The Culver City council considered a presentation from Streets for All on a proposed dedicated bike and bus lane running down the entire length of Venice Boulevard, some of which lies in Culver City.
Founder of Streets for All Michael Schnider, who also served as chair of transportation for the Mid City West Community Council lead the presentation.
He began by explaining that most major streets in the LA area have seven lanes: two that travel in each direction, two for parking, and a central turn lane on one side. Venice has nine, with an extra set of directional lanes, and is the only street that directly connects Downtown LA to the ocean.
There is already action being taken towards improving the ability for the street to accommodate other modes of transportation, with a protected bike lane and a dedicated bus lane along the entire stretch of the street is on the city of Los Angeles’ 2035 mobility plan.
According to the presentation, the .8 mile stretch of protected bike lane currently installed in Mar Vista’s portion of the street increased the traffic time for cars by 46 seconds Westbound in the morning and 1 minute and 31 seconds headed Eastbound at. For the reverse commute, the lane increased times by 14 seconds headed east in the morning and 3 seconds headed west in the afternoon.
Schnider argued that one of the benefits to the addition of a bus lane is to potentially make the bus more attractive to ride during rush hour, and says it is a more efficient use of lane space. He also claims that more people would ride their bikes if they were not afraid to die while doing so.
The implementation of these lanes would still leave Venice Boulevard with two vehicle traffic lanes as other streets have, but streetside parking would be eliminated in favor of improved biker safety. Cars would be slowed down, but this would also make crossing the street safer, according to the presentation.
Venice Boulevard runs through an area covered by over 10 different governments and neighborhood boards, so Streets for All has been busy collecting support for the lanes. The Palms Neighborhood Council passed a motion to submit a letter of support for the project on May 1, 2020, and the South Robertson Neighborhood Council passed a similar motion on Oct. 22. On Dec. 1, the Del Rey Neighborhood Council submitted their letter supporting the lanes.
Following the presentation, there was unanimous support to write their own letter encouraging focus on this project, but councilmember Goran Eriksson had a few words before the motion was passed.
He noted that the project was similar to the Move Culver City project on Washington, as well as the Culver Boulevard Mobility Lane, and wondered about other traffic studies and what city staff and council could learn from them.
Schneider said his organization had not done any more studies outside of the Mar Vista area, and noted that while Streets for All was pushing for the lanes, the implementation would be done mainly by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Schneider explained that the undertaking would include traffic studies conducted by the county.
While all the councilmembers seemed to be in agreement to move forward in supporting this, the vote has to come at the next council meeting to allow city staff time to draft the resolution.