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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

VNC Approves SB50, Pacific Ave “Road Diet”

By Angela McGregor

Tuesday night’s Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) meeting was held in memory of renowned Venice photographer Guy Webster, who passed away recently. For more on his work, see: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/obituaries/guy-webster-dead.html.

The meeting opened with the announcement that candidate filings for the next VNC election — to be held on June 2 — are now open, and will be for the next month. The VNC will be holding a candidate mixer at a local restaurant, location and time to be decided, in the near future. Meanwhile, would-be board members can find information on how to get involved at the City Clerk’s office: https://clerk.lacity.org/elections/neighborhood-council-elections.

There were two competing motions on the agenda regarding Senate Bill 50 (seen here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB50), which would allow density, height and parking waivers for residential developments within a half-mile of transit stops with buses arriving within 15 minutes of one another, or in areas defined as “job rich” by the Department of Planning. The motion put forth by LUPC supported SB50 as a way of making housing more affordable and environmentally friendly by creating more of it closer to transit stops.

Another motion, put forth by the Westside Regional Alliance of Councils, opposing the bill on the grounds that “California neighborhoods depend upon high quality, citizen driven, local community planning for justice and equity and balanced development”.

Venice Stakeholders President Mark Ryavec spoke in opposition to the motion, calling it “Wall Street in our back yard” and a massive giveaway to developers. In Board commentary, members opposed to the measure pointed out the degree to which it cedes local control to the state. Supporters pointed out that the Coastal Act would mean that areas of Venice west of Lincoln would be exempt from the measure, to which those opposed pointed out that voting in favor of the motion would constitute throwing areas of Venice east of Lincoln “under the bus”. The motion in favor of SB50 passed, 12-5-3.

The Board then passed a motion to support City Filing 19-0046, which would ban donations from real estate developers to city council members, their chosen charities, or to the mayor of the city.

Much less universally agreed upon was item 12B, which recommended that the City allow parking on both sides of Pacific Avenue between 8am and 8pm, in order to eliminate two lanes of traffic and create a buffer between the street and the sidewalk. The motion was made as a response to LA City Vision Zero plans identifying the intersection of Rose and Pacific as a particularly dangerous one. According to LADOT, a VNC recommendation for a way to make Pacific less dangerous would immediately trigger a traffic study to examine if such a recommendation were feasible. Public commentary in favor of the motion noted the many accidents along Pacific, including one high profile crash resulting in a pedestrian’s death and the installation of a crosswalk.

Several of those opposed live on the walk streets and described the difficulty they encounter in exiting alleyways onto Pacific, where traffic is already at a crawl during rush hour, and would only be exacerbated by this plan. Board

President Ira Koslow was vehemently opposed to what he termed a “Road Diet”, pointing out that, with only one lane for traffic, any car stopping to parallel park or turn left would block all traffic moving in their direction, and that the gridlock resulting would almost certainly end up redirecting traffic onto Speedway. An amendment was proposed to change the language of the motion to recommend additional traffic lights and guardrails to slow traffic, but it failed. The original motion ultimately passed, 10-8-1.

The final motion of the evening called upon the City to agree to oversized vehicle restriction signs for the west side of Main Street, between Rose & Sunset, where they are the owners of a public parking lot. Board commentary in opposition pointed out that Main is a wide, mainly commercial street and so lends itself to RV parking, but the motion prevailed, 12-6-1.

The next meeting of the VNC Board will be Tuesday, March 19th at 7pm.

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