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Mar Vista Council Postpones Re-Vote On Venice Blvd Great Streets

10:44 AM PDT on September 13, 2017

The Mar Vista Community Council did not approve motions to reverse recent Venice Boulevard safety improvements. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

In a somewhat anti-climactic non-vote, last night the Mar Vista Community Council stood by its past support for the Venice Boulevard Great Streets project by postponing a re-vote on the project.

In May, the city of L.A. Transportation Department implemented safety improvements on Mar Vista's Venice Boulevard. These included 0.8 miles of new and improved pedestrian crossings, parking-protected bike lanes, and vehicle lanes reduced from three to two in each direction.

In July, the MVCC board supported the Venice Boulevard improvements by voting down a motion calling for a reversal of the Venice Boulevard lane reduction.

At last night's meeting, there were three motions again calling for the same reversal. None of the reversal motions were approved, or even voted up or down. Though there were lots of supporters and opponents present, the board ended up not allowing public comment. Several boardmembers asserted that a straightforward reversal motion (motion "M") did not follow the procedure for how to reconsider a previously rejected motion. The board was unable to reach agreement on how to resolve the issue, so they ended up voting to table (essentially to indefinitely delay) the motion in order to verify how their decision-making rules apply to this situation.

On 6-5 votes, two of the reversal motions ("N" and "O") were sent back to be reconsidered in MVCC's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. These were "Director's Motions" which bypass committees, and the majority of the board decided that they should instead go through the MVCC's established committee structure.

Kent Strumpell, a bicycle advocate in attendance, described the meeting as follows:

The room was pretty much full and the representation of opponents and supporters of the Venice Blvd. project seemed roughly equal, judging by the appearance of the audience members and levels of applause heard in response to comments related to their respective viewpoints. Debate amongst the board was extremely heated at times with one member losing his temper at one point. There was strong debate on whether to allow public comment, out of respect for the people who had shown up to express their views on the subject again. In the end comment was limited to other agenda items and issues peripheral to the Venice Blvd. project.

A fourth Venice Boulevard motion ("L") passed, requesting several things: making more city data available, appointment of a point person, and reports back to MVCC.

The reversal motions are likely to return to committees and the full board in October.

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