Friday, January 24

Westwood Boulevard bike lane prank prompts mixed feelings from community

Westwood community members saw Thursday morning that someone had painted a bike lane along Westwood Boulevard. (Keila Mayberry/Daily Bruin staff)

Westwood residents and community members woke up to a fake bike lane on Westwood Boulevard early Thursday morning.

The bike lane, which was drawn in paint along the road, extends from Le Conte Avenue to Lindbrook Drive. Although officials are unsure when the bike lane was drawn, they believe it was likely drawn Wednesday night.

Social media posts about the fake bike lane surfaced as early as Wednesday night.

Juan Matute, an associate director for the UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, tweeted at Paul Koretz – councilmember for District 5, which includes Westwood and UCLA – and the Westwood Neighborhood Council, regarding the new bike lane.

“I have been biking more this year as an electric bike is the best way to guarantee I can make childcare pickup on time,” Matute tweeted Thursday morning. “I appreciate your concern for my safety, my child’s safety, and the safety of other people on bikes.”

Alison Simard, spokesperson for Los Angeles City Council District Five, said the council district did not want to comment on the issue, except to state the incident has been reported to Street Services and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

Some members of the Westwood community expressed mixed feelings about the vandalism.

Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, said bikers in Westwood have been complaining they cannot access Westwood Boulevard, as it is the only road that provides direct access to UCLA’s campus from Westwood. He added although he thinks bikers currently feel unsafe riding in the Village, he does not believe activists should turn to vandalism to address these concerns.

“There is a serious safety concern with bikers confusing the lane as a false perception of safety,” he said. “It’s a great message for Bike Month and now is a time to spread awareness, but in a safe way.”

Organizations in Westwood, including the association, have been advocating for a dedicated bike lane on Westwood Boulevard to protect bikers from incoming traffic and provide them with a direct route to and from UCLA’s campus. Thomas said he proposed an investigation to potentially implement a bike lane on Westwood Boulevard four years ago.

The Westwood Neighborhood Council, which advises Los Angeles on Westwood policies, has rejected these proposals due to fear of disrupting traffic and taking up parking spots along Westwood Boulevard, Thomas said.

Lisa Chapman, president of the council, said the council prefers bike lanes on roads that are less traffic-heavy, since they can be dangerous for bike riders. The council has advocated for bike lanes on Gayley Avenue because it feels the road is safer for bikers to ride on.

Chapman also said she thinks Westwood Forward, a coalition of students and Westwood community members that want to create a new neighborhood council, could be behind the vandalism because the coalition has said it would prefer a Westwood Boulevard bike lane. The coalition will be holding an election Tuesday, where voters can decide whether to create a new neighborhood council.

“It is the most childish stunt I have heard about in quite some time,” she said. “Perhaps (Westwood) Forward is behind this, perhaps not, but it certainly looks very suspicious leading up to an election week.”

Michael Skiles, Graduate Students Association president and an organizer of Westwood Forward, said while the coalition would consider a new bike lane proposal, it is not responsible for the vandalism. He added he watched members of the community utilize the bike lane Thursday without disrupting traffic.

“The lane is more a prank than anything, a message that this could work,” he said.

Skiles also said he thinks the advent of motor scooter services, like Bird Rides, Inc., make a bike lane along Westwood Boulevard more critical than before.

“People don’t feel safe using Birds on the road without dedicated bike lanes but are required by law to not ride on the sidewalk,” he said.

Contributing reports from Qiaozhen Wu, Daily Bruin contributor.

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  • Walt Arrrrr

    Thank you thank you thank you to whoever did this!

  • Warren Meech Wells

    From what community? You interviewed the WNC president, the ED of WNIA, a spokesperson for CD5, and Michael Skiles. May I suggest that it might have been a good idea to check in with someone who actually bikes to school? Or a local student-serving business owner?

  • jennix

    The department of DIY, doing fine work as always. Kudos!

  • Erik Griswold

    The fact that the Westwood Landed Gentry calls them “Bikers” shows just a part of the problem.

  • Marven Norman

    Lisa Chapman, president of the council, said the council prefers bike lanes on roads that are less traffic-heavy, since they can be dangerous for bike riders.

    To be clear, bicyclists have the right to ride wherever they want (except expressways and freeways), but if Westwood Blvd. really is that dangerous [for bike riders], then the City should figure out WHY that is address those issues. My guess is that cars are the issue. Get rid of them, suddenly we don’t need the bike lane anymore.

    • Defend 2nd Amendment

      Wow. Here is full liberal insanity on steriods.

      Bikes do not have the right to be in the middle of traffic lanes where vehicles typically drive. Let’s see you ride where ever you want and see if you don’t get tapped by a delivery truck. And when they interview you from your hospital bed, we all know what you look like so it will be easy for us to recognize, be sure to bring up this post as I told you so:-):-):-)

      • Marven Norman

        Please go review the vehicle code and return when you’re knowledgeable on the subject, which currently you are not.

        • Defend 2nd Amendment

          No it is not marven. Bikes do not have the right of way on roads where vehicles travel. Print this thread and have it in your back pocket and just ask the nurse to get it for you. Try it – don’t say I told you so.

          • Marven Norman

            Actually, I already do carry a card with the vehicle code printed on it which explicitly states that riding in the lanes is both legal and necessary. But thanks for playing.

            Also, please don’t get your articles confused. If you want to troll Cleantechnica, at least pick a subject that is not so easily disproved. You apparently didn’t bother to actually read the two year old Scientific American article you keep linking to, which clearly states that “In the absence of clean electricity, hybrid cars that can travel 50 or more miles on a gallon of gasoline produce the least emissions.” Of course, since the article is over two years old, the situation has changed to be even more favorable for EVs and in the parts of the country where the bulk of the people live and the EVs are owned, there is nothing without a plug that is better.

            And I could care less about Tesla’s build quality, especially since I never made any claims about it in the first place. Again, try to keep up. Tesla is far from the only EV on the market and build quality issues are definitely NOT limited to EVs and Tesla. Just a couple weeks ago, Ford had to recall over a million vehicles because the steering wheel falls off.

          • Defend 2nd Amendment

            Try it marven – let’s see if you have the guts to carry off what you preach. Drive in the vehicle lane and see how it works out for you. And why do you carry a card with the vehicle code on it ? So you can prove you are right? LOL….I really hope you don’t get killed in doing a stupid stunt like that marven – I really do want you to survive so you can be in a hospital bed reading this thread of where I told you so. But on the other hand, you could be right but also dead. Good luck as it appears you really will need it.

            As for the fraud site uncleantechnica, I’m not confused. Just replying to your response as I can’t do so on that site. If you understand, most of the power generation from this country comes from fossil fuels and very little from renewables. And we are doing this whole song and dance for what – to burn more fossil fuels and to put more hazardous wastes into our landfills? That’s pretty brilliant.

            FORD vehicles do not cost an arm and a leg like Teslas to repair. FORD actually knows a thing about auto manufacturing and FORD is NOT burning through 2 billion dollars this year! And FORD is profitable while Tesla is NOT after 15 years.

            Just how much Koolaide does one have to drink to be this deep about this EV nonsense?!!!