CC City Council Green-lights Opening of Jackson Gate to Ballona Creek Path
August 26, 2021
After a long discussion on a familiar issue, the Culver City Council this week voted 3-2 to open the Jackson Avenue gate to the Ballona Creek bike path for use by the general public.
Voting against the opening were Councilmembers Albert Vera and Goran Eriksson.
According to city officials, there are currently 5 La Ballona Creek Multi-Use Path public openings into residential neighborhoods in Culver City. The gate at the east end of Jackson Avenue has been closed and used only for maintenance access.
"The La Ballona Creek Multi-Use Path offers a protected route for students and parents, commuters, and visitors to travel within the City, assists in relieving heavily congested areas of traffic by providing a travel alternative, and facilitates an environmentally friendly method of traveling," said city staff in its report.
The opening the Jackson Avenue gate is "expected to increase usage of the path, would provide an additional access point along the path for emergency responders, and offer a less physically challenging entry/exit point at the same elevation as the path," said city staff.
But many residents told the Council at its Monday night's meeting that opening the Jackson gate would pose many "safety and liability hazards" to their neighborhood.
Culver City Police Chief Manny Cid said the creek has, over the last handful of years, been a safe place "but also obviously not without crime." He noted that "most of the crime on the creek was vandalism, [graffiti, etc.] and that there are a fair amount of homeless people living there as well."
Over the past five years, community members and bikers have made formal request to open the gate for general public use but they have been rebuffed by the previous Councils.
On June 22, the Mobility, Traffic & Parking Subcommittee discussed the possible opening of the Jackson Avenue gate and received pro and con comments from the community. The Subcommittee recommended that Council approve a pilot opening of the Jackson gate.
"We can't sit in 'analysis paralysis' and wait for another 15 studies of what may or may not happen," said Mayor Alex Fisch at Monday's meeting, urging action on the issue. "We ignore the systemic risk that comes from not taking action."
Following a lengthy public hearing, Fisch was joined by Vice Mayor Daniel Lee and Councilmember Yasmine McMorrin in approving the requested public access to La Ballona Creek path.