One of the high profile agenda items from the August 9, 2021 Culver City Council meeting was the configuration of traffic and tables downtown. Despite community support to keep the west bound lane of Culver Boulevard car free, the Culver City Council voted 3-2 to proceed with Option One, eliminating all street dining on the north side of Culver Blvd.
The three official options, all of which took a different design for moving traffic through the downtown area while maintaining some amount of increased outdoor space were presented to the council for discussion.
One of many in the community to comment on the proposals, Former Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells spoke from the virtual podium in favor of Option Two, noting that keeping the space car-free was essential. “Of course, this is within the context of the IPCC [Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change] report released today. The climate emergency cannot be overstated, and reducing greenhouse gases from fossil fuels is the key to our survival.”
Kristen Cavanaugh, who spoke representing Sony Pictures, was in favor of Option One. “We support the MOVE Culver City project, (the redesign of downtown that predated the pandemic and was shifted to outdoor dining areas to help restaurants) and the options presented are great. Our employees come from all over LA County and beyond, so biking and public transit – you can’t do that from Palmdale.”
City Council member Daniel Lee spoke about the ongoing crises of the pandemic, and said “We need to base our decisions on our residents, not on people who live in Palmdale.”
Mayor Alex Fisch, spoke in favor of Option One, acknowledging that this move would be politically unpopular, but that he remained committed to his belief that a return to the original MOVE Culver City plan would be the best choice going forward. “MOVE Culver City will eliminate eight million (car) miles traveled. This project will showcase buses … at a much better prices for people of all classes. My desire for the project to succeed is about much more than just this project.”
“One lane of traffic in each direction is a win…people sitting in their cars will see the bus pass them by, and that will inspire a change in behavior,” Fisch reinforced what the end result of the MOVE plan would look like.
Council members Goran Eriksson and Albert Vera, Jr. voted with Fisch to pass Option One, with Lee and Council member Yasmine Imani McMorrin voting against.
While Chief Transportation Director Rolando Cruz noted that Option 1 would cost another quarter of a million dollars that was not currently in the budget, it was projected that the outdoor dining on Culver Boulevard will be changed by the end of October.