JOHN DURAN | I’m running to kill Council’s dumb ideas — like making Fountain two lanes

Colloquially known as “Another bone \-headed idea from Lindsey Horvath and John Erickson”

West Hollywood has had many famous residents over the decades: Elton John, Matthew Perry, Marilyn Monroe, Sal Mineo, Jim Morrison, Axl Rose, Judy Garland, Dolly Parton. One of the top luminaries was the notorious Bette Davis. You all know the most famous West Hollywood quote by the wonderfully eccentric actress Ms. Davis on the Johnny Carson show? Right?

JOHNNY CARSON: “What is the best way an aspiring starlet could get into Hollywood?”

BETTE DAVIS: “Take Fountain!”

Yes. Those of us who live in West Hollywood know the best kept secret that the tourists and most of the other 10 million Angelenos do not know about this 1.9-mile collector street in our City. It is sometimes the ONLY traffic corridor that moves East and West when Santa Monica Blvd and Sunset Blvd are jammed. We KNOW to get onto Fountain so we can get to/from home or to/from work. It keeps us sane during rush hour (and off peak hours also). The locals. We know. Take Fountain and avoid the traffic jams, headaches, frustration, and anger.

Well, if West Hollywood Councilmembers Horvath and Erickson get their latest specimen in the Petri dish approved, you can kiss Fountain Avenue relief valve goodbye!

On March 1, 2021, Horvath and Erickson introduced a council item to amend the city mobility plan by adding protected bike lanes along Fountain Avenue. Sounds reasonable at first, right? Bike lanes – who wouldn’t love ‘em? – even if 98-99% of us drive cars and don’t ride bikes around town. The shiny and optimistic checker players Horvath and Erickson could check that off the good progressive checklist as something wonderfully done. But those of us who prefer chess playing over checkers would now ask – “how would you get that done?”

Well here is how they propose to do it. Last month, on August 17, 2022, the Transportation Commission was given the staff proposal on exactly how this very bad idea would get done. It is PAINFUL. While it may benefit the tiny minority of us that ride bikes around West Hollywood as a primary form of transit or recreation – the overwhelming majority of us would pay a tragic price! (at a 1% estimate let’s be generous and say 350 cyclists in our small town of 35,000).

According to the staff report, Fountain Avenue carries about 37,000 vehicles per day. Makes sense to me. I use Fountain Avenue almost every day as I travel east or West across Weho. I am guessing most of the other 35,000 Weho residents do as well. Fountain Avenue is only 40-60 feet wide. There are 2 lanes of traffic in each direction – sometimes with parking and sometimes with no parking when too narrow. And during peak hours,there is no parking on Fountain so that we can use the full roadway to get to/from home. Right now, Fountain works as best as it can to keep us moving and out of traffic jams.

The proposal says a “road diet” will be required. How much of Fountain has to go on a “road diet”? According to the staff report, the ENTIRE stretch of Fountain from La Brea to La Cienega. So, this impacts residents on the East side, the Mid City, the West Side, those of us near the Sunset Strip and ESPECIALLY those who live on or within 500 feet of Fountain on either side. WOAH! That is a lot of neighborhoods that will be impacted by an entire road diet from one end of the city to where it ends at the other end.

The staff proposal says Fountain will be changed from a four lane facility to a two lane facility.

Say what? Would you repeat that?

You are going to take Fountain and eliminate a lane on each side? And you are also going to eliminate parking along Fountain Avenue? And all of this infrastructure changes that are going to impact every single resident from Eastside to Westside is going to cost how much? According to the report, $100,000 for the feasibility study (already spent) and over $10 million to permanently change the road.

FULL STOP. Nooooooooooo. This is why Fountain Avenue was often called the THIRD rail of politics in West Hollywood. This is a really bad idea that impacts everyone – from senior citizen to Russian speaking to LGBT to entertainment executive to self employed at home. Was notice sent out to the entire community yet to get input? Nope. Oh. I think if you’re going to do something that hits every single resident – you better get notice out more than once and get it out everywhere!!!

What about the people who live on Fountain? If you hadn’t noticed, most do NOT have a parking space or parking garage. After a long grueling 8-hour work day, many now plan to get home after 7 pm so they can park in front of or at least near their apartment after the “no parking” restrictions are lifted at 7 p.m. Where will you park now?

Oh….. well just go find a spot somewhere in the neighborhood. Are you freaking kidding me? Have you ever tried to find a parking spot after 7 p.m. on Delongpre? On Harper? On Ogden? On Kings Road or Olive or Flores? THEY ARE NOT THERE! So all of these residents who live on Fountain or even near Fountain – it’s the law of the jungle to find a place to park maybe within 7-8 blocks of your apartment. Well jeez – just ride a bike on the new bike lanes and then you don’t need a garage. Ummmmm. NO.

When I tried to get some justification for this proposal besides the ambitious progressive checklist about being “more green” I was told it would reduce traffic accidents and fatalities. The staff reports estimates it will reduce crashes by 35-40%. No frickin’ kidding. Do you know why? Because with ONE lane of traffic going in each direction – we will be traveling about 15 mph to crawl along Fountain to try and get to home/work/gym/restaurant/anywhere! People on foot will be passing by faster than those of us jammed on Fountain (um yes. That’s not a good thing – that’s a bad thing).

This insanity has GOT to stop. This is WHY I am running for Council. If I get there I will be one of the hopefully 3 SANE council votes (or more) to STOP the petri dish experimentation of those who claim to be “the progressives”. One of the definitions of “progressive” in the dictionary is “going forward or onward”. Ha!!! Not if they get their wish and destroy Fountain for all of us.

Now… how to end this Op Ed???? Hmmmmm. How about with another Bette Davis quote? Here it is: “ It’s better to be hated for who you are, than to be loved for someone you’re not. It’s a sign of your worth sometimes, if you’re hated by the right people”.

UNITE HERE dropped a false hit piece on me this weekend. The defund the police people REALLY dislike me because I am pro sheriff. Bring it on haters! I’m ready……..

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About John Duran
John Duran, a criminal defense lawyer, served on the West Hollywood City Council for 20 years, 2001-2020.

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[…] Councilmember John Duran broke the story to the public in a WEHOville opinion piece and made his opposition to the plan a central part of his campaign […]

M Karin
M Karin
3 months ago

This “opinion piece” is needlessly insulting and nasty. We are a small city. Our politics should not mirror the horrific national tone. We can make our points without degrading each other. I actually am not in favor of bike lanes on Fountain but to me this piece says more about the author than anything else.

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[…] John Duran ignited the public debate of Fountain Ave. bike lanes in this extended opinion piece. […]

Put a Fire under City Hall
Put a Fire under City Hall
3 months ago

Looks as if John Duran put a fire under City Hall regarding Fountain Ave. All residents have an opportunity to comment on line in a survey followed by a public meeting.

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[…] for West Hollywood metropolis council comes out in favor of maintaining Fountain Ave harmful, as John Duran says he’s running to “kill Council’s dumb ideas,” like changing visitors lanes with bike lanes — although the town estimates it’ll cut back […]

David Arias
4 months ago

This is a very bad idea. Speeders should be ticketed, law abiding drivers should not be penalized.

Last edited 4 months ago by David Arias
Havenhurst
Havenhurst
4 months ago

I cannot believe that anyone with half a brain would consider this awful idea for even a nanosecond. I live just off Fountain and park on the street. It already takes me up to an hour some nights to find a parking spot within a few blocks of my building. Where does the Council suppose the cars displaced by these protected bike lanes are supposed to park? As for the daydreaming Utopians who seem to think that normal working folks will suddenly abandon their cars for the joy of bicycling… I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. The… Read more »

Sahand
Sahand
4 months ago

Correction to this article. Those of us who live on Fountain or near Fountain would gladly support a 2 lane road rather than a 4 lane road. Fountain is highway right now. People are speeding up 60 MPH. It is not safe for our neighborhood. This is supposed to be a road for the local neighborhood to use, but that’s not the case. Commuters from all over LA are using Fountain. Those of us who live on and near Fountain are always seeing accidents and always witness people speeding. The other 2 lanes don’t necessarily need to become a bike… Read more »

Steve Too
Steve Too
4 months ago
Reply to  Sahand

This is like someone moving next to LAX then complaining about the noise. Fountain has been this way for decades, which most newer residents surely would’ve known if they’d done research prior to moving in.

With limited east-west options, it’s asinine to consider reducing traffic flow on this vital thoroughfare.

Sahand
Sahand
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Too

I don’t believe I mentioned anything about noise though, did I? Regardless of doing research or not – driving 60MPH on a 35MPH road shouldn’t be allowed.

Steve Too
Steve Too
4 months ago
Reply to  Sahand

I agree that excessive speeding should be controlled, but taking away a lane of traffic and parking is not the solution.

Logic
Logic
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Too

Your logic is faulty. Available parking on Fountain has been continually eroded over several years…and then come the game changing miracle…..limit it more and introduce bike lanes but keep ignoring the infrastructure itself.

Logic should be a required subject in grammar school. It was when I attended as well as ethics.

Rodrigo
Rodrigo
4 months ago
Reply to  Logic

Great logic, Logic!

Adam
Adam
4 months ago

Cities are built for people, not cars. I am so glad City Council is considering adding bike infrastructure, which is badly needed. If people hate traffic they should consider walking, biking, or public transit. It seems like we build plenty of space for cars, but none for people. That’s boneheaded and wrong.

Logic
Logic
4 months ago
Reply to  Adam

The intelligent move would be to find workable routes through side streets where the ride would even be more pleasant. To believe an entire infrastructure should be reduced is boneheaded. Did they just invent the bicycle yesterday?

Rodrigo
Rodrigo
4 months ago
Reply to  Adam

In theory that sounds great. But most of us live in reality and the reality is that no one is walking or even biking from WeHo to DTLA.

David K
David K
4 months ago

What I might suggest is creating a trial run for 3 months by blocking off both sides of the parking lanes allowing bikes to use those lanes.
This should help decide which way to go forward.

Maria V
Maria V
3 months ago
Reply to  David K

Not a bad idea!

pat russ
pat russ
4 months ago

Fountain is f***ed. Wait until The Hub gets started on Fairfax and Fountain. We will be down to one lane at that busy corner……..

Ernesto Sportello
Ernesto Sportello
4 months ago

Most every idea coming out of Weho for many years has been a dumb idea. So there’s that. Just give Weho back to LA.

Brian Wilder
Brian Wilder
4 months ago

It never belonged to the city. Give it back to the county? Lol.

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