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Expansion and Gate Closures on Bike Themed City Council Agenda

1:01 PM PDT on July 7, 2008

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 

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