Behind the Scenes, Are Hollywood’s Councilmen Delaying the Repainting of Spring Street Green Buffered Bike Lane

Surely Film L.A. doesn’t have so much clout that it can hold up the simple repainting of an already fading and chipped green buffered bike lane on Spring Street over the wishes of the Mayor’s Office, LADOT, local City Council Member Jose Huizar and the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council. So what’s the delay?

City hall staff are blaming Council Members LaBonge and Garcetti for the delay (or cancellation) of the Spring Street Green Buffered Bike Lane. Is the claim fair, or are they spreading the blame? Image: CD13

Opposing the repainting, the film, television and commercial industry advocacy group, Film L.A., has stated that the lanes create problems for filming because the green paint is very difficult to get rid of in post production. Also, they argue that other major cities don’t have green bike lanes, a claim that is demonstrably false.

Behind the scenes, the two City Council Members that represent the geographic area of Hollywood have both pushed to delay, or cancel the repainting. Council Member Eric Garcetti’s office confirmed their interest in delaying the project, but later conceded that it should be the decision of the Mayor’s Office and  Huizar. Council Member Tom LaBonge was more aggressive in defending his position that the green in the bike lane should be allowed to fade away.

Meanwhile, the Mayor’s Office is looking for some cover. A former transportation deputy promised to let the lane fade away to Film L.A., and the industry is loudly making noise that Antonio Villaraigosa’s team is publicly breaking a promise. While representatives of the bike community and Downtown Neighborhood Council are loudly supporting the lane, the opposition from Garcetti and LaBonge are making the Mayor’s life harder, especially since much of the current staff might be looking for a job with Garcetti in the next couple of months.

“What we have to do is be consistent,” Labonge stated in a phone interview with Streetsblog. “There’s an important evolution of bike lanes, and we need to have consistent markings. I don’t know who’s idea it was to paint it green, but that’s not going to be duplicated (elsewhere in the city).”

LaBonge seemed unfamiliar with the growing trend of green painted bike lanes in other major cities around the world, but to his credit did propose an alternative. While he didn’t use the specific term, LaBonge advanced the idea of a regular buffered bike lane on Spring Street with colored bike boxes at the intersection.

“I think we can achieve the (safety) goal by doing what they do in other cities. At each intersection there’s a “poster size” green to show where the bike lane is,” he continued. ” It must be uniform, recognizable and respected…Whether you’re in the San Fernando Valley, or Downtown or Boyle Heights. People have to know what it’s (the street markings) for.”

Meanwhile, when asked whether or not current front-runner to replace Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wanted to let the bike lane fade, a spokesperson for Garcetti’s city council office gave a somewhat terse response.

That’s inaccurate,” responded spokesperson Diego De La Garza. “We asked the Mayor’s office to convene a meeting with constituents on both sides prior to taking action.”

When informed that meetings had taken place with the Downtown Neighborhood Council, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, staff for Council Member Huizar and representatives from the film industry. All of the groups except Film L.A. enthusiastically endorsed repainting the bike lane.

“We weren’t in attendance and haven’t been updated on the meeting results,” De La Garza responded. “It’s up to the Mayor and Councilmember Huizar to make a decision.”

This begs the question what if Garcetti were mayor?

Meanwhile, the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council voted to support the repainting earlier this week and Huizar’s office released a statement in support of the lanes.
“I support the green bike lanes in Downtown Los Angeles,” Huizar told Streetsblog. “They help keep bicyclists and motorists safe, promote multi-modal transportation Downtown and are widely used.
I understand the film industry’s concerns and am open to discuss ways to improve the lanes, but I do not support removing them entirely. They serve a distinct purpose and we should continue to make them available to a growing Downtown community.”
No matter the rhetoric of the dueling Council Members, the decision still rests with the Mayor’s Office. To paint or not to paint?
  • Max

    Honestly, this is a pretty good reason not to use the green paint. Surely, instead of insisting on painting the bike lanes a particular color at the expense of local jobs in the film industry, we can work to come up with a compromise — like a color that does work for both parties?

  • My guess is the color that works for Film L.A. is “invisible.”

  • How is the green paint coming “at the expense of local jobs in the film industry”? Damien posted and linked to several pics just yesterday showing filming continuing to take place. There are many possible solutions, like temporarily covering the bike lane or carefully adjusting camera angles, that could be used. The green bike lane makes filming slightly more complicated, but that’s not the same as driving filming away, and it’s pretty minor compared to the larger economic factors driving runaway production (which have more to do with race-to-the-bottom tax breaks in other states and countries that with anything else).

  • Joe B

    Max is right, we should use a color that is easy to remove from the movies. There’s no reason why we can’t make the bike lanes the same color that the film industry uses when they are doing special effects. What color is that again?

  • El Barto

    Dept of DIY has a solution for this.

  • HighNoon

    What is the reason? That a small constituency, most of who probably don’t live in the area and work there sometimes, don’t like it?

  • Dennis Hindman

    Green is the only color allowed for bike lanes by the Federal Department of Transportation. Its either that color, or nothing at all. LADOT doesn’t have enough money to make all of the bike lanes green. Spring St was one of only two streets in the city of Los Angeles that has green coloring.

  • Anonymous

    I’m guess everyone would be happy if the city said it was physically separating the Spring Street lanes from auto traffic but letting the green fade away.

  • James C.

    There were no physically separated bike lanes in the early 1900’s. So I’m going to guess that Film LA will not be happy with a physically separated bike lane, especially if it involves candlesticks for separation or a new curb for parking the cars to the left of the bike lane.

  • James C.

    I need to see data to convince me that LA is losing film production jobs
    because of the green lane. What was the percentage change in film permits citywide for the last year? What was the percentage change on Spring Street? What was the percentage change on a similar street like Main or 4th or 6th? The claim that Film production os decrease on Spring because of the bike lane can be tested for statistical significance.

  • james

    We should match their complaints with complaints of our own. I am pretty fucking tired of having streets and sidewalks blocked off, tired of having to make detours oask cops for permission to use the sidwalk. Tired of the dirty looks film crews give me for walking in my own neighborhood. They are a bunch of publicly subsidized entitled brats with a grossly inflated sense of self-importance who apparently don’t want LA to have a downtown worth living in.

  • Only two streets so far – surely there was a time that NYC, Vancouver, and Chicago each only had one or two green lanes as well?

  • John

    Because the film industry are a bunch of entitled primadonnas. Fuck em. We should be organizing rides to disrupt their movie shoots.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly. We don’t have to sit and guess. Lets look at some numbers so we can see just how full of sh** Film LA is….I mean, confirm their totally legitimate complaints.


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