web analytics

Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Venice Blvd–“Let’s Give it a Try;” Playa del Rey — “Wait and See”

bollard
Oops!  First, and hopefully, only casualty.

Venice Blvd …  Ah, yes.  The one good thing about Venice Blvd and its shrinking is that it has replaced the homeless in conversation.

Venice Blvd, called the “Great Streets,” between Inglewood and Beethoven has lost a lane during the one-year pilot, feasibility period. Reasoning behind this lane loss is to produce a “small-town effect in a big town.”

Playa del Rey, west of Lincoln – Jefferson, Culver, Pershing, Vista del Mar — will lose a lane, if there are more than two lanes, and gain a bike path on both sides. Vista del Mar will not have a bike lane. This is part of the “calming” of traffic and is called “Safe Streets.” The City did have a lawsuit on Vista del Mar.

culver
Culver Blvd at 6:30 Wednesday morning.

Both projects were vetted with residents and surveys were taken. All residents should have been made aware. One business owner in Mar Vista said only her business received notification. Both projects were explained to residents at various interactive community meetings.

“The Neighborhood Council of Westchester Playa and residents have been involved in the more than two-and-half year effort to make streets safer in Playa del Rey, and received a series of presentations about these projects before they were installed,” wrote David Graham-Caso, communications director for Councilman Mike Bonin. “Hundreds of members of the community have been engaged and involved by attending interactive community meetings and participating in online surveys.”

The residents of Venice are very upset about the slowing of the traffic on Venice Blvd. Venice Blvd, which  is State Route 187,  has been a main artery for Venetians for years. They did not participate in the Mar Vista vetting process and rightly so. The City was given permission from the State to do what has been done to that section between Inglewood and Beethoven.

There are petitions circulating for Venice and for Playa del Rey.  There is talk of recalling Councilman Mike Bonin.

The Venice Chamber of Commerce was queried as to what they thought of the “smaling” of Venice Blvd. George Francisco, president, responded with the following:

The business community in Venice is predominantly composed of small commercial enterprises whose vitality is inescapably tied to the over 10 1/2 million visitors we welcome each year. The Venice Chamber supports transit solutions that provide safe and efficient circulation for both visitors and residents alike, and we would hope all permanent options to improve mobility are soundly envisioned and implemented to ensure the welcome result of increased access with minimal disruption.

Venice Update decided to see how the businesses liked the “small-town” effect.

First sighted were two men working on the parking meters.  They said they were aligning the meters to match the cars.  When asked  how many parking spaces had been lost, they said they didn’t know, but with the wider berth on the corners, they had to lose some.  We just stood there as we watched a car using the bike lane and another approaching.  We also watched a biker using the lane and then stopping at the pedestrian red light.  We each bet that the biker wouldn’t stop.  He did stop but had started thru the light and then backed up.

dot

“I hate it … just hate it,” said the first five shop operators. One said “education is more beneficial than prohibitive action. I asked for something to write that one down.

Then one shop keeper said there had been many meetings and surveys over a period of years.  She participated. She did mention that, as a resident, she did not receive any notification.  “It is too early to tell if it will make a difference for sales or if we like it,” she said.  “We all must wait and see.”

One thing that bothered her were the weeds in the median and took this writer outside to see them..  Just as we went outside a biker peddled by going the wrong way on the sidewalk.  We both jumped out of the way to accommodate the bike on the sidewalk.  “Isn’t that illegal,” she asked.  “It is so dangerous and it happens all the time.”  Hard to believe but even with the protected bike path, bikers continue to make pedestrians jump and endanger them as they persist in riding on the sidewalk.

biker
Biker continues on after moving pedestrians out of his way.

“I can’t see the businesses across the street,” she said.  This writer had concentrated on the road improvements and had never been conscious of the median condition.  All along the Venice Blvd, the median is filled with weeds, trees that need trimming, and trees that need removing.  They are not native plants.  They are native weeds.  One would assume weeds will be removed, trees trimmed to give that “small town” effect an added “well-kept” look.

weeds
These are not native plants.  They are native weeds with debris.

trees
A squirrel palm with unkept trees and more native weeds.

Steve Lopez’s Column Features Venetians’ and Their Problems with One Commissioner

Steve Lopez’s “The Coastal Commission is learning the meaning of sorry—not sorry” highlights the Venetians who have gone to the California Coastal Commission meet and tried to talk with Commissioner Mark Vargas. It is truly a would-you-believe story. One wonders what the future acts are for the California Coastal Commission whose duty it is to protect the coast and to provide access for all.