Maybe It's NOT a Good Idea to Turn Venice into another Wilshire Blvd

LOS ANGELES

ALPERN AT LARGE--I've said this so many times I feel like a broken record:  I can't stand conspiracy theories and theorists ... but I REALLY can't stand it when those theories and theorists are proven correct. (Photos above: Venice Blvd, left and Wilshire Blvd right.) 

Even in this age of "fake news" and a horrific proliferation of agendas, both public and hidden, to contend with, it does appear that there are a few facts to consider with respect to Venice Blvd. 

The obscene efforts to alter well-meant mobility, mass transit, and pedestrian/bicycle/bus rider-friendly initiatives into a push for unsustainable overdevelopment coupled with a faux-transit (not pro-transit, but faux-transit) approach does call into question whether or not the ultimate end-game of the Venice Blvd bike lane/reconfiguration is to turn it into another Wilshire Blvd ... 

... complete with a long series of high-rises and traffic development that spurs the NEXT wave of transportation funding and subway advocacy by 2025 or even earlier. 

  • Because, you know ... affordable housing.  Even if the bulk of the housing/development push will be anything but affordable. 
  • Because, you know ... Silicon Beach.   
  • Because, you know ... after Playa Vista there aren't any remaining untouched pieces of land to overdevelop and complete the Manhattanization of the Westside. 
  • Because, you know ... mass transit.  And didn't the Expo Line effort consider an alternative route down Venice Blvd to get to the beach, and isn't the center median an old rail right of way? 
  • Because, you know ... ending our car-dependent culture.  Even though the increasing trend of employment indicates that job location inevitably changes and forces most of us into cars for very long commutes ... sooner or later. 

Most of us will be aghast at such a conversion of the suburban, increasingly urban hunk of the Westside into another Wilshire Blvd, but hey, look at how great Wilshire Blvd is turning out? 

And wouldn't it be "kewl" to have another Wilshire Blvd, with lots of high-rises and high-taxable housing and development with its own light rail line (or even subway!) to replace what used to be a state-owned secondary freeway arterial to supplement the I-10?  

Wouldn't it be "kewl" to sticking it to "the man" and the "big oil companies" by creating another Wilshire Blvd on the Venice Blvd corridor, and by starting it with a pilot project of converting a car lane into a bicycle/bus lane on Venice Blvd from Lincoln Blvd to the Expo Line, the I-10 freeway, or even to Downtown? 

On the other side argument however, there are a fair number of “maybe’s.” 

  • Maybe ... using the well-intentioned efforts to create a Downtown Mar Vista with pedestrian, bicycle, parking, and bus amenities is just an inappropriate way to introduce another Wilshire Blvd of the Westside on Venice Blvd. 
  • Maybe ... the "Wilshire Blvd-like vision" on Venice Blvd. is morally akin to ripping out the neighborhood's right arm and then beating that neighborhood over the head with it, all simply because it took on the efforts of compromise with respect to transportation and development. 
  • Maybe ... those who had and have and paid/are paying major coin to live on the Westside shouldn't have to suddenly deal with a flood of high-rises blocking out the sun and making them feel closed-in within their own neighborhoods. 
  • Maybe ... the environmental nightmare created by the establishment of a second Wilshire Blvd. along the Venice Blvd. corridor isn't smart, healthy, or conducive with biology or physics. 

And … 

  • Maybe ... maybe ... behind the smiling, happy-face, "Great Streets" and "Vision Zero" efforts of Mayor Garcetti and his creepy, sneaky, and data-withholding propagandists like Nat Gale taking over the LADOT is NOT a proper way to run Planning or Transportation in the City of the Angels. 

Not in the 20th or 21st Centuries.  Not then.  Not now.  Not ever.

 

(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud father and husband to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at alpern@marvista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)

-cw

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