Mar Vista Venice Blvd Great Streets Forum Tomorrow-Wednesday Night

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.
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.
This article supported by Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney as part of a general sponsorship package. All opinions in the article are that of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of LABA. Click on the ad for more information.

Tomorrow night, the L.A. City Department of Transportation (LADOT), the mayor’s Great Streets Initiative, and Councilmember Mike Bonin will host an open house on the Mar Vista Great Streets project. The meeting will take place from 6-8 p.m. at the Mar Vista Recreation Center at 11430 Woodbine Street in Mar Vista. If the meeting is anything like the last one, project critics are likely to show up, so it is important that livability advocates attend and speak in support.

Streetsblog readers probably know much of the story of this excellent project which has improved walkability, community, and safety. In May, 2017, the city removed a car lane in each direction and added parking-protected bike lanes for 0.8 miles of Venice Boulevard. The project added much-needed signalized mid-block crosswalks. Opponents have repeatedly pushed for the local Mar Venice Community Council to oppose the project but, to date, the council has supported it. Preliminary data released in October showed minimal driver delays while reducing collisions, injuries, and speeding.

In late 2017, in response to community concerns, a few sections were re-tooled to make things better for right-turning car traffic. In January, LADOT added green pavement markings to make the bike lanes more visible.

Los Angeles Forward  – an organization formed to support Mike Bonin against recall – created the above video to highlight community support for the project. Note that the video features Streetsblog L.A. founder Damien Newton.

Find additional project data via the LADOT’s project website.

Mar Vista Great Streets Open House flier
  • JRusso

    I don’t know what’s more “excellent” about the Venice Blvd Great Street…is it that according to CHP data accidents are up 18% since the lanes were removed or the fact that injuries are up 48%?

    The data is available for anyone to review…it’s obvious these “journalists” aren’t.

  • Nancy Johnson

    I read the full brochure for this. There was a long disclaimer at the end stating that the data was not final and they needed at least 1 or 2 years for the data to reflect the true results. I’m wondering if this means they are going to report the truth that accidents and injuries have gone up significantly and mitigate the fact that is not safer by saying they need more time. Or more likely they will just manipulate the data like last time (e.g. relying only on accidents which resulted in an LAPD report and including accidents that occurred on side streets within 1 block of Venice Blvd.).

  • michael macdonald

    But of course, the important metrics are the number and severity of crashes that result in fatalities and/or serious injury, as the goal of Vision Zero is to reduce the severity of crashes, not the reality of human error.

    It’s unfortunate that traffic safety deniers such as yourself continue to have such a poor understanding of the basic concepts of roadway safety, after months of making yourself heard but never taking a moment to listen in order to better educate yourself.

  • Matt

    If there wasn’t an LAPD report how would anyone know there was an accident?

  • j1998

    It is true it would be better to have 1-2 years of data to get a better picture on the effects of any street modification. However, because people like you are so opposed and raising concerns, data has to be pulled for 6 months of time.

  • Nancy Johnson

    The same way that we know, the push notifications from the LAFD and from people reporting them (we have push notifications or pictures for nearly all of the accidents). If we can do it with having full time jobs, the City of LA shouldn’t have any problem keeping accurate records. Especially if they truly believe that it is safer and accurate data will prove it.

  • Nancy Johnson

    And the “road diet effectiveness deniers” continue to deny that road diets don’t work in Los Angeles due to the high volume of cars and resulting cut-through traffic. Road diets are not a one-size fits all solution.

  • michael macdonald

    Road diets do have many forms. In the case of Venice Blvd, a 7-lane to 5-vehicle lane adjustment was made. Do you have any peer-reviewed scientific studies that explain where such a 7-to-5 lane adjustment would not be effective to improve safety in order to back up your statement?

  • Cali_Patriot

    yaaaahhh! finally L.A. is getting it and bike lanes like these will make our cities so much more liveable. Don’t expect positive comments from car drivers, but living in places like San Francisco and Portland just proved to me what a difference bikes make to revitalizing cities. Once you step outside of your car for transportation, you realize how isolated it makes you, a danger to others, and is literally the cause of much of the destruction of the planet (i.e. fossil fuels, roadways, rubber, landfill, and all of the other pollutants). Try biking once in a while for your commute, you’ll like it.

  • Nancy Johnson

    Road diets do take many forms, and what we need to focus on are the changes and effects of removing the lanes on this specific street. The change was to add a “protected” bike lane. The AASHTO standards caution against protected bike lanes, which is reflected in the LADOT’s own publications that protected bike lanes are only suggested on long blocks with no driveways or intersections (LA Complete Streets Guideline Sec. 5.3). As proven in Davis, CA and Columbus, OH, and right here in Mar Vista, bike accidents increase in protected bike lanes with many intersections/driveways because the cyclists are not visible to the cars. Bonin conceded this point when he removed parking near intersections so more of the bike lane is visible from the street.

    The second aspect of this is the effect on residential side streets when you remove two lanes of traffic on a street that has 52,000 ADT (Cal. Trans 2016 ADT data), those cars divert to residential side streets. The USDOT study on road diets stated that anything in excess of 20,000 ADT generally results in cut-through traffic. (USDOT Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-082). Mike Bonin has already conceded that streets like Pacific Ave. saw a 50% increase in ADT. And there was a fatality on Charnock which is a cut-through street.

    I can back up my statement. The problem is that the pro-road diet crowd can’t back up that this has made it safer for pedestrians or cyclists.

  • michael macdonald

    Nancy- Surely you’re not suggesting that a study from the 1990s on travel volumes of 4-to-3 lane reconfigurations would be applicable to travel volumes for 7-to-5 lane reconfigurations, right? Because to do so would either mean that 1) you think number of travel lanes has no bearing on travel volumes or 2) you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

    AASHTO has endorsed protected bike lanes since at least 2016.

    Please do share the data you are referencing showing an increase in the number of fatalities and severe injuries in the stretch of this project.

  • Nancy Johnson

    The AASHTO’s position is exactly what I said above. I never said they didn’t endorse protected bike lanes but that they caution against them in certain locations, and the locations where they are favored are reflected in LADOT’s complete streets guide. And to add a 3) you believe that the number of lanes should be one factor considered among many factors to determine if a road reconfiguration is appropriate.

    One thing that everyone agrees on is that road diets are not right for all roads and that they have to be determined based on the specific road on which you are implementing it. As phrased by the USDOT, they call it “identifying a successful location” and one of the factors is the “appropriateness of the solution” “Not every bicycle facility needs to be a separated bike lane, and in certain cases it may be appropriate to vary a facility’s separation type or alignment depending on external conditions, such as traffic volumes or adjacent land uses.”

    As I mentioned above, the actual results on Venice Blvd. show that Venice Blvd is not a successful location due to factors specifically identified by AASHTO, USDOT and LADOT, namely traffic volume and driveways/intersections.

    The issue is that the road diet activists aren’t approaching this objectively by looking at the actual results and instead have decided to blindly support all road diets because it fits their vision for what they want in LA.

  • michael macdonald

    Wait, so you really were pointing to a study of volumes of 4-to-3 lane reconfigurations as your justification for labeling a 7-to-5 inappropriate?

    You stated, “LADOT’s own publications” note “that protected bike lanes are only suggested on long blocks with no driveways or intersections,” which is actually not found whatsoever in the guide or the section you referenced. Have you actually read this guide?
    How did you come to misinterpret this guide so greatly?

    Do you see yourself as objective and technically literate with regards to transportation engineering?

  • Fractal

    Quote from section 5.3 of the guide on PBLs:
    ” Apply along streets with long blocks and few or no
    driveway or midblock access points for vehicles.
    Protected Bicycle Lanes located on one-way streets
    will have fewer potential conflicts than those on twoway
    As an observer from afar, interesting to see the experiment and the data after a year or two, particularly crash stats for right turns across the bike track. The merge into the bike track before the intersection seems problematic, are LA motorists yielding to cyclists?

  • michael macdonald

    Are you suggesting that this particular stretch exceeds the engineering guidance for “few” driveways? Nancy had stated that “no driveways or intersections” were permitted.