(This is part 1 of a 3 part series on the battle over the Spring Street Green Buffered Bike Lane. More to come tomorrow and Friday. – DN)
Last night, city staff confirmed to me what has long been rumored. The Spring Street Green Buffered Bike Lane, is indeed an endangered species. Rather than admit to cyclists that they’re caving to the mildly incoherent demands of the film, television and comercial industry, which just can’t seem to find anyplace in the world that has green bike lanes or any other place in Downtown Los Angeles to shoot film, the city is just going to not repaint the lane.
My heroes. Just a quick note to the city’s political leadership, be they about to leave or enter office: putting in new infrastructure to a chorus of cheers is just half the fight. Keeping the infrastructure, especially after it has been wildly successful, is the other half. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.
While the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is encouraging the city to keep the lane and blasting the rigidness of the industry (you can join them, here). Streetsblog believes the best of The Industry and that this is just a little misunderstanding. After all, filming in Los Angeles is actually way up this year, even as that bike lane remains green. So to help out anyone who really wants to shoot in Downtown Los Angeles but can’t figure out what to do with Spring Street, we prepared this map.
Dear location scout, the above Google Map is a rough screenshot of Downtown Los Angeles, using the 110 on the west and the L.A. River (and just off the image) on the east as boundaries. The blue area marks where there is a green buffered bike lane. Literally any other street does not. If you are on a street with a green lane and you cannot find one without it, literally go to any other street in the Downtown. If you still need help, call someone, literally anyone in the world, and ask them how to walk one block to the east or west.
It’s really not that hard.
For example, just last week, the Daily Mirror featured a full photo shoot from a scene where L.A. is used as a stand in for New York City, and the green lane didn’t appear once. Ironically, New York is one of the many cities across the world that have green bike lanes.
Of course, not everyone shares our optimism that the film, television and commercial industry is full of rational people that care about the safety and well being of the people around them. When the argument over whether or not to keep the lanes first bloomed last year, and The Industry successfully stopped the green painting of the Main Street and Venice bike lanes, a Film L.A. spokesman made the case in L.A. Weekly that the green was only part of the problem. The other part was that the bike lanes existed at all.
Can bicyclists, Downtown residents (who’s Neighborhood Council pushed the project from the beginning) and environmentalists keep the lane green? If city officials are going to bend backwards for The Industry, it might depend on what value those with the cameras place on keeping the city safe.