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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Playa del Rey “Safe Streets” Program to be Scratched; Streets to be Restored

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All lanes are to be restored.

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Cars were backed up on Culver Blvd, backing up cars on Alla Road, under the 90 freeway on week nights.

PLAYA DEL REY, CA — Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilmember Mike Bonin today announced a plan to restore traffic lanes on several roads in Playa del Rey, and deliver a series of new safety features to help protect the lives of motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Lane restoration work is scheduled to begin with Culver and Jefferson Boulevards on October 27 and  with work on Pershing beginning in November. A remaining stretch of Vista Del Mar, from Waterview to Culver Boulevard, will remain narrowed until after the Bureau of Engineering completes work in the area on the Dual Force Main project — a long-planned, multi-million dollar project to prevent an environmentally devastating sewage leak into the Santa Monica Bay.  Work on Dual Force is scheduled for two years.

This is a great feather in the cap for the “Recall Bonin” campaign.  They celebrated Wednesday night at the Venice Grind.  Alexis Edelstein and Alix Cucovsky, cochair of the RecallBonin.Com campaign have stated several times that the campaign will continue until all streets are restored on the Westside and the street restructuring envisioned for other streets by Vision Zero and Mobility 2035 are stopped. 

 

The move came at the request of Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin, who asked the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to immediately begin restoring lanes that had been removed on Culver Boulevard, Jefferson Boulevard and Pershing Drive — and to install new, strong traffic safety measures to be completed over the next several months.

“This pilot program has shown us that lane reductions are not the right approach in Playa del Rey, but we can and will find a way to ease congestion and improve traffic safety in this neighborhood,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We have the will and know-how to find smart, balanced, effective, and flexible solutions — and I’m confident that the new safety measures we are putting in place will help us accomplish those goals.”

The new safety measures include new crosswalks with flashing beacons to better protect pedestrians; “speed tables” that prompt vehicles to reduce speed at intersections; speed feedback signs that notify drivers when they have exceeded posted limits; “pedestrian head start” signals that allow people on foot to enter crosswalks at intersections before vehicles are allowed to make turns; and traffic signals that will be adjusted to require drivers to slow down as they approach downtown Playa del Rey from Culver Boulevard.

“From the beginning of the Safe Streets for Playa del Rey initiative, community feedback has been a crucial component in creating a safe and inviting community,” said Councilmember Bonin. “Reducing the frequency and severity of traffic collisions is one of the top public safety imperatives for the City of Los Angeles, and the community-supported safety improvements we are announcing today will help keep people in Playa del Rey safe. I am grateful that Mayor Garcetti and I were able to work with LADOT, neighbors and local businesses to find a way to implement safety measures that can keep people safe without disrupting traffic patterns.”

The full list of new safety features includes:

•Speed Feedback Signs – LADOT will place speed feedback signs on Culver Boulevard and Pershing Drive, notifying drivers when they have exceeded the speed limit.

•Flashing Beacon Crosswalks – LADOT will add flashing beacons to the crosswalk at Culver Boulevard and Pershing Drive to better protect pedestrians as they cross the street.

•New Crosswalks – LADOT will install new flashing beacon crosswalks at Culver Boulevard and Earldom Avenue and at Pershing Drive and Rees.

•Speed Tables – LADOT will install speed tables at crosswalks to slow speeding traffic and protect pedestrians.

•“Rest in Red” Signals – The traffic signal at Culver and Nicholson and Culver and Vista Del Mar will be adjusted to require drivers to slow their speed as they approach downtown Playa del Rey from Culver Boulevard. “Rest in red” settings will also be applied to signals at Pershing and Manitoba, Pershing and Westchester Parkway, Culver and Vista Del Mar and Culver and Nicholson.

•Leading Pedestrian Intervals – Commonly referred to as “pedestrian head start” signals, crossing signals will be adjusted to allow pedestrians to enter crosswalks at intersections before vehicles are allowed to make their turns. This will occur at Pershing and Manchester, Pershing and Manitoba, and Pershing and Westchester Parkway.

The Mayor and Councilmember will work together to identify funding to expedite installation of new pedestrian-activated signals at intersections that include Culver and Earldom, Culver and Pershing, and Pershing and Rees. Mayor Garcetti said he would direct the LAPD to step up speed enforcement in the area, and City officials will work with state officials to explore ways to lower automobile speed through the Ballona Wetlands.

Prior to today’s announcement, LADOT had already restored lanes on Vista Del Mar and Culver Boulevard. Today’s action will restore lanes on Culver, Jefferson and Pershing, and expedite implementation of the new safety features — which were the subject of close talks between City officials and local residents, business owners, and members of the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council and the Playa del Rey Safer Streets Task Force.

The announcement won praise and expressions of gratitude from local stakeholders:

“These safety measures will make Playa del Rey a safer community for the people who live here, work, and enjoy our community,” said Cyndi Hench, President of the Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa. “Our community is eager to move forward and I appreciate the work of Mayor Garcetti, Councilmember Bonin and the neighbors who have been passionately engaged on this topic. I think this is a great resolution to a complicated issue.”

Hench’s appreciation for the announcement was echoed by local businesses, including by Lisa Schwab, the owner of Cantalini’s Salerno Beach Restaurant.

“These safety measures strike the right balance between improving safety and keeping traffic moving,” said Schwab. “This has been a contentious topic of debate in our community and it shows a lot of leadership and commitment to the people they represent for Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin to do they work they have done to make this announcement possible. As a business owner in Playa del Rey, I am happy with the lane restoration and safety improvements and I thank the Mayor and Councilmember for being willing to listen and adapt the pilot project based on the input they heard.”

“The LAX Area Chamber of Commerce fully supports the added safety measures and lane restoration,” added David Voss, Board Member with the LAX Area Chamber. “Reducing traffic congestion and keeping people safe are both important goals for the local businesses we represent and we are very fortunate to have responsive and collaborative local elected leaders like Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin.”

The announcement also received praise from some of the neighbors who have been advocating for safer streets in Playa del Rey.

“I got involved with this issue a couple years ago because I wanted to feel safe walking around my neighborhood in Playa del Rey,” said Ryan Wewers, a Playa del Rey resident who has been a vocal supporter of the Safe Streets for Playa del Rey Initiative. “Back then, I couldn’t have even imagined the number of safety improvements Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember announced today. This goes a long way to make our streets safer for everyone.”

“While I’m disappointed that the first phase of this three phase pilot project was unable to move forward, I’m very pleased to see that the second and third phases of these long-overdue safety measures that the community asked for as part of the Safer Streets for Playa del Rey Initiative in 2015 will finally be implemented thanks to this action by Mayor Garcetti and Councilmember Bonin,” added Playa del Rey neighborhood leader and safety advocate, Julie Ross.

Additionally, Bonin and Garcetti said they planned to work with the Playa del Rey small business community to create programs and projects to enhance the downtown area. Those measures include additional parking, wider sidewalks, art work, lighting and more.

 

 

Vista del Mar Has Four Lanes

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Vista del Mar has four lanes restored from Napoleon to Imperial Highway. Work north from Napoleon has not been done.

Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council Approves Letter Asking for Lane Restoration

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Standing room only inside.

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Line waiting to go in.

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Members of the council preparing to vote.

The Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council in a specially called meeting voted 15/2/1 in favor of sending a prepared letter to Councilman Mike Bonin asking for the roads to be restored that were removed by the Playa del Rey “Safe Streets” road diet that was initiated a few months ago. An amendment to letter excluded restoration of Pershing Drive.

The eastbound lane of Culver Blvd was restored to two lanes in July. Vista del Mar will be restored to four lanes starting 21 August.

The meeting room was packed with standing room only. There was a line, guarded by the police, waiting to enter.

A statement was made that “Safe Streets” did not go thru the Westchester/Playa Neighborhood Council for vetting and such buffering and vetting was the purpose of the neighborhood councils. Many felt there was insufficient data to justify that lane removal would prevent accidents or be safer…”there just was no data to justify this.”

There was suppose to be 30-, 90-, 120-day reviews and already the 30 is behind. One said it sounded like the normal process for removal, other than the letter to the councilman, would result in the road diet staying for at least two years even if determined that it was not wanted or unnecessary.

A task force of 18 to 20 composed of half “for” and half “against“ the road diet has been formed to investigate and will report to the council. First meet will be Monday.

It was stated that already there have been more accidents encountered recently than without the diet in the same period. Mar Vista residents have reported the same fact for “Great Streets” on Venice Blvd. So streets being safe is questionable.

The speakers were many and varied with their opinions. There were two stacks of written comments–one for and one against. The two-minute verbal comments went from 7 pm to almost 10 pm before the vote. Several brought up lack of data needed to justify closing of the roads.

Only John Russo included extensive research regarding causes of the previous accidents and the lack of justification for safer, calming streets. He made the statement that “none of the accidents that had occurred could have been prevented by slowing the traffic.” Russo has been invited to present his data in the Venice Update. Justification for the road shrinkage was based on providing safer streets and preventing lawsuits such that have occurred. Russo showed that already there were two accidents in June.


It was stated that people had asked for lights in certain areas and crosswalks but never loss of lanes.

Business people spoke and it was disheartening for residents to hear their stories. All the business owners said their businesses were down. One man who ran the shoe store said he had had to lay off one person and was questioning whether he would be able to sustain the business for the rest of the year. It was the same story that the Mar Vista Neighborhood Council heard at their outreach meeting regarding “Great Streets.”

Those who spoke “for” said the environment was better. They had been given notice by the council office. They did not like speeding cars. Their kids could play now.

Countering those who said the environment was better because of slower cars, were those who said the pollution was greater for standing cars. Kids playing, people countered saying that kids should not be playing on those streets that were removed. They are not neighborhood streets. But now commuters divert thru the neighborhood streets where the kids do play creating an unsafe condition for kids and residents.

David Voss, a board member, summed it up for those against the road closures when he said “This is not Vision Zero; this is Zero Vision.”

Summary Conclusion to the letter:

CONCLUSION: There was no sudden need to close down lanes on Pershing and Culver. Indeed, as noted above, the City of Los Angeles identified that these streets are not the priority for attention. The irony is that some of the support for the Road Diet has been from those who want a vital thriving downtown Playa del Rey yet the changes made are having the immediate and opposite effect. The reversal of Vista del Mar lane closures addresses the concerns of the South Bay while leaving your own constituents adversely impacted. However, the cut-through traffic on residential streets because of lane reductions remains a significant and dangerous problem. There is an overwhelming groundswell of opposition to the PDR pilot project as expressed to the NCWP. There is simply no question that the majority of the local community does not like it as it stands and wants the lanes restored without delay. We are confident that you and your staff will respond to our questions and requests and facilitate other City agencies in being timely and responsive. More urgently, we hope that the flexibility you have already shown will be extended to reversing course and improving the planning, evaluation (both pre- and post-intervention), and proactive and transparent communication regarding the PDR Safe Streets initiative. The NCWP and your constituents look forward to collaborating with you in an alternate improved and comprehensive means of addressing safety, efficiency and accessibility other than the current pilot project reduced lanes.

Reporter Barred Press Entrance by Police

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by Reta Moser

Police barred this reporter entrance to the Westchester/Playa neighborhood council that was to vote on the controversial “road diet” in Playa, Tuesday night. Officers said press had to have a press badge authorized by someone in city, downtown. Business card was insufficient. Told me to go to end of line.

Didn’t know what the law was regarding such in LA since I had never had this happen with Venice Update reporting of events in Venice and surrounds. I was shocked to see that my business card of Venice Update was insufficient for the two dressed police at the door.

I thought the first amendment guaranteeing freedom of the press was sufficient. I just wasn’t aware of any other law governing local press entrance for public proceedings.

Hey, I was wearing orange and was completely ignorant of the fact that orange is the designated color for those wanting the roads back open. Sorry about that one. Will try to be more aware of being unbiased. Also I was dressed casually in shorts and crocs. Don’t know what a local reporter uniform would be or should be.

The officers proudly posed for photo and Casandra stated her name when I tried to read her badge.

I stepped back and there crossing over the landscape was Debbie Dyner-Harris, district chief of staff for Councilman Mike Bonin, better known to me at that point as “freedom of the press advocate.”

(This road diet in playa is very controversial. I should have been covering the Venice Neighborhood Council but reporters go where the story is. This was big for area.)

“Hey Debbie, they won’t let me in.”

“Follow me,” as she crossed over to another door.

I explained to her that the officers said I had to have a press pass issued down town. Do you know where?

“Never heard of such a thing,” she replied.

We went to the back of the building and entered through the patio.

Debbie left me and called the name of the officer standing at the door and said he “would help me.” He turned and stepped aside to let me in.

I was in.

It would have been a sad day for freedom of the press had I not had Councilman Mike Bonin’s Chief of Staff Debbie Dyner-Harris get me in. I understand credentials being checked out for more important events in this day because of crazies but for local public events, no.

What an interesting experience for me but sad experience for America, for Americans.

Vista del Mar to go back to four lanes; Lawsuit filed to restore all lanes removed by “Safe Streets”

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Vista del Mar in Playa del Rey will return to four lanes — two southbound and two northbound. Work will start 21 August.  Lawsuit was filed Thursday by Keep LA Moving to restore all lanes removed by what Councilman Mike Bonin referred to as “Safe Streets.”

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Work should take three weeks to restore the lanes southbound from Waterview Street to Imperial and northbound from Imperial to Napoleon Street. Parking on Vista del Mar will be removed. Culver Blvd eastbound was restored to two lanes in July.

Keep LA Moving, comprised of Playa del Rey and Manhattan Beach residents, claims that removal of lanes on Jefferson, Culver, Pershing, and Vista del Mar was illegal without an environmental review. They seek restoration of all lanes removed.

It is a “gross abuse of discretion” to remove lanes without outreach and examining potential adverse effects on congestion.

“A few additional things that might be relevant to the Venice reader is that Venice Blvd wasn’t even mentioned by Councilman Bonin when he addressed Vista del Mar,” said Alexis Edelstein of keeplamoving.com.  “Also Venice Blvd all the way down to the ocean and other streets like Lincoln, Sepulveda, Centinela and others are part of Mobility 2035, a citywide initiative that includes Vision Zero. 

“All these streets are targeted for a variety of traffic calming measures meant to slow down drivers.” 

“Another important aspect of the lawsuit is the misappropriation of Measure M funds,” said Alix Guck sky of RecallBonin.com.

The “road diets,” as generically called, have not been popular in Los Angeles. They have slowed commuter traffic wherever they have been implemented and raised the ire of the travelers.  This is the first lawsuit. It is rumored there is another one ready to be filed.

Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) says:

Occasional full street closures will occur during night hours only.

During the duration of construction, it is recommended that commuters plan ahead and look for alternate ways to travel. Alternative east/west routes are Imperial Highway and Westchester Parkway; alternative north/south routes are Pershing Drive, Lincoln and Sepulveda Boulevards, and the 405 Freeway. Beach parking is available at the beach parking lots.

Additionally, the Bureau of Engineering also has an ongoing construction project that may intermittently restrict southbound traffic to one lane daily before 3 pm.
For project updates, please visit: https://www.safestreetspdr.org/vdm/

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.

All Thumbs Down for PDR Road Shrinkage


(Video courtesy of Keep PDR Moving.)

Video says it all for the recent road shrinkage in Playa del Rey. It was called “Safe Streets” by Councilman Mike Bonin and “Vision Zero” by Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). Commuters have their own names.

Residents and business owners and commuters are so upset that a recall has started for Councilman Mike Bonin.

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

One east bound lane on Culver Blvd in Playa del Rey was restored early in July because it just was not working.

Several stories have been written about this “road diet” but none have explained the effect as well as this video done by Keep PDR Moving.

Street Cleanup on Vista del Mar Gets New Schedule

Cleaning schedule of Vista del Mar around the parking areas has changed from every other month to at least once a month, maybe more, according to the crew supervisor.

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This is what it looked like last week.

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This is what it looked like before.

Third Accident for 16 July Weekend in PDR; Residents Want Lanes Restored

PDR (Photo compliments of Keep PDR Moving.) The Keep PDR Moving website reports on https://www.facebook.com/KeepVDMopen/posts/154099465152908 and stated that this was the third accident for the 16 July weekend.

Playa del Rey residents and users of the roads involved with the “Safe Streets” project that Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and Councilman Mike Bonin have implemented are not happy and that is an understatement.

Residents and business owners want the lanes restored. Business owners are being hurt financially. No one sees justification for the lane removals. There supposedly are two law suits regarding this.

The PDR Facebook site shows that John and Ken did an onsite show and interviewed locals at The Shack Thursday.

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

Update has been checking the Culver Blvd westbound traffic at the 90 Freeway each Wednesday at 7 pm.

This photo appeared in Update the last of June.
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This photo in last week’s Update (17 July) shows traffic backed up last week. It was so bad that Alla Road was backed up.
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This photo was taken 19 July at 7 pm. What happened?
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LADOT was called the next day to see if the Culver Blvd westbound land had been restored and they said no. It is not determined what happened. Perhaps, alternate routes have been established.