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'Road Diet' In Mar Vista Is Causing Driver Frustration, Dip In Business

MAR VISTA (CBSLA) -- A "Road Diet" on Venice Boulevard in Mar Vista sounded like a good idea at the time, but two years after six lanes were reduced to four, drivers, shop keepers and even some bicyclists aren't happy.

CBS2's Greg Mills spoke to fans and detractors of the "diet" -- and said it wasn't hard to find detractors.

"Having a bike lane is great. Whether this is the ideal bike lane, I don't know," said cyclist Neil Everett.

His reaction was fairly typical, Mills reported.

Two years ago, the street was put on a "Road Diet" and six lanes turned into four -- with bike lanes in either direction and parking.

Some see the merit in the diet.

"For cyclists it's definitely safer," said bicycle shop owner Anna Martin.

Her shop is doing good business. "Pretty steady," as she described it.

Others weren't so enthusiastic about the "diet."

"I think this is a very well intentioned project that has failed," said bicyclist Steve Cohen.

Losing two lanes on the street has created problems, the detractors say.

"It's causing a lot of peak-hour gridlock. It's causing a lot of cut-through traffic in our neighborhoods," says Mar Vista resident Serena Inyoue.

"People are anxious to,get where they are going and forgetting about what's happening around them and zooming through. And it's really, really frightening," says homeowner Sheri Odere.

And while the lane was designed to make bicycle riding safer, some cyclists say the opposite is now true.

"There was a dangerous aspect before they fixed it and there's a dangerous aspect after they fixed it," Everett says.

He and other cyclists pointed out that when a driver wants to make a right turn, they must enter part of the bike lane to do so.

Business owners say there are less parking spots along the road and with less places to park, they have lost customers.

"Huge change. It's gone down incredibly," says business owner Marti Milakovich.

She said more than 20 businesses have gone out of business since May 2017.

A tattoo business down the street blames the bike lane for a hit to the bottom line.

"It seems to be down anywhere from 25-30 percent over the last year or so," says tattoo shop employee Bill Beccio.

More than anything, the people who live here, ride here and own businesses here say they didn't have a say on the "diet" and they say the city is not listening to them now either.

"We were supposed to have our say about what worked and what didn't work," says Inyoue, "and that didn't happen."

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