L.A. City Council Rejects Appeal of Venice Blvd. 'Road Diet'

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council has voted unanimously voted to reject an appeal from neighborhood activists of a so-called “road diet” along Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista.

The project, which reduced lanes along a 0.8-mile stretch of the street, was granted permanent status in December by the city after a pilot period, but the Westside Los Angeles Neighbors Network filed an appeal that said the project should be subjected to an environmental review.

Part of Mayor Eric Garcetti's Great Streets initiative, the project reduced lanes from three to two in both directions and made several changes aimed at improving safety, including the addition of a bike lane.

Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the area, said at a Transportation Committee meeting last week that the changes were made after getting significant feedback from the public.

“The primary feedback we heard during this process is that Venice Boulevard wasn't working well for the community. It was too fast, too loud and felt too unsafe for residents who wanted to access all the businesses along the street,” Bonin said.

After the changes, Bonin said a city report found there had been no serious collisions along the project area, the lanes were still efficient enough to carry the auto traffic and the revenue for nearby businesses had increased.

“People like the new Venice Boulevard,” Bonin said.

Jamie Hall, an attorney representing the Westside Los Angeles Neighbors Network, said at the committee meeting that the appeal was not about whether the project has had a positive impact, but if an environmental review is required.

Hall also argued that the cut-through traffic into side streets and other nearby neighborhoods needs to be studied for an environmental impact, but the Los Angeles Department of Transportation determined the project qualifies as a minor alteration of an existing street, which would make it exempt from review.

Photo: Getty Images

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