Expansion and Gate Closures on Bike Themed City Council Agenda

ballona_creek_entrance.jpg
Needed Safety Amenity or Hotbed of Gang Activity

This Wednesday at 2:00 p.m., the Los Angeles City Council’s Transportation Committee will meet and there’s four important bike-related matters on the agenda.

The most controversial of those issues will be the final debate on whether or not to close the entrance to the Ballona Creek Bicycle Trail entrance along Culver Drive between Purdue Avenue and Sawtelle Boulevard.  Residents living adjacently to the entrance have charged that because it provides an escape route, the entrance has become an attractive place for gangbangers and miscreants to gather and conduct illicit activities.  At past meetings, residents have described drug deals, home invasions and even a shoot out that all occurred in their neighborhood all resulting from the Ballona Creek entrance.

For their part, cyclists argue that closing the gate will make the trail  less safe for users and do nothing for the community.  The police seem unable, or unwilling, to step up enforcement in the neighborhood which is the preferred solution for both the local and cycling communities.

Back in March the committee held a hearing on a resolution to close the trail, sponsored by local Councilman Bill Rosendahl.  The committee ordered the LAPD to work with the community and cyclists to devise a compromise, after making it clear the Committee favors the position of the community.   The LAPD’s “compromise” position is to close the entrance for 90 days and see what, if any, impacts it has had on crime. 

In addition to the closure, there’s three items on the agenda that should make cyclists smile.

First, is the motion by Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilman Ed Reyes ordering LADOT to pilot a Sharrows program.  Sharrows are pavement markings that encourage cyclists to travel outside of the “door zone” in areas where there is parking and remind cars to “Share the Road” with bicycles.  The pilot program consists of placing Sharrows on Vermont Avenue, between Hollywood Boulevard and 4th Street and on Fountain Avenue, between the 101 Freeway and Hoover Street.

Second, Councilman Reyes is seeking to use the city’s Bicycle Master Plan to bring modern bike amenities, such as Bike Boulevards and a Bike-Share program, to his district in  East LA.  Once these facilities prove as popular as they are in other cities, the programs would be expanded city-wide.

Also on the agenda is a Garcetti backed motion that would require that LADOT examine how to fit more bikes on DASH and Commuter Express buses.  Both bus services are controlled by the city.

Photo: Will Campbell 

  • “At past meetings, residents have described drug deals, home invasions and even a shoot out that all occurred in their neighborhood all resulting from the Ballona Creek entrance.”

    “all allegedly resulting” would be better.

    Stephen initially thought that the LABAC reform motion was also on the agenda . . . but yesterday he was iffy on it.

  • 1) Bicycle Master Plan is on the agenda (Reyes wants CD1 pilot project)
    2) Sharrows are on the agenda
    3) Bikes Racks for the DASH – LADOT is on the agenda
    4) Ballona

    Missing is any mention of the Metro Access for cyclists motion…

  • http://lacity.org/clk/committeeagend/clkcommitteeagend3054219_07092008.pdf

    Unless I’m missing something, it isn’t there…

  • So, what is the angle on this Ballona gate closure?

    Obviously, Rosendahl doesn’t want to look like a jerk for not “doing something” to appease residents.

    What can be done to solve Rosendahl’s problem?

    I have read about something that might help the situation: in downtown, on Skid Row, Jan Perry walks with a big group of local leaders through the worst parts of the district. They do it to put a face to the problems and to show that they are a group and are interested in helping make things better. Plus, they scare some people away (they have a police presence too).

    Why not hold a couple of Ridazz Ballona creek rides every month – stop at each gate, hand out frickin’ ice cream, invite local leaders onto their bikes (free repairs on the spot?). A “Tour de Ballona”?

    You see where I’m going with this?

    If Rosendahl can waste money and time asking for this gate to be closed, maybe he can spend a little bit of money and time getting a few BCU dudes to the westside to accompany some Neighborhood Council members and their kids while they “take back” their crick

  • I’d like to add that that is one UGLY ASS entrance to a bike path. Couldn’t they have done somethign to make it nicer? Is it supposed to be locked every night? Why not find some money for a little lighting and some nice entrances blocked off by bollards or something to keep the motorized vehicles out?