For years, the Venice Great Street was a model for how the city, council office and community could work together on a shared vision for the Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative. But while the outreach plan brought most of the Mar Vista Community together, the project was stalled because the segment of Venice Boulevard that would be a Great Street was owned by Caltrans, and the agency was concerned that protected bicycle lanes and wide sidewalks were not the correct treatment for this corridor.
That obstacle was cleared earlier this year when Caltrans relinquished its hold on Venice Boulevard west of Culver City and Los Angeles wasted no time. Earlier today, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Mike Bonin, LADOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds and a host of leaders from the Mar Vista Community Council and Mar Vista Chamber of Commerce broke ground on the Venice Great Street.
“Our main streets are much more than roadways — they’re places that bring people together and build community in neighborhoods across Los Angeles,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Venice Boulevard does that for the people of Mar Vista, and we’ll preserve that for generations to come by making it safer to walk, drive, bike, and use mass transit.”
The Venice Boulevard Great Street aims to transform Venice Boulevard between Beethoven Street and Inglewood Boulevard from a car-centric street full of fast-moving traffic to one more friendly towards all road users. The goal for the project goes beyond improving safety and connectivity for road users. It will also create a “main street” feel for Venice Boulevard in the project area, a goal shared by the loal Chamber of Commerce who has worked closely with the council office on the Great Streets project.
“Residents and merchants alike are clamoring to make downtown Mar Vista a local gathering place where people can shop at small businesses, eat at great restaurants and enjoy their neighborhood,” continued Councilmember Bonin. “That transformation is underway and there is a new spirit in Mar Vista. The new pedestrian crossings will make it safer and easier for everyone to cross the street and enjoy both sides of Venice Boulevard.”
In the near-term, there’s a handful of improvements slated for Venice Boulevard. In the longer-term, the Great Streets plan calls for the installation of parking-protected bike lanes. But immediately following this morning’s event, the city got started on a handful or more modest improvements, including:
Immediately following Monday’s event, the City will begin work on a series of improvement projects, including:
- Four new signalized pedestrian crossings at Venice Boulevard at Mountain View Avenue, Ocean View Avenue, Boise Street, and Meier Street;
- Pedestrian head starts at nine intersections, including Beethoven Street, Meier Street, Wade Street, Boise Avenue, Centinela Avenue, Ocean View Avenue, Grand View Avenue, Mountain View Avenue, and Inglewood Boulevard; and
- High visibility crosswalks.
“Venice Boulevard is the heart of Mar Vista. Giving people a safe way to connect north to south creates a stronger, safer street and neighborhood,” said Seleta Reynolds, LADOT General Manager. “We know that something as simple as a protected crossing can save lives and add to the vibrant placemaking already underway.”