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Break the cycle: As city repaints controversial bike lane, locals renew calls to move it

Move ‘em over here!: Avid cyclist James Gelormino wants the bike lanes to be on Shore Boulevard, not Oriental Boulevard, where they are now.
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The city must move an unpopular Manhattan Beach bike lane from a busy street to a serene waterfront promenade, locals are demanding.

The cycling path along Oriental Boulevard is rarely used and a hazard for those who do, according to community leaders and cyclists who want to instead see a lane on Shore Boulevard’s harbor-side esplanade. But that walkway is under Parks Department jurisdiction, and the agency doesn’t have the green to make it happen — despite having years to scratch together the dough, a local councilman said.

“Over the last two-and-a-half years, people have been asking to move the bike lane on Oriental to Shore. [Parks] told me that it was feasible to put a bike lane on Shore Boulevard, but that would cost a substantial amount to turn it into a real nice usable bike lane,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Manhattan Beach).

Deutsch is willing to contribute cash to the project, which would likely cost around $3 million, but first the Department of Transportation has to do a study to make sure the double-sized sidewalk that runs parallel to the promenade could handle the pedal-pushing set, the legislator said.

Meantime, the transportation agency repainted lines on the long-maligned Oriental Boulevard bike lane this month. But The agency is just spinning it’s wheels, because no one wants to cycle on the death-trap drag strip, one area leader said.

“It’s not used on Oriental. If you go out there right now I will guarantee you there is not one bike rider on Oriental,” said Community Board 15 district manager Theresa Scavo. “And [Shore Boulevard is] much safer.”

Crashes on the so-called “Oriental Autobahn” have claimed three lives and injured more than 50 — including four cyclists — in the last six years, city data shows.

Moving the path is a no-brainer, according to one area cyclist.

“The bike lanes should be here. It’s safe for the bike riders and safe for the cars,” said Sheepshead Bay resident James Gelormino, who was riding on Shore Boulevard on Aug. 11. “You’d see less accidents.”

The Department of Transportation is willing to work with Deutsch and the Parks Department on relocating the lanes to Shore Boulevard but has no immediate plans to move them, said a spokeswoman.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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