By Ashley Beasley
After careful deliberation, Tuesday night, the Venice Neighborhood Council voted to carry out the “Main Street Diet” plan put forth by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
Presented by Paul Backstrom, Transportation Deputy for Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the plan proposes to reduce the four traffic lanes on Main St., between Windward Circle and Rose Avenue, to two lanes, while adding a bike lane on either side and a two-way turning lane in the middle.
This would effectively improve safety for bicyclists and pedestrians, while reducing traffic and parking issues in the area, said Bill Strumple, appointed representative for CD11 from the Bicycle Advisory Committee.
While several members of the Venice cycling community spoke in favor of the Main Street Diet, skeptics voiced their concerns for cyclists’ own safety from the possibility of parked car doors opening in their path and badly injuring them.
“I’m all for bike lanes,” VNC Community Officer Cindy Chambers said, “but don’t want to do it at the risk of someone getting smashed.”
VNC members also voiced concerns for more neighborhood through-traffic, as a result of slower speeds on Main St., and more innovative design options that might include a buffer lane.
But, LA DOT Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery said looking into buffer options and experimental designs could take months or even years to accomplish, and if the board approved LA DOT’s proposal right away, the city could execute the plan in less than two months.
In the end, the VNC approved the motion with two amendments: that the motion approval be made in concept only and the bike lane be widened from five feet to 5 ½ ft.
For more information on the LA DOT Main Street Diet plan, click here.