Sunday, May 27

Bike lane proposal met with mixed reactions from Westwood community

Some Westwood community members are at odds about a proposed floating bike lane on Westwood Boulevard.

L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz recently announced he does not support the bike lane, which would be located on Westwood Boulevard between National and Santa Monica boulevards. If approved, it would provide a bike lane on the street during certain times of the day in place of parallel parking. The location of the lane would change depending on what time of the day it is and whether or not cars are allowed to park on the street.

The lane was first proposed by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in February, said Eric Bruins, the planning and policy director of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.At the time, a group of homeowners expressed concern over the potential negative traffic and parking implications.

Koretz agreed to have a Los Angeles Department of Transportation study done to investigate the implications of implementing a floating bike lane on Westwood Boulevard. But a few months after it began, Koretz ended the study.

Koretz said that the results of the study wouldn’t have changed many community members’ immense opposition to the concept of a floating bike lane due to traffic and public safety concerns.

“I looked at the issue and heard a firestorm of opposition from the community,” Koretz said. “I decided at the end of the day that regardless of what the study reported, it would be unlikely that I would support it.”

Many community members said they were disappointed and upset that the study was ended prematurely.

Among them was Jonathan Weiss, who serves as Koretz’s appointee to the City of Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee.

“I think the experts should be allowed to do their jobs, so we can get the real facts on which to base decisions,” Weiss said.

Some students said they agreed with Koretz’s decision to oppose the floating bike lane because it would cause increased traffic on Westwood Boulevard.

John Kang, a second-year psychology and economics student, said traffic during rush hour is bad enough without adding more commuters, and the influx of cyclists on the road could cause more accidents.

It’s not safe for bicyclists either way. While (the lane would be) a little safer for bikers, it causes more traffic for drivers,” Kang said.

Several members of the UCLA community bike on Westwood Boulevard to get to and from campus, and said they were upset that the floating bike lane would not be implemented because of the current danger of having cyclists ride in the same lanes as motorists.

Lana Martin, a graduate student in anthropology, rides her bike to and from UCLA every day.

She said the bike lane on Westwood Boulevard is preferable to any of the side streets around UCLA because it is the flattest and most direct route to UCLA. She said she believes more students and faculty would ride their bikes if there were a bike lane.

“It is dangerous currently,” Martin said. “And I know a lot of people would bike to campus if it was safer, but they find it stressful to be that vigilant.”

Koretz said he will support further investigation of Sepulveda Boulevard as a viable corridor for future bike lanes.

Contributing reports by Kendal Mitchell, Bruin contributor.

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  • Matt Ruscigno RD MPH

    So instead of learning if increased traffic is a fact by letting the study be done, Koretz would rather base his decision on opinion? And then the article quotes a student who also gives his opinion as fact?
    Let’s look to the LA County Bicycle Coalition who has actual data on this issue. You may be surprised what you learn.

  • Calla Wiemer

    Koretz is essentially saying he’s completely closed minded when it comes to facts. Better not to have facts at all.

  • Michael Cahn

    This bikelane would offer a safer connection to campus for the cyclists who arrive with the Expo line and its bike path. What public safety concerns? By caving in to vocal homeowners who are afraid of cut-through traffic, Koretz is putting UCLA cyclists in harms way. That is not OK. The article should have mentioned that bicycle connectivity to campus (from all directions) is very poor indeed:

  • burntorange

    A few vocal individuals in a homeowners association who have an outsized influence on the Council Office do not qualify as “immense opposition.” Homeowners are not a monolithic group, even if the HOA leadership wants it to appear that way.

  • Thinking_Ape

    I’m in favor of the bike lane but paint on the road doesn’t necessarily make you safer when you’re on your bike. Your safety is mostly determined by how you ride. Be visible. Be predictable.