Controversy on 1-year anniversary of 'road diet' in Mar Vista

MAR VISTA, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- On the one-year anniversary of the so-called "road diet" in Mar Vista, which removed car lanes along a busy street to make room for bicyclists, some people say the change is killing their business, while others love it.

The city reduced Venice Boulevard car lanes from three to two to put in a new bicycle lane. The pilot program also put car parking further away from the sidewalk

Miriam Zlotolow said the move might have improved conditions for bicyclists, but it has crippled her business and forced several others to simply close. She also said it's created more congestion.

"People are having a hard time driving and finding parking, so they just decide, 'Well, why should I, you know, break my head? I won't come here.' So all of us noticed that our business is really going down. We lost customers," Zlotolow said.

Demetrios Mavromichalis said his Mar Vista coffee shop has yet to bounce back after a year of losses.

While some motorists might find it a hassle to get around the boulevard, driver Alex Stark found the area to be more spacious for parking.

Other business owners said the change was sorely needed in the community.

"This bike is my main form of transit to and from point A to point B,' said Kevin Scheller. "So it's really important to me. I feel much safer in these bike lanes."
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