Council votes to change MOVE Culver City

At the conclusion of a marathon council meeting on Monday night, which eventually adjourned at 2:12 a.m. on Tuesday, council members voted to change MOVE Culver City to allow for bikes and buses to share a lane, increasing the number of car lanes by one. The vote was 3-2, with Vice Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin and Council Member Freddy Puza the two “nay” votes.

Approximately 200 public speakers were either in council chambers or attending virtually, to have their say about Action Item 1 – the only item on the agenda besides the Consent Calendar. Even with each speaker only getting one minute each to speak, that still led to hours of passionate comment. Most, though not all, of the people speaking on Monday evening were strongly in favor of MOVE Culver City, and keeping just the one car lane.

A lengthy presentation by city staff preceded public comment. Research showed that bus and bicycle travel has increased since the start of MOVE, though some members of the council and public pointed out that the numbers are skewed because we also came out of a pandemic and lockdowns during that time.

The numbers also showed that business taxes rose from 15 to 17 percent, though business owners continue to insist that MOVE has adversely affected their income.

The results of a survey were less encouraging for MOVE, with only 13 percent saying that it’s working well and should continue as is. 47 percent said that it should continue but with changes. And 38 percent said that it should be scrapped completely.

Staff presented the council with three options. Option one is to keep and expand the current design/plan. Option two involves light changes. Option three requires bikes and buses to share a lane, while cars will get an extra lane where feasible.

The public on the side of MOVE raised many important points, including the climate crisis and children’s safety. Opponents referred to them as bullies (despite the fact that they didn’t do anything other than show up and speak – the News heard of no violence). 

Council Member Göran Eriksson raised the motion for Option Three, with the slight change that it will be revisited in two years. That passed 3-2.