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Playa Del Rey Gridlock Forces U-Turn On Road Diet Plan

PLAYA DEL REY ( — Transportation officials are doing some backpedaling on a plan to make Playa del Rey's roads more bike-friendly.

An extra traffic lane is being added to Culver Street between Nicholson and Jefferson Boulevard, starting Friday. The lane is being re-added just weeks after a "road diet" plan was put into effect for Playa del Rey, also known as Silicon Beach for the growing number of tech companies taking up residence in the area.

Some who work and live along the stretch in Playa Vista complained about dangerous accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists as cars zipped by at near freeway speeds.

The "road diet" eliminated traffic lanes and added a bike lane, reducing parts of Venice Boulevard, Pershing Drive, Jefferson Boulevard, and Culver Street to one lane in each direction in order to slow cars and make streets safer for bike riders.

The plan, however, left the area's residents in an uproar.

An online petition calling for an end to the project has almost 7,000 signatures, and a second online campaign has raised almost $20,000 for its supporters to take legal action against the city and organize opposition.

"It is not a shortcut anymore. It's now another one of those dreaded intersections in Los Angeles," said commuter Elaine Heller. "Instead of 'oh, I get to see the ocean and fly into my back route into the city,' it's not that anymore."

The re-striping work on Culver Boulevard began Friday morning and will continue through the weekend.

The city is adding one more eastbound lane along with the bike lane just north of the residential area in Playa del Rey to help ease the gridlock.

Melinda Stansbury has lived and worked along the stretch in Playa del Rey most of her life.

"It seems safer," Stansbury said. "People have to slow down and a lot of people text and they still text but they're not going 50 miles an hour."

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