LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles City Council approved an emergency
motion today requesting a study into enhancing public safety along Venice’s
Ocean Front Walk, the beach boardwalk where a car fatally struck a 32-year-old
Italian woman Saturday.
The motion, proposed by Venice-area Councilman Mike Bonin and approved
on a 14-0 vote by the council, also directs city staff to “immediately”
at “hazardous intersections” along the popular
Bonin asked his colleagues to take up the motion as an emergency
measure in response to this weekend’s “horrible tragedy” in which a motorist
barreled onto the crowded beach boardwalk, killing a woman who was on her
honeymoon, injuring 16 other people and knocking over vendor stands.
Bonin’s motion, seconded by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, calls on police,
fire, the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Bureau of Street Services,
the Department of Transportation and other city officials to report back in two
weeks on “public safety needs” at the boardwalk.
“I don’t want something sitting on a shelf or being studied forever,”
Bonin said before the vote. “These are common sense things.”
He added that the measures “do not need to make us look like Fortress
Venice.” Decorative planters or artwork can be used to make the area look like
a “playground, not like a high-security prison,” he said.
The “Venice Beach Public Safety Needs Assessment” called for in the
motion will look at measures such as “retractable, removable, lockable posts
or bollards” in areas that still need to be accessible to emergency vehicles;
permanent barriers at other locations; and improved signs, lights and
Bonin’s motion also asked for a study into expanding or improving
lighting, the surveillance camera system and the emergency public address
system at the boardwalk.
He asked that the city administrative officer and the chief legislative
analyst look into the costs and funding sources for implementing the measures.
The Venice Beach Boardwalk should be treated “less like a property of
the Department of Recreation and Parks, and more like a world-renowned tourist
attraction — with the resulting benefits and challenges,” the motion reads.
Los Angeles police told Bonin that drivers mistakenly drive into the
pedestrian zone “16 to 20 times a day, more often at night, because it looks
like a residential street.”
As recently as three weeks before Saturday’s rampage, a car was driven
onto the boardwalk near “Muscle Beach” and crashed into a stand, Bonin said.
Bonin said nearly 30 streets end at Ocean Front Walk, or cross it, and
vehicular access is in almost all cases unimpeded.
Ten years and two weeks ago, a car driven by 86-year-old George Russell
Weller plowed into the crowded Santa Monica Farmers Market, which was set up
without barriers in the middle of Arizona Avenue at the crowded Third Street
Ten people were killed and 63 injured on July 16, 2003, just two miles
up the beach from Saturday’s carnage. That prompted the city of Santa Monica to
place parked cars straddling streets leading to that crowded pedestrian area.
Eventually cable restraints and other removable vehicle-stopping devices were