Mike Bonin is not someone who is known for thinking small.
“There’s a universe of opportunities,” said Councilmember Mike Bonin, of the proposed “Great Street” on Venice Boulevard. “But it’s important that this not be ‘Mike’s project,’ or the ‘Mayor’s project,’ or the ‘DOT’s Project,’ but the people’s project.”
Bonin was speaking excitedly about the “Great Streets” designation granted to Venice Boulevard between Inglewood Boulevard on the east and Beethoven Street on the west. Great Streets is an initiative to take a section of street in each of the fifteen City Council Districts and turn them into great places to walk, bike, sit outside, or just be…just exist.
While Bonin prefers the phrase “universe of opportunities” to describe everything that can be done, Mayor Eric Garcetti uses the term “urban-acupuncture” to illustrate the idea that these streets will be slimmed down to car traffic and opened up for other uses. Think of streets with trees for shade, modern crosswalks, clean and wide sidewalks, even just appropriately placed park benches and trash cans.
“A small burst of energy can transform a community,” Garcetti is fond of saying.
“One small change, especially if the community is behind it, can get things rolling,” Bonin echoes.
So what will Venice Boulevard look like after it has been changed to a Great Street? And when will Venice, or any of the other 14 Great Streets, actually start to see improvements?
There is not a good answer to the second question. Nobody seems to know when street improvements are going to come.
As for the first one…
“I have some ideas, but it’s really up to the community,” Bonin promises.
During the 2013 election, Bonin offered a vision of a Venice Boulevard teeming with small businesses and a walkable community during our candidates’ forum. But when pressed in our Great Streets interview, he kept going back to the idea that this was the community’s decision.
The community’s. Read more…