New Data Shows Venice Blvd Great Street Success, Council Re-Vote Tonight

Great news released this week by LADOT and Councilmember Mike Bonin: improvements to Venice Boulevard are delivering on their intended purpose -
 making the street safer. Image via Mike Bonin Facebook
Great news released this week by LADOT and Councilmember Mike Bonin: improvements to Venice Boulevard are delivering on their intended purpose - making the street safer. Image via Mike Bonin Facebook

Yesterday, L.A. City Councilmember Mike Bonin publicized new city Transportation Department (LADOT) three-month data on recent Venice Boulevard Great Streets safety improvements. In May, for a 0.8-mile stretch in Mar Vista, LADOT reduced a travel lane in each direction, and added mid-block crossings and protected bike lanes. The data shows “Venice Boulevard is safer, with fewer speeding cars, and minimal disruption to travel times for commuters.”

LADOT’s Venice Boulevard data is available on the city’s project website, which includes a page on project evaluation.

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Venice Boulevard average travel time has increased somewhat, mostly during the evening rush hour. Chart via LADOT

According to LADOT data, travel times have increased somewhat, especially during the evening rush hour. This result, while not welcome to many drivers, was an expected consequence of a project designed to increase safety by slowing down car traffic. As Bonin characterizes the data, “the average commute time has increased less than one minute… the pilot program is working as intended.”

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Speed surveys show less speeding in the Mar Vista stretch of Venice Boulevard since the Great Streets project was implemented. Chart via LADOT

Speed is one of the biggest factors in how deadly and injurious car crashes are. The posted speed limit on this stretch of Venice Boulevard is 40 miles per hour. Pre-project LADOT speed studies found 85th percentile drivers (how the state mandates speed surveys be performed – during periods of free flowing traffic) breaking the law by speeding 41 mph. After the project was implemented, those speeds dropped to be within the legal limit: 35 to 38 mph. Nearby speeds (west of Louella Avenue and west of Barry Avenue) continue to be surveyed showing drivers above the legal speed limit.

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Venice Boulevard project area collisions have dropped. Chart via LADOT

The project has also reduced collisions. LADOT data show a reduction in collisions and injury collisions (measured on an average per-month basis for the year proceeding the project, and the three months since it has been in place.

In Bonin’s article, he mentions that, even with the “encouraging” data, the city is responding to concerns and suggestions to make the project even better. Bonin reports three additional improvements in the works:

  • The city is re-tooling the way that some right turns work; these will be installed by the end of October.
  • The city will install “clearer, less confusing, striping” green paint for the bike lanes.
  • In order to address concerns with emergency response vehicles being slowed, the city has been “installing transponders in fire trucks to allow for quick access through signals on Venice Boulevard.”

Though the project has already been a big success, opponents continue their unruly stream of criticism. Comments on social media have called the LADOT figures “fake stats,” “alternative facts,” and “fake news.” The Recall Bonin campaign took out ads on Instagram claiming the safety improvement announcement is “dishonest.”

Instagram screen shot
Instagram screen shot

Bonin recall proponents show their lack of basic math understanding, questioning how three months can be compared to 12 months. The LADOT figures are, of course, clearly noted to be comparable monthly averages.

All this comes as the Mar Vista Community Council has the project on its agenda again – the third time since the project was implemented in May. The MVCC board voted in support of the project in July, then re-affirmed this by tabling an anti-project motion in September.

Tonight’s agenda includes the postponed September motion calling to “immediately reverse the lane reduction component on Venice Boulevard.” The MVCC board meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the Mar Vista Recreation Center Auditorium at 11430 Woodbine Street.

  • Terrence1

    Ugh people are so damn stupid, they think anything slower than 50 MPH ruins their commute, when the fact is the actual commute time changes are minimal. Even if your commute is 5 minutes longer, projects like this are a huge overall win for the community!

  • D G Spencer Ludgate

    Well, even though the math of the Recall Bonin group is off, Bonin’s comparison is statistically inaccurate.

    A full year needs to be compared to a full year (or compare it to the May to August 2016 period). The 2017 period is only during the summer. Longer daylight hours, no rain, schools are out, no time changes (PST/PDT), fewer cars on the road, etc. The May 2016 to April 2017 period has record rainfall, which leads to increased collisions.

    Before a conclusion is made, let’s see the average injury and collision rates are after the November time change and 15 inches of rain.

  • Vooch

    Its totally worth it to have a few dead children and grandmas to save me 5 minutes getting to work.

  • D Man

    Bonin used LAPD data which only includes accidents for which the LAPD shows up AND prepares a report, which is only for accidents with serious injuries (and there aren’t and were never many of those).

    If you compare last years stats to the CHP Statewide Integrated Traffic Records Systems and the actual accidents which are being recorded by the neighborhood (photographed and data collected (time, date and what happened), accidents are up significantly. Most of them involve bicycles t-boning cars turning across the “hidden” bike lanes or car on car accidents as a result of the increased congestion and reduced street width available for cars.

    It seems as though the pro-bike crowd has dug their heels into this battle despite the fact that the hidden bike lane is actually proving to be very dangerous to cyclists.

  • D Man

    And by comparing the accidents to the CHP Statewide Integrated Traffic Records Systems. Bonin used LAPD data which only includes accidents for which the LAPD shows and and prepares a report, which is only for accidents with serious injuries. If there isn’t an injury, LAPD won’t even show up – let alone prepare a report – so the vast majority of accidents were excluded from Bonin’s data.

  • dexter

    “Most of them involve bicycles t-boning cars turning across the “hidden”
    bike lanes or car on car accidents as a result of the increased
    congestion and reduced street width available for cars.”

    That people driving would call this “hidden” should scare the hell out of everyone. If you can’t see a bike lane that is about 10 feet wide, you probably aren’t paying very close attention or shouldn’t have a driver’s license.

    If true, and I’m skeptical that it is, then the motorist would be at fault for not yielding to oncoming traffic. It is only more dangerous for cyclists if people driving are not following the law. This is not a design problem, it is a driver education and enforcement problem, so hopefully they start writing a bunch of tickets to these fools and who can stop turning across oncoming traffic, just like your supposed to. Then, this manufactured/mythological “danger” to cyclists (being asserted by people who are NOT riding bikes) can be ignored once and for all.

  • Fred Davis

    As a cyclist with years of experience riding on Venice Blvd., I can say in no uncertain terms that this arrangement is no less safe than the previous configuration. The bike lane, “hidden” or not, has never stopped drivers from turning into the bike lane in a dangerous manner. Witness it first-hand on Venice and Sepulveda any day of the week.

  • D Man

    “This is not a design problem,” Hahahaha. Is that why Bonin already acknowledged the design problem and is removing parking spaces at intersections to increase visibility?

    Do you even live anywhere near this or have any clue what they actually did? They concealed the bike lane behind a row of cars which made the visible distance insufficient given the speed of the bikes. In other words, the time it takes for the bike to travel the distance was less than the distance visible from the car. This is called a NEGLIGENT DESIGN. Please stop car-shaming drivers.

  • Joe Linton

    Hmmm… lemme think what I would trust more: data that just started being collected by a whiny entitled group of drivers pushing to undo the project on one hand. data that’s been collected for years by governmental agencies on the other hand. Hmmm… who to trust?

  • Where exactly do you think CHP gets SWITRS data from? Unless Venice is a state highway, CHP isn’t out there collecting data at all and even then, they also only report collisions that they respond to.

  • D Man

    The CHP data shows more accidents that the LAPD data. There must be some explanation for that.

  • There is: the number of crashes has gone down.

  • dexter

    BOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!

  • Tom McClintock

    I live in Mar Vista, commute 9 miles to work both on bike and by car, and I can say without a doubt that the stretch on Venice with the protected bike lane is the safest I’ve ever felt in the entire city. Car and bikes BOTH need to learn to share the roads, but I can guarantee bicyclists are far more aware of their surroundings than drivers. And frankly, this is an LA specific problem. Go to SF, Boston, NYC, any other major city with high numbers of bicyclists and you don’t see the same bike-blindness. This is not a design problem, it’s just unfamiliarity with sharing the roads.

  • disqus_AfnPm9gH1X

    How does that make any sense?

  • Chef_Italia

    A little more information is a good thing, especially when it helps us to understand why the collision rate has declined. It seems that the City neglected (forgot?) to post the fact that traffic volume has declined on this Great stretch of Venice Blvd. The real question then becomes, “How much does the reduction in traffic, diverted to side streets, result in reduced collision rate vs. the slowdown?”

    And a reminder – most of the collisions, whether involving cars, bikes or pedestrians, occurred during non-rush hour times of day. People are still speeding during those hours.

    An observation I made yesterday – a pedestrian, two car lengths from a mid-block pedestrian signal, couldn’t even bother to walk that far. He jaywalked across the boulevard. I’m pleased with the pedestrian signals myself, but…. jaywalkers will be jaywalkers!

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