Green bike lanes have been popping up on streets all across the state in recent years, and for good reason – they provide a semi-protected area for cyclists and communicate to motorists that this is a place where cars are forbidden in a way that a simple white stripe cannot. But one green bike lane in downtown Los Angeles is causing quite an outrage with the film industry (which, we hear, has some sway in this town).
The lane in question is on Spring Street, which is sometimes used as a stand-in for a 1920s era big city in car commercials. An especially smug editorial in the L.A. Times claims that the shade of green used on Spring is the problem, as it apparently cannot be digitally edited out. But the real problem is about street space according to a representative from Film L.A., the entity that helps film crews get permits to shoot on-location in the city. From LA Weekly:
“Because they took out a traffic lane, there are difficulties putting filming vehicles on the street,” says Audley.
He estimates that in 2012, about 10 percent of filmmakers who would have otherwise shot in downtown L.A. have stayed away because of the lanes.
Film L.A. first learned of the Department of Transportation’s plan for a bicycle-friendly Spring Street when officials asked the org to “move any film crews” that were in the way, according to Audley.
Now, he says his group is deep in negotiations with the mayor (and bicycle advocates) in anticipation of more bike lanes being constructed on surrounding streets — particularly “upper Main, [which] is a heavily filmed area.”
So is it the lane’s shade of green or the loss of some green that is really driving this controversy? Is a street that accommodates non-motorized modes of travel simply unfit for selling cars? Thankfully, LADOT appears to be holding firm on the green bike lane for Spring Street, and we hope that the department’s plans for more green bike lanes aren’t delayed or dialed back just because they may not be film-friendly.