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Toning down the green of the Spring Street bike lane

May 24, 2013|By Carla Hall
  • Cyclist in green bike lane on Spring Street in downtown L.A. passes film crew working on the show "Ringer" last year.
Cyclist in green bike lane on Spring Street in downtown L.A. passes film… (Los Angeles Times )

The fading yet controversial green bike lane that stretches through downtown Los Angeles on Spring Street may be getting a fresh coat of paint that all — including the temperamental asphalt — can live with. 

Bicyclists and downtown residents love the highly visible 1.4-mile bike lane that runs from Cesar Chavez to 9th Street. But film and TV location scouts hate the fluorescent green ribbon that runs through the heart of the most popular filming location in Los Angeles. Under bright lights, this particular green bounces off every surface it hits (including actors’ faces) and is costly to remove in post-production — which has to be done if, say, the corner of 6th and Spring is standing in for a 1930s city.

But Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, through whose district the green bike lane runs, has suggested repainting it a nonreflective version of the forest green used for New York's street bike lanes. Paul Audley, president of Film L.A., has said that shade of green would work better for film production. 

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Of course, in a perfect world, film companies would prefer no green bike lane at all down Spring, but, as Huizar’s spokesman, Rick Coca, has pointed out, downtown L.A. is not a backlot. (And there was a time when hardly anyone lived down there. But that time is gone.)  

He is also recommending reducing the paint by 50% and possibly finding a different kind of paint substance. The current paint did not sit well on some stretches of pavement on Spring Street. 

This is exactly the kind of compromise The Times' editorial board was hoping for. Bike lanes are important, but so are film revenues for the city. The L.A. City Council’s transportation committee has voted to move forward with Huizar’s plan.  The full council will take up the issue June 4.


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