Council Restores Lost Car Lane

The Culver City Council voted 3-2 to end the land dedicated to bicyclists in downtown Culver City.

In areas of Los Angeles County along a corridor from downtown Culver City to La Cienega Boulevard, cars share the road with buses and bicyclists, each in their own protected lanes.

The stretch of changes on Culver and Washington boulevards make them the first streets in L.A. County to feature a designated bus lane for 2.6 miles and a bike lane for 1.4 miles. The bus lanes are marked with cardinal red stripes, while bike lanes are painted a leafy green. Corners feature an azure blue color, and are decorated with flowers to give pedestrians extra space.

“As much as everybody is for bike lanes and improved pedestrian infrastructure, this particular project was so poorly designed and implemented that it had to be changed,” said Ali Lex, a cyclist and Culver City resident. “The negative impacts on residents and businesses have been really bad.”

A survey found 58% of Culver City residents opposed continuing the program.

Darrel Menthe, the Executive Director of the Downtown Business Association, spoke to the meeting with a lengthy list of businesses that he said were unhappy with the MOVE project. “Downtown business need to see some changes. Owners of several restaurants on the corridor. Akasha and Pasta Sisters, voiced their opposition.

He presented a letter from the businesses urging that the dedicated bike lane be eliminated.

Former Councilman Alex Fisch, commented “It’s not enough to be right. We have to defeat the small minded in elections. Period. The livability of the city and the habitability of the planet depend on it.”

Jeannie Wisnowsky spoke in support of protected bike lanes.

The council had three options to choose from.

Keep the project and make it permanent.

Continue the pilot project for a minimum of 2 years and make minor adjustments to address concerns.

Continue the project for a minimum of 2 years and add a second car lane while converting the shared bus and bike lanes into a single lane.

One of the larger concerns was the traffic that was causing traffic onto residential streets as a result of the loss of an automobile lane.

A poll of Culver City residents showed that 58% of those polled said they opposed the program while 38% supported it.

Several speakers noted the automobile restriction on Culver Blvd. had forced more traffic inti adjacent residential areas.

In the end Vice Yasmine-Imani McMorrin and councilman Freddy Puza voted to keep the project while Mayor Vera and councilman O’Brien and Erickson voted for option #3 to scale back the experiment and return the lane to vehicles.

Cyclists will now have to share lanes with buses.

The Culver City Council also reopened Melvil Street, between Washington Boulevard and the city boundary on a 3-2 vote.


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