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Spring Street bike lane poised for a paint job despite film industry concerns

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2013, at 10:00AM
Hayley Fox

Councilman José Huizar has introduced a motion to have the L.A. Department of Transportation repaint the Spring Street bike lane.

Downtown councilman José Huizar has started the ball rolling to have the peeling paint along the Spring Street bike lane re-painted once again.

The six-foot wide path that runs down Spring Street is painted a distinctive green to help increase driver awareness of cyclists and improve overall street safety. The bike lane was first painted back in 2011 as part of a pilot program, but has had to be re-painted and touched up multiple times since.

Transportation officials said that variables such as sun exposure and roadway composition caused the paint to splotch and rub-off the road completely, and they have since been experimenting with different paint types and "infill materials" to avoid this issue in the future.

Huizar introduced a motion last week that asks the L.A. Department of Public Transportation (LADOT) to repaint the lane once again, citing its notable effects on the community despite its deterioration.

The motion states: "The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition's annual bicycle counts recorded a dramatic increase in the number of bicycles following installation of the green bike lane on Spring Street. Residents and local businesses support continued maintenance of the painted lane."

And although many locals are in favor of the green bike lane, the film industry is opposed to it.

The Source reports that many in Hollywood have said the lane makes film shoots in the area difficult because it is a distracting visual in the middle of a scene.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Spring Street used to be the "perfect stand-in for Anytown, USA," as the architecture of the street made it ideal for car commercials and nearly timeless for period pieces. Since the green lane appeared, film crews have been forced to relocate to a block over on Main.

But with all the high-tech movie technology, couldn't the green lane just be erased in post production?

While the ease and possibility of this is still up for debate, Huizar has decided to keep the green Spring Street lane but work with the film industry to figure out a solution for the future.

Huizar's motion motion states: "LADOT should also work with Film L.A. and federal regulators and report back on alternative shades and methods, which may be used for future painted bikeways, or maintenance, that would meet federal standards while allowing for filmmakers to "digitally remove" bike lanes for the purpose of film and television, and/or provide recommendations to achieve a color exemption for Los Angeles if that is not possible."

The councilman told Streetsblog L.A. that while he understands Hollywood's concerns, removing the lanes entirely is not a feasible option.

"“They help keep bicyclists and motorists safe, promote multi-modal transportation Downtown and are widely used," said Huizar. "They serve a distinct purpose and we should continue to make them available to a growing Downtown community.”

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