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Takin’ It to the Streets: Protestors Gather Over Road Conditions on Venice Blvd.

I was just 100 yards into CicLAvia to the Sea, when I heard the loud "pop." It wasn't just a broken tube, but my entire rear tire looked as though it were chewed up by some sort of monster hiding in the asphalt.

Venice Boulevard struck again.

Thanks to Dan Rodman and the wizards at Bikerowave, I was back on the saddle in a half hour. Rodman commented that I was riding on a new wheel, and a good $50 one at that. "You're the victim of bad luck," he lamented.

I knew better.

I was the victim of one of the worst maintained roads in the city. Venice Boulevard.

And I'm not the only one who feels this way. One week later, dozens of Mar Vista residents and Venice Blvd. commuters took to the streets at Venice and Grand Ave. waving signs from the street corner reading "We Pay Taxes for Usable Streets" and "Honk to Repair Venice."

While it wasn't the largest rally ever seen, it might be one of the first times that we've seen sign an actual protest over road conditions. And the response from passer-byers was pretty overwhelming.

"Many people approached me during the protest and stated how disgusted they were with the condition of Venice Blvd. Several told me stories of those they know who have been hurt trying to navigate all the potholes and cracks," writes Linda Jones, the protest organizer. 

During Streetsblog's interview with Aaron Paley, the executive director of CicLAvia, we discussed how Venice is classified as a state highway in West L.A., leaving it under the jurisdiction of Caltrans, the California Department of Transportation. For it's part, Caltrans claims there are plans to repave "portions" of Venice Boulevard this summer. A spokesperson for Senator Ted Lieu says that the agency has already completed a series of "temporary fixes" with permanent ones coming later this summer.

Temporary fixes? That's news to the sign waivers who are wondering what "temporary fixes" they're talking about.

"I hope that the protest will shame Caltrans into action...but I doubt it," continues Jones.

In addition to online media, the event was covered by L.A. Channel 34. Jones hopes that the Mar Vista Community Council prioritizes a Venice Boulevard repaving to make sure that Caltrans keeps its pledge.

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