Bike lane proposal met with mixed reactions from Westwood community
By Bailey Monte
Nov. 22, 2013 2:28 a.m.
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.