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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

City Single-Server Commercial and Industrial Trash Collection Not Going Well

Mayor Eric Garcetti set out to revolutionize the garbage collection system of the City of Los Angeles for the commercial (apartments included) and industrial users. He wanted a single server for each area rather than have several garbage-collection firms competing for business.

The system was implemented 1 July and much to the dissatisfaction of the consumer, according to the Council Office. Councilman Mike Bonin addressed the concerns with a letter written to Councilwoman Nury Martinez, chair of the Energy, Climate Change, and Environmental Justice Committee.

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Canals Overflow; Tide and Tidal Gates

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Water was high enough in the canals to approach the sidewalks.

Flooding hit the Venice historic canals Thursday evening but did subside without doing any damage.

By Darryl DuFay

Note:  Darryl Dufay who writes Voice of the Canals had the following summary.

The normal water level in the Venice Canals has been restored.

On Thursday starting after 6:00 p.m., there were problems at the two tidal gates, which control the water level in the canals.

The master tidal gate at the Marina del Rey jetty, which controls the water coming into the canals, had a malfunction of their automated system, resulting in their gates being open. The gates at Washington Blvd. were open in anticipation of a 4.2 tide for 8:13 this morning, which depended on the proper functioning of the jetty gate.  Those problems are currently being carefully taken care of.

The high water situation was rectified by normal tidal flows. At 7:00 p.m, a maximum six foot high tide was reached. By 8:30, last night the water was draining back to the Pacific Ocean and the water level fell by over one foot.

Mariposa Horticulture immediately sent out a crew when notified of the high water level.

Swinger Wants Beach Street Drains Fenced With Proper Signage

Rick Swinger, resident of north Venice, wants the storm drains that outlet onto the beach to be fenced and bare signs letting all know that the water is contaminated street runoff.    It is not ocean water.

Around July, the County fills in the holes with sand.  In the meantime, beach goers, particularly children, play in the calm water, not knowing it is contaminated water, not ocean water.

When the rains come, the runoff makes a hole in the beach, and it looks like a pond formed by the ocean. Rick says that he has seen kids swim in the water.

Before the next rains come, Rick wants plans started to have these areas along the Venice beach, such as the the ones shown at Rose and Thornton,  fenced off and proper signage applied to keep people out of the water. The one on Rose is next to a playground.  He complained to the County Health Department and they gave him a sign but it quickly disappeared.

“Also Hepatitis in found at the pool at the end of our beaches storm drains where the homeless are often seen using them as their toilet.Kids are known to play in them and it just takes a small cut to be infected,” according to Rick Swinger. “Kids immune systems are just developing so this is a major threat to their health and wellness.”

Santa Monica does this as shown in the video.

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Street drainage outlet at Rose.

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Street drainage outlet at Thornton.

Doug McIntyre of KABC to Interview Councilman Bonin Tomorrow About “Street Shrinkage”

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Alix Gucovsky and Alexis Edelstein discuss the “Street Shrinkage” and the Recall Bonin movement with broadcaster Doug McIntyre at the Venice Grind last Tuesday.

Doug McIntyre of 790 KABC-AM will be interviewing Councilman Mike Bonan Friday (28 July) sometime between 5 and 10 am about the “street shrinkage” Bonin has initiated and what further street shrinkage is planned for Los Angeles.

Doug McIntyre did his radio broadcast Tuesday at the Venice Grind on Venice Blvd in area of the “Great Streets.” His broadcast was about Venice Blvd “Great Streets” and the Playa del Rey “Safe Streets” and the LA plan for street shrinkage initiated by Mayor Eric Garcetti for all of Los Angeles.

Cancelled — LADOT- Bonin Town Hall at Loyola Marymount University

Venetians,  residents from Playa del Rey , Vista del Mar commuters — The town hall, open house that was to be conducted by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and Councilman Mike Bonin at Loyola Marymount University Saturday has been cancelled.

Below is the LADOT press release.

LADOT supports Councilmember Bonin’s request for changes on Vista del Mar, and will engage in an additional public process around safety improvements in Playa del Rey.

We understand that Councilmember Bonin is working to broker an agreement with Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn to improve access to parking at Dockweiler Beach. This will open up new options for LADOT to add one additional travel lane southbound from Waterview Street to Imperial Highway and one additional travel lane northbound from Imperial Highway to Napoleon Street by removing all parking on Vista Del Mar. This construction is currently anticipated to begin in mid August.

LADOT made some recent modifications to help to improve traffic flow on Culver Blvd from Nicholson to Jefferson. This weekend, the department is also modifying the traffic light at Vista del Mar and Culver Blvd to improve traffic flow through this intersection.

As a result of the above changes to the project, LADOT’s Saturday 7/29 Open House at LMU is postponed until further notice. For additional project information, please visit http://playadelrey.lacity.org/ or e-mail ladot.playadelrey@lacity.org.

Vista del Mar to be Restored to Four Lanes — Two North, Two South

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Vista del Mar will have its lanes restored; work to start within three weeks. Signal phasing at Culver – Vista del Mar will be changed this weekend. A neighborhood task force will evaluate the restoration of the other lanes that were removed and possible other safety measures that can be initiated.

It appears Supervisor Janice Hahn and Manhattan Beach City Councilmembers Amy Hobath and Richard Montgomery were all in discussions with Councilman Mike Bonin.

LADOT will still be having a Town Hall with Councilman Bonin for residents Saturday (29 July) from 1 to 3 pm at Roski Hall, Loyola Marymount University, regarding “Safe Streets” for Playa del Rey.

The following is the press release from Councilman Mike Bonin.

PLAYA DEL REY – Councilmember Mike Bonin today announced major changes to road safety improvements in Playa del Rey, including restoration of lanes to Vista Del Mar, and formation of task force to evaluate road safety projects in the neighborhood.

Thanks to the assistance of Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Bonin said, transportation officials will be able to implement changes to Vista Del Mar that still address the City’s liability issues and maintain coastal access.

Hahn directed the county to make free or affordable parking available at the existing county beach parking lot, allowing the city to remove street parking on Vista Del Mar and restore the roadway to two lanes in either direction. The lane reduction was controversial, sparking outrage from commuters who demanded a different solution.

“I said that I was listening, and that I would eagerly embrace an alternative solution that met the requirements of improving safety and maintaining coastal access,” Bonin said. “Thanks to Janice Hahn, we have that alternative.”

“My constituents were frustrated by the impact this project had on their daily commutes,” said Supervisor Hahn. “I am relieved that we were able to come together and find a solution that restores the lanes and prevents pedestrian accidents.”

Bonin also announced that the Los Angeles Department of Transportation will make changes to the signal phasing and the turn at the intersection Vista Del Mar and Culver Boulevard, allowing for better traffic flow through the intersection, unclogging an area of congestion.

The changes to the signal will happen this weekend. County Public Works and Los Angeles Department of Transportation officials expect that work to restore the lanes should begin within three weeks.

Additionally, Bonin announced formation of a Playa del Rey Road Safety Task Force that will evaluate and make recommendations regarding all of the road safety projects in the area, including those on Culver, Jefferson and Pershing, where lanes have also been reduced. The task force will be composed of neighbors who support the projects, neighbors who oppose the projects, local small business people, and safe streets advocates. It will also welcome the participation of other residents, of commuters, and of agencies or entities that can bring expertise or financial resources to the table — such as the County of Los Angeles and the cities of the South Bay. The task force will be asked to make a report with recommendations on whether to keep, reverse or modify the those projects. They will do so 90 days after the changes are made to Vista Del Mar.

“These projects have been very controversial and divisive for the community, with strong opinions on both sides,” Bonin said. “With the task force, I am confident we will be able to bring all perspectives to the table for a civil conversation and sober analysis, and determine the best path forward.”

The groundwork for both announcements was also laid in part through discussions with Manhattan Beach Councilmembers Amy Howorth and Richard Montgomery, which proved helpful in initiating an ongoing dialogue among South Bay cities and the City of Los Angeles, with the goal of collaborating on a solution.

“We are grateful to Supervisor Hahn for her efforts and applaud Councilmember Bonin for addressing the concerns of the South Bay commuters. It takes a leader to listen to residents and reverse direction when policy doesn’t go as planned,” commented Manhattan Beach Mayor Pro Tem Amy Howorth and Councilmember Richard Montgomery.

In the video (https://youtu.be/YStV2baeYoo) message announcing the changes, Bonin apologized to those impacted by the projects.

“If you are one of the many people who were inconvenienced, who were late to work, or who missed a bedtime story with your toddler, I am truly sorry,’ Bonin said. “We are working to make this right.”

Bonin, a safe streets advocate, also noted that neighborhoods in Los Angeles suffer from an epidemic of auto collisions, and city officials must slow speeds in certain neighborhoods to combat it.

“Speed kills. Public safety has to be the top priority on our roads, and the City cannot shy from that commitment,” he said. Bonin noted that the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County for children under the age of 14 is traffic collisions, and the people most likely to be killed in collisions are children, seniors, pedestrians, and cyclists. He also noted that LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the City Council earlier this year that the city had seen more traffic fatalities than gang-related homicides.

For more information about the Playa del Rey road safety projects, please visit www.11thdistrict.com.

McIntyre Broadcasts from Venice Grind in Mar Vista — Road Shrinkage was Subject

Doug McIntyre of KABC-AM did his morning broadcast in the Venice Grind Tuesday as activists against Playa del Rey and Venice Blvd “road shrinkage” came together to explain their points of view. In video he is talking with John Russo of KeepLAMoving.com.

McIntyre in this video talks of the big picture of “road shrinkage” that is, not only happening on the westside, but envisioned for all of Los Angeles.

A crowd gathered outside the store and there were people with signs waving at the drivers on Venice Blvd as they honked when passing.

82 Percent of Mar Vista “Great Street” Business Owners Oppose Lane Reduction

Members of the “Restore Venice Coalition,” headed by Kenneth Marek, did their own survey of the “Great Street” businesses in Mar Vista.   

Their survey of 55 businesses showed that 82 percent were opposed to the lane reduction while 9 percent were in favor and 9 percent did not care.

Note that one of the purposes of the “Great Streets” program is to increase business income because the program slows down traffic and produces a “small town effect in a big town.”  If the businesses are not happy and go out of business or leave because of lack of business, there is no longer a “Great Street.” 

Kenneth Marek, on behalf of the Restore Venice Coalition,  presented  the motion last night at the Mar Vista Neighborhood Council to restore Venice Blvd to three lanes each way.  The council had only three members who voted for the motion. This meant  that the configuration would remain the same to complete a one- or two-year trial.

By Kenneth Marek

Here is his letter to the MVCC Board members,

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LA Homeless Numbers Increase; Homeless Youth Numbers Increase; What About the Money to Help

Los Angeles Homeless Services Agency released the homeless count for Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City last week. The individual community tally will come in June. The demographic breakdown will be available in July. Several stories have come out of this count release by the LA Times.

The overall breakdown for City and County numbers. See LA Times article.

Increase in youth homelessness. See LA Times article.

The story about the money allocated for the homeless. See LA Times article.

Bonin Writes to Mar Vista Neighbors

Mike
Dear Friends —

Are you wondering what the heck is happening with all the city crews recently on Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista? Our Great Street project is moving forward and finally delivering the “small town downtown” that neighbors have been clamoring for.

We just finished installing the four new signalized pedestrian crosswalks, and as you have likely noticed over the past few days, crews are now restriping the street, creating protected bike lanes and narrowing the roadway to calm speeds through the neighborhood. The goal is a safer street for people using all modes of travel: pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

Change is always difficult, and the impacts of work crews on our streets can be disruptive, so it’s no surprise that some people are concerned or alarmed about what is happening. It is important to note that the new lane configuration is a pilot program, using low-cost and temporary materials. We are going to gather data and public input, analyze whether impacts are positive or not, and adjust accordingly. We can keep what we love, improve what we can, and remove what we dislike.

The work is expected to be completed by the end of the month. During the next two weeks of construction, while some parts of the road are painted and some are not, and while new signage is installed, there is likely to be some confusion and frustration. Once the work is completed and motorists adjust to the new configuration, we will be able to evaluate impacts and make changes.

The Great Streets project has been in the works for three years. Since Mayor Garcetti and I launched the initiative in 2014, we have listened to people in Mar Vista about how they want to use and enjoy Venice Boulevard. We spent a year conducting remarkably extensive outreach, surveying neighbors online, at the Farmers Market, at local shops, churches, schools, and even at their front doors. The feedback was extensive and the message is clear: Mar Vistans want Venice Boulevard to be safer, calmer, and a central gathering spot for the neighborhood.

We listened, and we put our team to work to design a Venice Boulevard that can be the heart of the neighborhood, instead of a high-speed roadway that divides it. By enormous margins, neighbors said they wanted:

  • More mid-block pedestrian crossings, so it is easier to walk from one side of the street to the other;
  • Shorter, safer pedestrian crossings;
  • Opportunities for public gathering spaces such as parklets, sidewalk seating, and plazas;
  • Safer bikeways;
  • Improved amenities, like street furniture and trash bins;
  • Drought tolerant landscaping; and
  • Murals and community art.

Many of these improvements have already been installed and more are on the way.

This has been a community-driven process from the beginning and as we enter the next phase of the project, your continued engagement is crucial. Please contact my Mobility Deputy Jessie Holzer at jessie.holzer@lacity.org or 310-575-8461 if you have questions, input, or if we can be of any assistance.

Thank you for your partnership in the Mar Vista Great Streets Initiative. I am very excited to see Venice Boulevard become the vibrant neighborhood center that it has the potential to be for our community.

Regards,