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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

“Great Streets” Turns into “Great Escape” with Horns Blasting

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Traffic at Centinela was backed up to Wade.

Implementation this week of the Venice Boulevard “Great Streets” program in Mar Vista from Inglewood to Beethoven turned into the “Great Escape.”   Traffic backed up and cars were peeling off as fast as they could from the Venice boulevard seeking an alternative. Horns were on fire and it wasn’t applause.

It is part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Great Streets” Initiative that has been implemented in other neighborhoods.

This “Great Streets” in Mar Vista was a dream of Councilman Mike Bonin and his constituents. It is Bonin’s hometown. It is billed as making changes that would be safer for people and supporting local businesses. It consists of four new pedestrian crossings, protected bike lanes, and improvements at existing signalized intersections. The desired outcome was/is to give Venice Boulevard from Inglewood to Beethoven “the small town downtown” effect.

Note:  Darryl DuFay’s notes on mobiity plan and info about SR187 helped with the story.

Venice is Major Thoroughfare
Venice is a major thoroughfare from downtown Los Angeles to the Venice Beach. It is the commuters boulevard of choice. It is classified in the City of LA Mobility plan 2035 as a Boulevard II. Boulevard II means the roadway width has to be 80 feet and consists of 4 to 6 lanes with a targeted operating speed of 35 miles per hour.

It is also State Route 187, which runs 5.4 miles from Lincoln to Cadillac Ave at the ramp to westbound I-10. The state agreed to relinquish control and management of the Great Streets portion of Venice Boulevard to the City of Los Angeles last year, according to David Graham-Caso, communications director for Councilman Mike Bonin.

Two Types of Protected Bike Lanes
Mar Vista has produced two types of protected bike lanes which are better illustrated with a photo than words but … One is with the cars parked in the vacated lane and bikes riding between parked cars and the curb, The other is bikes ride between cars parked at the curb and large white lines indicating a barrier. There are a lot of bollards involved also.

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Bikers ride next to curb protected by parked cars in vacated lane.
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Bikers ride between white painted barrier and cars parked at curb.

This writer’s email caught fire with the Venice Boulevard happenings. It was checked out at 4 pm on Venice Boulevard, westbound. Traffic was backed up from Centinela to Wade. Saw one skateboarder.  People were trying to find alternatives because they found that horns were not moving traffic forward.

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Some used the bike lane.

Tuesday morning at 7:30 traffic was moving but not fast. While standing in a bike lane to take a photo, one biker passed and yelled “Isn’t it awesome” and then later “stay out of the lane you’ll get hit.” My camera followed him down the road to where he entered the sidewalk. He was entering a store.   Another bike passed.

Drivers Will Figure it Out
But drivers will soon figure it all out and make the necessary adjustments as they always do. Other areas may suffer dramatically.  One person on Nextdoor mentioned that the side streets should have been designated for bikes and that would have solved all the problems. But how about the commercial establishments and shopping? Sue Beckman checked with the fire department and they said they had to use Washington. They said no one had checked with them. One reader suggested a letter campaign and boycott of Mar Vista stores. All of these comments are listed anonymously because they have not been approved for publication or they do not want their names published. Darryl DuFay mentioned that parallel parking on a two-lane, major thorough fare will, not only be nerve racking for parker, but reduce the lanes temporarily to one.

Fire Department Reroutes
The statement that Sue Beckman got from the firemen at the Mar Vista fire department is alarming. Mar Vista fire department is east of the Great Streets. Am sure “Great Streets” was approved by the Fire Department personnel downtown but the admission by the men who do the job, stating that they are rerouting to Palms and Washington even if it is not as direct a route, is telling.  They stated to Sue that they were never consulted.  We have few fires but we do need paramedics.  If you have ever waited for a paramedic for a loved one, each minute is a lifetime.

People are Chatting About This Change
One wrote on Nextdoor “I know some posts have been started about the stupid idea put into place by our crooked elected officials. Let’s start fighting this. Let’s share alternate routes to take through residential neighborhoods in mar vista. Let’s boycott the businesses there. Perhaps that will get the city listening. And write letters and phone the various offices. Hope that some other members will write and post. Let’s start the pressure. Oh and worth noting the city will invest 27.2 million this year as opposed to the 3 million it spent last year.”

One answered and said “Great idea! Make some residential streets “bike only” instead. That would be a win for bikers and Waze protection for residents!” Great idea for neighborhoods too.

One emailed several insights and then decided one should list Bonin’s street as a cut through.

“Chairman of City Council’s Transportation committee (Mike Bonin) effects planned gridlock on Venice Blvd. between the 405 and Venice Beach by removing a traffic lane in Mar Vista.

“Hope no one needs an emergency vehicle this summer. Certainly Mar Vista could have been beautified without removing a traffic lane.

“Tunnel Vision. Someone on Next Door suggested boycotting Mar Vista merchants. I think the traffic situation there is going to produce the same effect.

“By the way, stopped by the Mar Vista fire station today. The firemen said they were not consulted about the plan at all.

“They added they could not get through on Venice Blvd yesterday when they had a call. They will have to use Palms and Washington in the future even if it is a less direct route.

“But it is mind boggling that Bonin and Garcetti chose this location for Great Streets. Could not be more inappropriate because it is a major east-west surface traffic artery. That they think that purposely slowing down traffic to make a cozy pedestrian friendly shopping area in this location could possibly serve the greater good is beyond belief and sadly proves why Trumpettes don’t trust government.

“Additionally, though not specifically in the coastal zone, it impedes coastal access to the rest of the City of L.A.

“Would love if someone with wider than Venice, media connections would do an expose of Gridlock Bonin and Go Along Garcetti. Luckily we have Venice Update, but would be shocked if we ever saw anything critical in the L.A. Times.”

Another summarized some of the comments “We are in a period of stupidity. Have you seen what they have done to Venice Blvd. Reduced lanes, reduced traffic flow, and confusing street markings. A safety problem waiting to explode. All to give cyclists a place to ride and text.”

Comments (8)

  1. Renee Khoury

    Saw a motorcycle almost hit today as someone tried to peel off of Venice Blvd. onto a side street.

    Our residential street has turned into a freeway with a non-stop parade of cars driving at freeway speeds.

  2. Anonymous

    Part of the “necessary adjustments” will be that people will develop routes that traverse residential streets and soon the people living there will be asking for speed bumps to slow down the traffic that is speeding around the congestion. Happened in Santa Monica when they “calmed down” Ocean Park. Absolute insanity, but hey, we are talking about a City government that sees nothing wrong with allowing 1000 unknown transients to camp on the streets in front of people’s homes. Go figure.

  3. Girb

    Screw you Bonin you over officious jerk. It says on your webpage that you went to Harvard. You must have been a doorstop at Harvard because you’re obviously too stupid to even graduate from elementary school. Only a bonehead would think that in the city with the worst traffic in the entire world a rational solution is to cut traffic lanes in half. That’s OK Bonehead, you’re getting recalled jerkoff. I hope that when you’re on the unemployment line looking for your next job you can reflect on the pain and suffering that you caused your fellow citizens in Los Angeles as you cost them hours and hours stuck in gridlock that only a complete and total moron would think is a wise decision. Bye bye Bonehead!

  4. PeppaD

    5:30 p.m. On a Thursday afternoon. In the 12 minutes I was stuck between Inglewood and Centinela, I saw zero bicyclists using the new bike lane.

    This a lane for weekend recreational bicyclists, it will do nothing to ease congestion, and I am certainly not planning on fighting that traffic to go to Little Fatty on Grandview, or to Mitsuwa for groceries. I’ll stay in Culver City and spend my money here, or in Playa Vista, or even drive to Santa Monica to hit the beach.

    Stupidest idea since the “traffic calming” fiasco on Motor Ave through Palms.

  5. What Haveyou

    “But drivers will soon figure it all out and make the necessary adjustments as they always do”

    That is an asinine comment. There is nothing to “figure out,” nor any “adjustments” to make that can eliminate the grossly detrimental effects of this idiotic reconfiguration.

    Mike Bonin is a grandstanding ass who works to degrade his community and pander to a minority of loudmouthed NIMBYs, and this is just the latest example. You should have seen this tool sucking up to a group of rich, entitled white homeowners in Santa Monica who want to shut down OUR airport to boost their property values.

    Thanks to Bonin, the quality of life in Mar Vista continues to fall.

  6. Anonymous

    It’s hard to imagine that the late Bill Rosendahl would ever have put through a boneheaded idea like this. I called Bonin’s office and, avoiding ownership of this, they said it was “a community decision.” Really? The community was asked how to bottleneck traffic on Venice Blvd to the detriment of commuters and public safety vehicles? bike lanes along the curb are dangerous for people getting out of their cars, for bikers who now have the threat of a door opening on them, and pedestrians who stop to the curb. Not to mention the removal of an entire lane. Bonin’s office said it’s “just a pilot” program, so thousands of us have to be inconvenienced while he makes up his mind, I guess. How ridiculous. On a positive note, I love the crosswalks. Mike Bonin can be reached at (310) 568-8772.

  7. Anonymous

    Another stupid idea from your enlightened Councilman. Apparently,bikes and bums are the causes of the day. Sleep tight Venice, because your unhoused neighbors will be able to bike around more safety in the future. Wasting time and money on this without addressing the homeless issues at hand is like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic…

    • Pat Helem

      All of these letters referring to the bonehead express the feelings of the majority of people who actually live in a dwelling in Mar Vista and not in a tent.

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