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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Mar Vista’s “Great Streets” Needs an Economic Boost

(1 August 2019)”The ‘Great Streets’ project in Mar Vista on Venice Blvd has been so harmful to small businesses that Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, along with Councilman Mike Bonin, is now initiating a marketing outreach campaign in order to ‘bring economic vitality into the area,’ stated one recipient of the outreach letter.

Members of BAVN (Business Assistance Virtual Network) received a letter from Robert Park of the mayor’s office last week stating that the Mayor’s office is initiating a program to help attract small businesses to vacant properties in Mar Vista.

“We will be working with property owners, commercial real estate brokers, and prospective businesses to bring economic vitality into the area and create an inviting, safe, and vibrant ‘small town downtown’ to Mar Vista.”

These are the types of businesses they are looking for:

  • Restaurants / casual dining
  • Cafes / dessert parlors
  • Book stores
  • Pub / bars
  • Retail / Apparel
  • Health & Fitness (gyms, CrossFit, yoga studios, etc)
  • Beauty salons
  • Pet services and goods
  • Book stores
  • Flower shops

This is the profile they give for Mar Vista:

Just inland from the ocean, the Mar Vista community is a desirable residential area and popular leisure destination. It is a hub for LA’s walking and biking culture, attracting environmentally-conscious target customers, highly correlated with health and fitness. It’s close proximity to Venice Beach and the Abbott Kinney commercial district contributes a second market segment of creative target customers, highly correlated with engagement in music, arts and culture.

Contact Robert Park at Robert.Park@lacity.org to get connected with owners and brokers in the area.

LADOT Open House for Great Streets

Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) will hold open house for the Venice Blvd “Great Streets” project, 14 March, 6 to 8 pm at the Mar Vista Recreation Center, 11430 Woodbine St.

MVCC to Meet 8 Jan, Discuss “Great Streets”

Mar Vista Community Council will meet 7 pm, 8 Jan at 11430 Woodbine.

Main topic will be request for LADOT/LAPD/LAFD presentation of current and comprehensive data on the “Great Street.”

The “Great Streets” ad-hoc committee will meet 10 Jan, 6:0 pm at 12006 Venice Blvd, corner of Venice and Inglewood Blvd.  Some board members have suggested that committee be disbanded,

Councilman Gives “Great Street” Three-Month Figures


Note:  Councilman Mike Bonin made this report on “Great Streets” project in his “Neighborhood’s First Newsletter.

The 90-day results are in for Mar Vista’s Great Streets program, and Venice Boulevard is safer, with fewer speeding cars, and minimal disruption to travel times for commuters.

According to updated LAPD data, as well as new LADOT speed data just released this week, average monthly collisions on Venice Boulevard are down 22%, injuries from such collisions are down 10%, speeding is down 15%, and the average commute time has increased less than one minute. The three-month data builds off of the early success shown in the one-month data, and is strong indication that the pilot program is working as intended.

The data is incredibly encouraging, but we’re not done making improvements to this project. LADOT and I continue to seek out input from Mar Vista neighbors and collect suggestions on how we can make this project safer and even less impactful to traffic. Over the last two months, we’ve called, texted, or knocked on the doors of more than 9,000 Mar Vista residents, and we’ve already started to implement some of your suggestions:

•We heard that you wanted safer, more visible right turns, and we are moving forward with putting those improvements in place. The new right turns are scheduled to be installed by the end of the month.

•We heard that you wanted clearer, less confusing, striping for the bike lines, and LADOT recently successfully tested newly developed, state-of-the-art paint that can be applied with minimal disruption to Venice Boulevard. The City has begun the process of procuring the paint, and we will schedule installation once the purchase contract is completed.

•We heard that you were concerned about first responders getting to emergencies on time. Working with LAFD, we’ve begun installing transponders in fire trucks to allow for quick access through signals on Venice Boulevard.

Mar Vista deserves a neighborhood downtown that is safe, vibrant, and family friendly. Over the last year alone, in the wake of the improvements we’re making, we’ve seen neighborhood-serving businesses spring up on the Venice Boulevard corridor, including Alana’s Coffee Roasters, The Mar Vista, The MV Grab & Go, and the kid-favorite Small Batch Ice Cream. At the same time, the Mar Vista Art Walk continues to grow into a lively, fun and popular gathering. These amazing new offerings, coupled with new bike.

…and pedestrian amenities along the corridor, safe crosswalks, and less speeding on Venice Boulevard, are transforming the neighborhood in the way that so many of you envisioned throughout two years of surveys, community workshops and events.

We still have some work to do, but this is a good start.

If you have any suggestions on how we can make this project even better, please let me know by emailing me at councilmember.bonin@lacity.org. I continue to take every single comment to heart, and explore every idea for making Venice Boulevard the best of Los Angeles’ Great Streets.

“Great Streets” Story Removed

There was a story here about the “Great Streets.”  It has been removed.  One person in the Restore Venice Blvd Coalition has accused the Update  of copyright violation to youtube.

The film in question was given to Update by a Coalition member.  Film had to be put on youtube for reformatting.  The story with the video in question appeared on the web 14 August and in the email Update 21 August.   The coalition youtube video was made 19 August.

Until this is settled to satisfaction of the Venice Update, all stories involving the Coalition itself will not be available on the web and there will be no new coverage of the coalition.

The Venice Update is an endeavor of love to inform the community without bias.  It makes no money.  In fact, it costs.   It has no ego.  It just does the best it can do.


Recall Bonin Gets Launched at “Great Streets”

Alexis Edelstein, Demetrius, and Alix  Gucovsky

Alexis Edelstein, Demetrius, and Alix Gucovsky

Alexis Edelstein and Alix Gucovsky kicked off their “Recall Bonin” campaign at The Venice Grind Thursday to a relatively small, but enthusiastic crowd.

Edelstein announced that they had collected $40,000 of the $200,000 they felt was necessary to get 27,000 acceptable signatures to effect the recall.

The goal is to get 50,000 signatures. “Signatures can be disqualified for many reasons,” Edelstein said, so they want more than enough. Their website for donations is www.recallbonin.com.

Edelstein said signatures would be taken in a 120-day window starting November. Right now they are trying to raise money.

The procedure, after getting the signatures, is to submit them to the City Clerk for authenticity and then the Clerk will submit them to the City Council. The City Council will then call for a special election. Election could be held any Tuesday between July and September.

Both claimed the “road diet fiasco” is what motivated them to launch this campaign and addressed the present road diets — Venice Blvd and the Playa del Rey.

“We’ve tried reaching out to Bonin multiple times but since he just got reelected and is termed out (can’t run again)and he has a 5-1/2 year term, he doesn’t seem to care what we think,” Edelstein said.

“He tried to divide the community. At some time, we are all drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists but Bonin never consulted any of us about this… there was never any engagement,” Gucovsky said.

Edelstein mentioned briefly the road reconfigurations planned for such thoroughfares as Lincoln, Sepulveda, Santa Monica, Pico for the coming year and was asked about Measure M.

What was to be a cozy place to shop on “Great Streets” has turned into a business downfall for the businesses. Demetrius owns four businesses on Venice Blvd in the diet and he is unhappy.

Former CD11 Council candidates Mark Ryavec and Robin Rudisill have both endorsed Recall Bonin. Edelstein said Robin Rudisil was stuck in traffic or she would have addressed the audience and everyone laughed at the irony of the statement.

MVCC Will Not Undo “Great Streets”


Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) Transportation  and Infrastructure committee proposed three motions regarding the “Great Streets” project that has sharply divided the neighborhood and made enemies of those who use or previously used Venice Blvd from Beethoven to Inglewood.

The motion that requested data was approved.  Two motions that would have restored the lanes to Venice Blvd were sent back to transportation and infrastructure committee. The motion that wanted a safety study of the bike lanes also went to the bike committee.

It was stated that the  board had voted 11 July to maintain the “Great Streets”  pilot project for six months.


Hanna Has Motion He Feels Will Work for All with the “Great Streets” Project

By Elliot Hanna, Community Director of Mar Vista Community Council 

We all know that the Venice Blvd “Great Streets” implementation has polarized our community like nothing we’ve seen in quite some time. Some groups want things restored to the way they were. Other groups like the new implementation the way it is and don’t want any changes at all. In my opinion, neither position is tenable.

Let me state clearly that I support the goals of reducing pedestrian and bicyclist deaths and serious injuries. I believe that everyone will agree with that. To think otherwise violates basic human decency. The disagreement is not about the goal but the implementation.

Many people will say that at the July 11th MVCC meeting, people who attended were split roughly fifty-fifty between supporting and opposing the implementation. They’ll also tell you that the e-mail received was split roughly the same way. I don’t dispute that but respectfully suggest that it isn’t a statistically valid random sampling. Based on my talking to people on all sides of the issue including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, business owners, supporters, and opponents, I believe the split to be more on the order of two to one opposed though the only way to be certain is to commission a scientific survey on the issue using statistically valid methods, which I support. That said, there are ways for us to come together to make this a win-win situation for everyone. First, let’s list the features of the implementation that don’t seem to be particularly controversial:

1.   Four new crosswalks

2.   Community art installations

3.   New trees

4.   Thirteen new trash and recycling receptacles

5.   Weekly overnight street sweeping

6.   A New bus shelter with wi-fi

7.   Streetlight banners

8.   Sidewalk upgrades

9.   Fourteen new bike racks

10.  A Solar-powered soofa bench

No one that I’m aware of – certainly not I – is suggesting we undo any of that. The major controversy is the elimination of the third lane of traffic in each direction and the unintended consequences it’s caused.

LADOT’s statistics regarding speed vs. potential for death or serious injury are correct. It’s a fairly simple law of physics. Furthermore, I agree that Venice Blvd. is not a freeway and people should not be driving on it as though it is. However, speed and throughput are two separate things and both must be considered. Unfortunately, the statistics I’ve seen only address the former.

One day, there may be sufficient options for travel along or near Venice Blvd that make it unnecessary to have three lanes of traffic in each direction. Perhaps, those options will include a rail line or something similar. I look forward to that but that day is not today. For most people, automobile travel is still their only option.

It’s also important to understand that a “Great Street” requires thriving businesses. As I alluded to earlier, I spoke with employees or owners of various small businesses and most reported a noticeable downturn in business since Venice Blvd was reconfigured. That’s simply not sustainable.

That’s why the motion I’m offering at the September 12th MVCC meeting is written as it is. I encourage you to read it. It’s Item 13.n on the September 12th agenda which can be found at http://www.marvista.org/docs/34485419-9138.pdf. I believe that we can restore the third lanes, restore the reasonable flow of traffic, control speeds, protect pedestrians, and protect bicyclists. It simply requires the community to come together with officials from LADOT to devise a better implementation. My motion is not designed to create winners and losers. It’s designed for everyone to win something.

So, I hope we can all come together to make Mar Vista better for all of us. I respectfully ask that you consider supporting my motion.


MV Transportation Committee Votes Motion to Restore Venice Blvd Lanes; Three Motions for Tues MVCC Meet


By Kenneth Marek

An overflow crowd of approximately 60 people attended Mar Vista Community Council’s Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Meeting in a conference room at Windward School on Wednesday evening. Three separate policy motions, each asking Councilmember Mike Bonin to restore lanes on Venice Boulevard, were circulated at the Committee meeting and will be considered by the MVCC Board of Directors on Tuesday, September 12.

The “Regional Safe Bike Routes” motion asks Councilmember Bonin to restore the lanes and to “expeditiously study, design and pave a regional network of safe bicycle paths and routes.” This motion documents that since implementation of the lane reduction, “at least 17 accidents have been reported …including 9 involving cyclist. Total accidents increased by 325%, from 4 reported during the same period in 2016.”  During the public comment portion of the meeting, one bike advocate said that she intended to speak in favor of keeping the lane reductions, but was supportive of this alternative upon reading the long list of proposed safe bike routes.

The Bike Routes motion was the final agenda item considered by the Committee, and further discussion and editing couldn’t be completed by the firm 9 pm meeting end time, so stakeholders voted (20 in favor, 6 oppose) to table the motion with an understanding that Committee Co-Chair Ken Alpern would present an edited version at the September 12 Board of Directors meeting.

Earlier in the evening, stakeholders passed the “Reversal of Lane Reductions” motion (28 in favor, 17 oppose, 4 abstain), which concisely asks Councilmember Bonin to “immediately reverse the lane reductions on Venice Blvd. and to implement other strategies to improve the safety, efficiency, and accessibility of our roads for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles.” This motion is also on the September 12 Board agenda.

Copies of a third motion were distributed at the Committee meeting by MVCC Board Member Elliot Hanna, who submitted his motion directly to the September 12 Board agenda, asking: 1) “to immediately reverse the lane reduction”, 2) “study alternate implementations”, and 3) urge Councilmember Bonin “to appoint a community panel”.

The MVCC Board will meet on Tuesday, September 12 at 7 pm in the Mar Vista Recreation Center Auditorium at 11430 Woodbine Street, Los Angeles, CA 90066. The meeting agenda could be found at: www.marvista.org.

Those who live or work in the area are welcome to speak at the meeting and/or to submit comments via e-mail to: board@marvista.org.

How does street sweeper clean this?