewood had been relinquished by the State but didn’t know about the whole 5 plus miles. Thank you.

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