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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

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 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.


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

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.

Venice Blvd Business is Down and Out


Business income is down and one shop is out of business on Venice Blvd in Mar Vista where the “Great Streets” project was implemented last month.

Sweet Lucie’s just closed.

Demetrius, owner of the Mar Vista, Venice Grind, and MV Grab and Go on Venice Blvd, said his business was down 25 percent. Owner of Robinson Beautilities said his “store has been there for 75 years” and his business was down 40 percent. He has had to let people go. Tattoo parlor said they had been there for 25 years and business was down 30 percent.

Venice Blvd from Beethoven to Inglewood has been billed as the “Great Streets” that will give the effect of a “small town in a big city.” Great Streets is supposed to create the place, the atmosphere that will encourage people to stop and shop.

But it is, along with the road diet occurring in Playa del Rey, part of the bigger picture of Vision Zero and Mobility 2035 that envisions all on bikes or in mass transit by shrinking major corridors in Los Angeles.

Westsider Alix Gucovsky has started the recall of Councilman Mike Bonin movement. See http://www.recallbonin.com/.

“Road Diet” and “Weed” Restrictions Featured at VNC Meet

By Angela McGregor

The July Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) board meeting was well-attended, mainly because of two controversial agenda items — cannabis restrictions, better know as “weed” restrictions and the Venice Blvd “Great Streets” initiative, also known at the “Road Diet.”

“Great Streets,” “Road Diet”
Agenda Item 9B, on the General Consent Calendar, called for Mike Bonin to hold a “Venice” Town Hall meeting on his “road diet” right away, in light of the fact that less than 450 people, none of them Venetians and many of them non-drivers, were surveyed prior to the implementation of the Venice Boulevard reconfiguration. This measure, submitted by Parking and Transportation Committee Chair Jim Murez, passed by acclamation.

A second road-diet related measure was put on the New Business Calendar, for much later in the evening. Called “Non-support of Transportation Projects”, it stated: “The VNC does not support any transportation project that negatively impacts traffic conditions in Venice”.

Murez recused himself from voting on the measure due to having forwarded an email he had received regarding the matter to his fellow Board members (a violation of the Brown Act). Prior to leaving the room, he spoke for a couple of minutes on the matter, stating that the engineering and configuration problems with it were “absolutely ludicrous”.

Public comment was entirely against the so-called “Great Streets” project. Longtime Venice activist Yolanda Gonzalez brought up the fact that in 2009, following a motion by the VNC, the City of Los Angeles posted signs all over Venice instructing residents to use Venice Blvd as their official tsunami evacuation route. Now, as other speakers pointed out, even paramedics and fire trucks are significantly delayed in the backup caused by the loss of the lanes.

Finally, Mike Bonin’s Field Deputy Taylor Bazley rose to speak on behalf of the “Great Streets” project, inviting all present to attend the upcoming LADOT Open House at Windward School 22 July between 1-3pm, at which data on the project’s first month will be presented. After that, he said that data would be presented after three months, and “six months…if it lasts that long”.

After public comment closed, Community Board member Ilana Marosi entered a new motion to replace the original, which called for immediate restoration of the 6-lane configuration on Venice Boulevard.This new motion failed to pass — 5-6-3. The original, less specific motion did pass, however — 8-3-1.

Cannabis Regulation
In June, the VNC Board put out a call for interested parties to participate in a task force to make recommendations to the VNC (and thereby, the City Planning Office) regarding the regulation of commercial cannabis in Venice. In just a few weeks, the committee came together and produced a 45-page document (seen here: http://www.venicenc.org/docs/34484217-6912.pdf).

Board and public discussion focused primarily on ensuring that these businesses were sufficiently distant from residences, and whether or not they should permit onsite consumption. The recommendations, which, in keeping with state law would outlaw marijuana sales on Ocean Front Walk, passed in its original form, 11-3-3.

Other matters:
Dax Kimbrough was elected to replace Lauri Burns as a Community Interest Stakeholder. Kimbrough is the owner of Arsenal Film & Creative Studio in Culver City and an Adjunct Instructor at USC’s Thornton School of Music. He is also a Board Member of the Venice Symphony Orchestra.

A motion made by Parking and Transportation calling for Smart Bikes (rather than Smart Docking stations) which would be compatible with those used in Santa Monica and Culver City and would not remove any public or off-street parking, passed.

LADOT to Present “Great Streets” Data 22 July

Nat Gale, principal project coordinator for Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), will present LADOT data for first month of Venice Blvd “diet,” as some call it. The meet will be held at Saturday, 22 July from 1-3 pm at Windward School, 11350 Palms Blvd.

Venice Blvd No Longer Route 187


Venice Blvd—from Lincoln Blvd to 10 Freeway—is no longer State Route 187, and as of relinquishment agreement dated 1 September 2016, became the responsibility of the City of Los Angeles. For this the State gave the City 14.5 million.

This relinquishment occurred at the request of Councilman Mike Bonin, chair of the LA City Council Transportation Committee, to “facilitate the implementation of the City’s Great Streets initiative on Venice Blvd.”

It was previously reported that only the “Great Streets” portion had been relinquished.

MVCC Board Votes “NO” to Restore Venice Blvd to Three Lanes Each Way


The major television stations were there to cover this.

A standing-room-only crowd gathered at the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC) meet to hear Restore Venice Coalition motion that would restore Venice Blvd to three lanes each way as opposed to the two-lane configuration that has occurred as a result of the “Great Streets” project.

Bikers, owners of bike shops, bikers representing bike organizations, Playa del Rey residents, Venice residents, and residents and business owners of Mar Vista were present to provide pros and cons for the motion presented. People were given one minute and then 30 seconds because there were so many people.

The result was that only three of eleven  MVCC board  members voted to restore Venice Blvd to its original three-lane configuration.  The three voting for were Hollie Tilson (represents area closest to Venice), Michelle Krupkin (co-chair of both Great Streets ad hoc committee and Transportation and Infrastructure committee) and Ken Alpern (co-chair of Transportation and Infrastructure committee).`

The others wanted to wait for one year until they had more data.  It sounded like a one-year trial but was mentioned at the meet that it was going to be a two-year trial. It was previously reported to be reviewed in three months.

Another motion was made and approved to have all data turned over to MVCC for analysis.

“Data” was not defined.  Is it accident, incident data?  Is it “feel good,” “calming” data for those who live and work in area. No previous accident, incident data was provided before or after the ‘Great Streets” initiation. Restore Venice Coalition has requested traffic data from Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

Nat Gale, principal project coordinator for Los Angeles Department of Transportation, will present LADOT data on the first month of Venice Blvd “diet,” as some call it. The meet will be held at Saturday, 22 July from 1-3 pm at Windward School, 11350 Palms Blvd.

“Great Streets” is billed as a place where people want to come to shop and businesses consequently make more money. The  even “larger  picture” to this story is that 82 percent of the business owners do not like this. Their sales are down. One owner said she doubted if she would survive the year. People, businesses are not cozying up to the idea of this small town effect. It is hurting them.  See article. 

Mike Bonin spoke first to explain the process; a representative from Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) spoke next. The LADOT spokesperson explained in theory why this would be a calming and safety effect based one of Newton laws of physics.

Venice Blvd was State Route 187
Venice Blvd, formerly State Route 187, is the major thoroughfare between Lincoln Boulevard in Venice, which is Route 1, and Interstate 10 in the South Robertson district.    It has affected, according to one speaker, 19,000 daily commuters from all over the area. Chris Cerbo produced documents showing the number of commuters to be 32,000.  Several speakers were from the Playa del Rey area and were caught with, not only the road diet there, but Venice Blvd.

The  State “relinquished” Venice Blvd to the City for the “Great Streets” program as requested by Councilman Mike Bonin. The “Great Streets” is in line with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s streetscape design for pockets of Los Angeles. LADOT Director Seleta Reynolds was hired to implement “Great Streets.” Councilman Mike Bonin lives in Mar Vista.

Downturn in Business
But the “Great Streets” project that was to give Venice Blvd in Mar Vista the “small town effect in the big city” has resulted in not just traffic calamity but downturn in business activity.

Several business people spoke and said their business income was down. One owner who spoke owns the Mar Vista, Venice Grind, and MV Grab and Go and he said his business income was down. Ace Hardware said his business was down 4 percent from last year.  One lady said she did not think she would survive the year.

Car traffic has diverted thru neighborhoods
The car traffic, which will continue, has diverted to side streets to the chagrin of those residents who live on the side streets. “Divert bikers to the side streets, not cars,” one commenter said.   People still have to go from A to B; the questions is what is the fastest way. Emergency vehicle response time has increased according to one commenter and he had seen emergency vehicles using the bike lane.

One commenter said “if you really want to slow down traffic, change the speed limit.”

Sounds like it is all for the bikers, pedestrians
It appears the “Small Town” effect has succumbed to mean protect bikers, safety for pedestrians.  Although, one commenter mentioned that a wheel chair has to go off the curb at the corner and navigate the bike lane to the pedestrian traffic cross walk.

One speaker did say there had been bike incidents and a skateboarder accident since the new configuration.  But no one presented accident figures for previous years or since implementation of the “Great Streets.”

Member of  Restore Venice Coalition

Sees this as the future.

Meanwhile, Native Bush Get Bushier


As Venetians and all west siders await the outcome of the Mar Vista Community Council vote to remove the “Great Streets” from Venice Blvd and bring it back to six lanes, the native grass grows taller and bushier.

Great Streets Meet 11 Feb

“Great Streets” meet will be 11 Feb, 7:30 pm at Mar Vista Library, Venice and Inglewood. Mar Vista wants the public input.

Debbie Rochlin, editor of the MVNA newsletter, says Venice Blvd from Grand View to Beethoven has been designated one of the 15 streets authorized by Mayor Eric Garcetti to get a makeover in the “Great Streets” program.