Saturday, July 20

LA City Council votes to move bike lane from Westwood Boulevard to Gayley

City council voted Sept. 7 to put a bike lane on Gayley Avenue. (Daily Bruin file photo)

City council voted Sept. 7 to put a bike lane on Gayley Avenue. (Daily Bruin file photo)

The Los Angeles City Council voted Sept. 7 to change the location of a planned Westwood bike lane to the region of Gayley and Midvale avenues that is between Le Conte and Ohio avenues.

Councilmember Paul Koretz, who represents Westwood and surrounding neighborhoods, proposed to amend the Mobility Plan 2035, which included Westwood Boulevard in its bicycle network. The plan aims to reduce congestion on busy thoroughfares such as Westwood Boulevard over the next 20 years through improvements to bike lanes, bus lanes and sidewalks.

Residents disputed the lane’s original location on Westwood Boulevard because they believe the street is too busy to accommodate more bike lanes safely.

Bike lanes already exist on Westwood Boulevard north of Le Conte Avenue and between Wellworth Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. The amended network will direct cyclists to travel one block west after Ohio Avenue and utilize bike lanes on Midvale and Gayley avenues.

Koretz told The Bruin in May that he supports bike lanes in Westwood Village, but not on Westwood Boulevard.

He originally tried to amend the plan to exclude Westwood Boulevard without a set alternative. He proposed moving the lane to Gayley and Midvale avenues in May after the City Planning Commission decided Westwood Boulevard was too important as a north-south corridor to remove from the plan.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and the planning commission have approved the amendment since.The council approved the amendments with a 10-2 vote

Dan Weinberg, a manager at Helen’s Cycles on Gayley Avenue, said he thinks the lane’s original location on Westwood Boulevard is better for businesses and cyclists alike.

He said he thinks cyclists would have the chance to interact with more businesses on Westwood Boulevard, which is primarily businesses and restaurants. Gayley Avenue only has four blocks of businesses before becoming the primarily residential Midvale Avenue, he said.

Weinberg added he thinks a bike lane benefits new cyclists who are experimenting with commuting more sustainably, but experienced cyclists already know how to navigate the road.

He said he thinks new cyclists will probably ride their bikes on Westwood Boulevard because it is the most direct route to the Village and UCLA from several bus stops and the Metro Rail Expo Line station that opened in May.

“A bike lane (on Gayley Avenue) is better than having no bike lanes,” he said. “But a lot of people aren’t going to go on Gayley and could get discouraged from commuting.”

He added he thinks more people are interested in commuting because the Los Angeles Metro Rail Expo Line station on Westwood Boulevard is open.

Ara Morimoto, the manager of Westwood Flower Garden on Gayley Avenue, said she thinks a bike lane on Gayley Avenue would not affect the amount of traffic to the store.

She said she thinks a bike lane would be better on Westwood Boulevard because it has more businesses and is wider, straighter and flatter than Gayley Avenue.

Christine Baker, a UCLA extension student who rides her bike to class twice a week, said she thinks Gayley Avenue is a better choice for the lane.

She said she thinks cyclists would have an easier time using Gayley Avenue because it has fewer pedestrians and less traffic.

The lane’s exact location can still be changed during the implementation process, which could be anytime over the next 20 years.

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Catherine Liberty Feliciano was a news reporter and a staff representative on the Daily Bruin Editorial Board. She wrote stories about Westwood, research and student life. She dabbled in video journalism and frequently wrote #ThrowbackThursday blogs. Feliciano was an assistant Opinion editor in the 2015-2016 school year.

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  • Michael Cahn

    Thanks for this update. Dan is quite right: Failure to provide for cyclists on the main approach to our world class university remains an absurd outcome. Westwood Boulevard without bike lanes will continue to endanger the lives of vulnerable road users and continue the pain and tauma that occurs when bicycles and cars crash.

    Bikelanes have been shown to lead to safer driving standards, but Koretz refuses to accept this fact. Home owner associations in the neighborhood, especially the Westwood Neighborhood Council, have firmly and repeatedly spoken against bike lanes on Westwood Blvd. They still live in a car bubble which is about to burst. Koretz has sided with them because they are more reliable voters than the students.

    The article refers to this consituency as “residents.” I prefer to refer to them as the long-time leadership of the Westwood Neighborhood Council. While local business looks upon bicycle infrastructure very favorably, the WWNC leadership want none of it. The voice of concerned residents like that of Calla Wiemer [] has never been acknowledged by the WWNC which lacks experience about cycling to UCLA. Lisa Chapman, the current president of the Westwood Neighborhood Coucil, should have been asked for a statement. She occupies a UCLA staff seat on the WWNC. The language of ignorace and hysteria can always be relied upon to communicate what is necessary.

    BTW: The Westwood Neighborhood council seems to show an opening for a student seat, “to be selected at October 2015 [sic] board meeting.” Any volunteers?