MAR VISTA (CBSLA.com) — Opponents of a project called “Road Diet” confronted Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin Tuesday night for causing gridlock in their neighborhood of Mar Vista while the Mar Vista Community Council decided not to vote on a proposal to restore lanes on Venice Boulevard.
Critics were furious at Bonin for implementing Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative, which aims to remove one lane of traffic on each side of one major thoroughfare in every Los Angeles City Council district and add bike lanes and parking.
A portion of Venice Boulevard between Beethoven Street and Inglewood Boulevard was reduced to one lane.
Critics said removing a lane has created bottle-neck traffic during rush hour, making commutes longer and forcing drivers to make unsafe moves, like cutting across bike lanes to make right turns.
They said not only does the one-lane portion of Venice Boulevard create extra gridlock, it makes it impossible for ambulances to pass through during emergencies, as shown in a video recorded by a neighbor.
“The lanes on Venice Boulevard must be restored immediately,” one woman said.
Opponents also said they felt tricked and now unsafe on the city’s evacuation route for a natural disaster.
“Are people going to bike out of Venice when there’s a Tsunami coming? I don’t think so,” one man said.
“Councilman Bonin, this is going to lead to a recall election,” another critic said.
But the project’ supporters said people need to give it a chance.
“I want to ask you to stick to the term of this plan for a year because this is all about a change of habit,” one supporter said.
“Any ways of slowing traffic down is better, and talking about all the problem with buildings and cars. There’s too many cars,” another supporter said.
The L.A. Department of Transportation said it will present the data it has collected at the next community council meeting on July 22.