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Venice NC Committee Calls for Data on, Not Termination of, Mar Vista Road Diet

Keep L.A. Moving pushed against the Mar Vista Venice Boulevard road diet, which remained in place as data showed safety gains. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

For those of us living near the Great Streets/Vision Zero pilot program in West Los Angeles, every day brings new developments in the back-and-forth between advocates for safe streets and advocates for car commuters frustrated by delay. The road diet turned a six-lane road with a bike lane and car parking into a two-lane road with a parking-protected bike lane. The pilot project is set to run for one year, with reports coming in every three months.

Following a raucous Mar Vista Neighborhood Council Meeting in June, some of the pressure that has been on Councilmember Mike Bonin, his staff, and the Mayor has shifted to the local Neighborhood Councils.

The Mar Vista Community Council will meet next Tuesday to hear two motions on the road diet, one calling for its end and another calling for all of the city's data to be shared publicly with the NCs and the general public. The Mar Vista Community Council will be hearing both motions on July 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Mar Vista Recreation Center.

Last night witnessed another drama when nearly four dozen residents and road users packed a committee meeting of the Venice Neighborhood Council, which heard testimony that was split between those in favor of the diet and those opposed. The Mar Vista Council has a long history of support for the project and has held dozens of meetings to gather input from the community. The Venice NC does not have the same history and was widely expected to oppose the project based on an overwhelmingly negative response on social media.

In the end, the committee did not pass a motion to oppose the diet but instead moved an alternate motion similar to the one that will be heard by the MVCC next week calling for better sharing of data.

Venice resident (and Streetsblog volunteer!) John Montgomery wrote a breakdown for Biking In L.A.:

The Venice Neighborhood Council Parking and Transportation Committee met at Canal Club in Venice on Wednesday night and most of the evening was spent discussing the Great Streets project in Mar Vista. About forty people attended, with approximately fifteen residents of Venice taking part. Of the fifteen Venice residents, at least seven turned out in support of the changes in Mar Vista, in addition to several folks outside the area from various nonprofits focused on pedestrian concerns. The rest were from Mar Vista, with some from the Playa area.

meeting-at-canal-club-550x413

For a full write-up, visit Biking in L.A.

Last night while the Venice NC was meeting, the Argonaut published a pair of opinion pieces written by residents that attacked and defended the road diet. The first was written by a trio of authors from Mar Vista, Venice, and Playa Vista opposed to the road diets in Venice and Vista Del Mar. The op/ed is aggressive, citing many negative effects from the early stages of the road diet rollout, with a dash of vitriol for Bonin.

The second was written by...well...it was written by me. Following the negative experiences Board Members have had in meetings and online forums, my piece is literally An Appeal for Civil Discourse. I've been a member of the Neighborhood Council for just under a year, and I've been surprised by the vitriol and anger over this project. It far exceeds what I've seen with other controversial proposals, including large housing and mixed-us projects.

But there's five more days until the Mar Vista Neighborhood Council meeting next week. As Westside residents are learning, a lot can happen in this debate over five days.

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