West Hollywood took a small step toward becoming more bicycle friendly Monday with City Council's consideration of a new report by the Bicycle Task Force.
Charged with finding ways for making the city more bicycle friendly, the Bicycle Task Force made recommendations that included adding bike lanes to San Vicente Boulevard, swapping parking spaces for bike lanes along Santa Monica Boulevard, and adding lanes to Fountain Avenue by reducing the street from four to three lanes (one lane each direction with a center turn lane).
Originally part of the council’s consent calendar, Councilman John Heilman pulled the item, citing concerns about parking and traffic patterns regarding recommendations for Fountain Ave.
Heilman said he was glad to have the task force’s report, but wondered when they were going to get input from non-bikers in the city. Heilman said the bike lane recommendations would greatly impact non-bikers, so their input was needed before the council could act.
Mayor John Duran said he was concerned about how reducing the number of lanes on Fountain would impact on the already gridlocked Sunset and routinely congested Santa Monica boulevards.
Duran, a biker who bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, also said several times he had come close to being hit by people opening their car doors just as he was biking by. He wondered how situations like that could be avoided.
Members of the Bicycle Task Force spoke during public comment, praising the plan, saying it would encourage more people to ride.
The council voted to receive the report and allow various commissions, including the Transportation Commission, to make their recommendations before adopting any of the recommendations.
In 2003, Council received a similar report about adding bike lanes. With out much community support, nothing ever came of the recommendations.
After the meeting, resident Kevin Burton, who served on the task force and is also a member of the , which plans to lobby for the bike lanes, said he was pleased with the report.
“We’ve still got to go through the various commissions before we’ll see any bike lanes added,” Burton said. “It’s still a long way to go, but this was the first step.”
IAJF parking deck continued
The other major item on the council agenda, on the northwest corner of Crescent Heights and Fountain Avenue, was continued until the Jan. 17 council meeting.
Residents living nearby, who have long complained about noise coming from people leaving the IAJF late at night after events in the banquet hall, requested the continuance so they can have more time to prepare.
The council also voted to create a task force to determine whether to remove the Werle Building at 626 Robertson Blvd. from the Master Plan for renovations of West Hollywood Park. The current plan calls for the eventual demolition of that building.
The Werle Building is home to the West Hollywood Recovery Center, which hosts dozens of 12-step recovery group meetings each week. Demolition of the building would leave those groups with no place to meet and could severely impact the sobriety of those involved.
Heilman and Duran agreed to serve on the task force.