Bikelash on Motor Avenue Bike Lanes? Palms Neighborhood Council, Koretz Will Get an Earful Tonight

You're motoring...What's your price for flight? Photo: Jonathan Weiss

Amidst all the election news comes word that there is a small Bikelash brewing on the Westside from residents worried that the diet is creating spillover traffic jams on other local streets. The good news is that the proposed solutions seem to be about improving traffic calming measures on the streets parallel to Motor Avenue. The bad news is the complaints will be heard at tonight’s meeting of the Palms Neighborhood Council which will feature local City Council Member Paul Koretz. The agenda for tonight’s hearing is here.

Jonathan Weiss, a member of the city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and regular commuter on Motor Avenue notes that it’s not the bike lanes that are causing spillover traffic.

I’ve never seen more cyclists than I do now, and, with theExpo train coming to Palms in about 2015, the community soon could be transformed into one of the bike-friendliest around.  Meanwhile, the morning traffic stacking up in Palms does so because the northbound traffic trying to make its way to Century City and Beverly Hills via Cheviot Hills is “metered” (choked off and redirected) at National Boulevard per the Century City Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan, a City Ordinance obtained by residential communities in response to Century City area commercial development.

The bike lanes are part of a road diet  a three quarter mile stretch of mixed residential and commercial development on Motor Ave. The diet was put in place with the support of  the LADOT, the Motor Avenue Improvement Association, and the Palms Neighborhood Council.  More Palms-area bike lanes are planned, including a connection to the pending Palms Expo Light Rail station, in accordance with the City of Los Angeles’ Bike Plan.

The Palms Neighborhood Council meets tonight at  7:00 p.m. at the IMAN Center, 3376 Motor Avenue. The community letter that hints at the Bikelash is after the break (with names redacted, these aren’t public figures.) If it’s looking as though Motor Avenue is going to turn into another Wilbur Avenue, we’ll let you know.

Hi everyone,

It gravely saddens me to send you this email.

Earlier today I was speaking with Council member Paul Kortez Deputy, David Giron, sharing how people are completely livid about the deletion of two automobile lanes from Motor Avenue which is also about to happen on Palms Boulevard as well.  I shared that doing this before the Expo was completed in 2016, with two HUGE complexes being built on Motor, not to mention 2 school on Palms that the already gridlocked area has now intentionally been converted into a self-made 405 parking lot.  I was told that they are hoping people adjust.  I also mentioned how cars already use this area as a speedway to get to other areas, i.e., Overland and Robertson – as this is how they are hoping the gridlock traffic will direct it’s self away from the now less traffic lanes available to cars on Motor.  We know better …

I shared about the little girl that was hit and trapped under a car from someone using neighbor streets trying to get to Kaiser on La Cienega.  Thankfully, it was early morning when some of the neighbors, mostly the men, were still home and literally lifted the car off the little girl before the rescue could even get here.

Sadly and ironically, just hours after this conversation, I must forward you the below message from one of our long-time block captains that just witnessed someone being hit and killed on Clarington.

Although the new President is a bike enthusiast who wants more bike racks, I hope this new Neighborhood Council can take a break from their obsession with bicyclists and get some much speed bumps.  THE NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL IS THERE TO BE YOUR VOICE TO CITY HALL WITH YOUR NEEDS.

I ask that as many of you that can make the Neighborhood Council meetings once a month on the first Wednesday of the month do so.  YOU HAVE A VOICE IN WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD … USE IT!

God bless you all and as always,

Keep watchin’ out!

  • PC

    Can somebody translate that community letter to English?


    Newsflash: Entitled Westsiders hate bikes and doing the right thing for the community.

    I can’t understand the community letter either? Got to love LAUSD!! 

  • Alex Thompson

    Predictable as rain.  It’s not just the Valley on Wilbur, the Westside has it’s own mean streak.

  • Dennis Hindman

    The congested areas of the westside are going to be the toughest parts of the city to put bike infrastructure in. There are few streets that have extra capacity and room for bike lanes.  The dependency on moving around by car is also a big hindrance.

  • Ubrayj02

     That is just it though, isn’t it Dennis? There is enough space on Motor as the street as it is now set up can handle almost 30,000 daily trips but is not even pulling close to half of that. It can do with a single lane in each direction and still not delay motorists more than 10 to 30 seconds more than they would otherwise be.

    Like York Blvd. in NELA or Bloor Street in Toronto, Ontario I am willing to bet that most of the people shopping on this street got there by doing something other than driving. We all think we know what brings business – but the reality is that most shoppers in these districts walk, ride transit, or ride bikes. Over 70% in the areas mentioned above.

    The city needs to focus on growing its revenue base without tax subsidies and bad loans to large multinational corporations (see: LA Live). We need to allow small scale retail like what exists on Motor to thrive.

    Bike lanes make the street better for business, less expensive for the public works and police department, and more productive for the tax collector.

  • I attended and spoke at tonight’s meeting. Public comment was overwhelmingly positive in favor of the bike lanes, and the NC board members, particularly the chair of the Transportation Committee, stood firm in their support of the road diet, citing the need to provide more transportation options and multimodal connections to the Expo Line. At no point was any motion put on the table to take a position against the road diet. CM Koretz’ deputy was there to take it all in, and will report the positive comments back to his boss. It would appear that some quick organizing has succeeded in putting the brakes on this particular bikelash, at least for now.

  • Santa Monica fit in quite a few bike lanes. If it can, so can anywhere else. It’s a mental problem to be tackled, not so much a spatial one, and certainly not a financial one.

  • Frankenbike

    We could really use some north/south bike lanes further west. Like on Centinela, Bundy, Beethoven, Walgrove and Lincoln. Especially Centinela which feeds Bundy, which will also have an expo station. You can take side streets for some of it, but the Santa Monica Airport and the location of freeway overpasses, not to mention oddly angled streets and much steeper hills on the residential streets, make this an impractical means commuting by bicycle.

  • Bike lanes on Bundy/Centinela, Sepulveda and Westwood are all included in the environmental package being processed for approval by the City of LA. It will likely take some political heavy lifting to secure local support for these projects. If you’re interested in doing outreach in the community, you might want to sign up for the Westside group of LACBC’s Neighborhood Bike Ambassador program.

  • Rickdog81

    Thanks for attending and speaking on behalf of some of us that couldn’t make it out there.

  • Roadblock

    Thank you to everyone who came out last night on such short notice. Using twitter and facebook I put the word out to about 6000 potential ears and indeed 6 or 7 cyclists were able to make it out with just 60 minutes notice. Looks like even the LACBC caught wind of this and were able to send someone over. The more that cyclists swarm and make a show of support the more bike lanes will be a reality. 

  • Roadblock

    Dennis… according to the League, 50% of all car traffic is local trips of less than 3 miles. If that were the case, then 50% of the space on the roads in any part of the city could go theoretically to bicycles which take 3% of the space of cars, factor in that some local trips require carrying loads of wood and huge quantities of lunchables and fruit punch then lets say 25% of the roads could be dedicated to cycling infrastructure and it would eventually work itself out if people got over the fear of riding bikes. I know, not everyone is in shape to ride a bike. I dont have the time to figure all that out… I’m like W… I shoot from the hip.

  • I love the idea of biking, but reducing Motor to one lane is awful.  It is causing awful traffic jams.  Air quality must be suffering with all the idling.  I can’t believe they’re going to do it on Palms too.  Bottom line is that these bike lanes aren’t safe anyway.  You need to have a the bike lane be raised or separated by a curb.  Not just a white line.  It’s not safe.  They need to bring back double laned traffic to Motor.  If they can figure out a way to squeeze a (safe) lane by giving up sidewalk space or something, fine.  But this idea is nuts.  


Westside’s Motor Avenue Gets Road Diet and Bike Lanes

The buzz started on Monday: an alert reader (and Wilshire bike commute champion) notified Streetsblog that the sharrows on Motor Avenue disappeared between Venice Boulevard and National Boulevard, a three quarter mile stretch of mixed residential and commercial development, during a recent repaving. Nonetheless, the mood was optimistic. Initial road striping after the repave hinted […]