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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Restore Venice Blvd Forms Westside LA Neighbors Network To Fight “Livable Boulevards”

Restore Venice Blvd filed a lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles regarding Venice Blvd 21 June and is forming a Westside Los Angeles Neighbors Network to fight “Livable Boulevards.”

Restore Venice Blvd is appealing the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) exemption filed by the City for “Livable Boulevards” Streetscape Plan dated 19 June.    It appears to be the Vision Zero with a new name. This plan includes what is on Venice Blvd right now, extended to Lincoln Blvd. It also includes Pico Blvd., Centinela Ave and Motor Ave.

Restore Venice Blvd is starting to build a Westside coalition to fight back. “To that end, we’ve filed the lawsuit with a newly created 501(c)4 non-profit, the Westside Los Angeles Neighbors Network,” according to their press release. Visit the new web site to learn more: www.WLAneighbors.org.

 

 

“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.

 

Venice Blvd Business is Down and Out

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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/.

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

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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.

My Opinion on Venice Blvd “Calming”– Jim Murez

Note: Jim Murez, a long-time Venice resident, is a member of the Venice Neighborhood Council and a former member of the Land Use and Planning Committee.

…my opinion on Venice Blvd traffic calming:

The Venice community is taking as much if not more of the impacts from the traffic calming measures that were introduced to Venice Blvd in the Mar Vista community.  These improvements have created a bottle neck in traffic flow out of the Venice community.  As a result more neighborhood cut troughs are occurring both in the Venice neighborhoods as well as the Mar Vista residential streets as drivers look for a better solution.

If the Councilman looked at traffic as a regional problem rather than as a spot fix, he would consider allowing traffic to backup where it funnels into our region.  Take exiting from Marina Del Rey onto Washington Blvd for example, why should there be two lanes of traffic allowed to go westbound, the only place for all that traffic to end up is Pacific Av.  This is a huge cut through route…  but if you stopped two lanes going left then people would go straight up Ocean Av another residential street that is way over impacted.  So to protect the community straight through traffic would also need to be stopped during peak trip times.  Wow – that would force all the traffic back to Lincoln Blvd, US highway #1… what a concept.  And maybe these measures would stop people who work in the South Bay and live in the Valley from cutting through Venice.

But when I asked the CM if he would consider traffic improvement like those he instituted in his community of Mar Vista, he said NO very clearly siting his plate was to full at present with the Playa Vista and Mar Vista projects.

Once again, Venice is treated as the stepped on child of the City.

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

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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

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A squirrel palm with unkept trees and more native weeds.

Venice Blvd Traffic Flow Reduced — Check Red on Traffic Map

By Darryl DuFay

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http://www.localconditions.com/weather-venice-california/90291/traffic.php

Councilman Bonin Answers Venice Blvd Nay Sayers

Councilman Mike Bonin was asked to make a statement regarding all the people in Venice who are upset with the new configuration of Venice Blvd.  He feels it is the construction and their crews that are causing the problem and construction will be over by end of the month.

It appears that a lot of the traffic congestion and we are seeing now is coming from the construction, rather than the new lane configuration. 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.

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,