Los Angeles City Council backs Venice Boulevard’s controversial ‘road diet’ as activists threaten to sue

Setting the stage for a legal challenge, the Los Angeles City Council rejected an appeal Friday from neighborhood advocates fighting a bicycle lane on a congested Westside artery.

The council’s unanimous decision follows 18 months of furor over a “road diet” that reduced the number of traffic lanes along a 0.8-mile stretch of Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista to make space for a protected bicycle lane.

The road diet, part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets initiative, was designed to help the commercial boulevard feel less like a freeway and more like a Main Street.

The city spent $1.8 million to add four traffic signals, sidewalk mosaics, curb ramps, more visible crosswalks and a bike lane with a buffer zone to separate drivers from cyclists. The project removed one vehicle travel lane in each direction.