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Downtown L.A.'s neon-green bike lane has filmmakers seeing red

March 16, 2012 |  7:59 am


It was hailed as a major step in Los Angeles’ effort to have cars and cyclists safely share the road -- a bike-only lane along a prominent downtown street.

But in the months since city workers painted a green line on one lane of Spring Street, past iconic City Hall and the new police headquarters, the project has been beset with problems.

For starters, the paint itself -- put down by city workers on a rainy November day -- has repeatedly smeared.

And film companies that love to shoot urban scenes along Spring Street hate the bike lane’s neon tint. Its brightness is said to reflect a discoloring light and is expensive to edit out.

PHOTOS: Scenes from the green bike lane along Spring Street downtown.

“If you’re depicting ‘anywhere U.S.A.’ or anywhere in the world -- that is our claim to fame here in California,” said Ed Duffy, business agent for Teamsters Local 399, which represents location managers, casting agents and studio drivers.

Duffy said a number of movie shoots have been moved because of the green lane. “The challenge right now … is to try and keep that mystique,” he said.

The lane has baffled motorists, who don’t realize they can get a traffic ticket for driving on it.

Times transportation reporter Ari Bloomekatz has revealed how the bike lane came to be -- and how city officials hope to fix it.

“In hindsight, more extensive preliminary testing and getting film production companies on board with our initial trials could have made the project more successful,” said Tim Fremaux, the project’s engineer with the city Department of Transportation.

“We can move forward with these lessons learned,” he said.


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-- William Nottingham