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ON LOCATION

L.A. City Council and film industry again clash over green bike lanes

By Richard Verrier

5:26 PM EDT, June 13, 2013

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The L.A. City Council and the film industry are once again on a collision course over a green-colored bike lane downtown.

City officials painted a 1.5-mile strip of Spring Street neon green in 2011 for a bike lane as part of a larger effort pushed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to make streets safer and more inviting to cyclists.

But the bike lane has been a bone of contention with location scouts and filmmakers, who complain that bright green color is highly reflective, making it harder to film movies set in a different era along the street and to continue L.A.'s long tradition of playing other cities.

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A coalition of entertainment industry groups representing Teamsters Local 399, IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, the Assn. of Independent Commercial Producers, and the Motion Picture Assn. of America have signed a letter urging council members to oppose a motion to repaint the bike lane. 

In the June 13 letter to the council, the groups said they weren't opposed to bike lanes and favored a compromise, such as painting the lane a less reflective "forest green" color. But they said their proposals were rebuffed by council staff.

"As you are aware, the solid green bike lane on Spring Street has all but halted exterior filming on one of the only streets in Los Angeles that can stand in for cities like New York, Philadelphia, or Chicago,'' the groups said.

They added that the green bike lane is one more reason for filmmakers to take their business elsewhere.

"This leaves us little choice but to oppose any bike lane plan that will cost the City in excess of $200,000, and comes at the expense of jobs for thousands of film industry workers such as actors, sound and lighting technicians, set designers, caterers, florists and other local and small businesses or independent contractors associated with film, television or commercial production," the letter said.

The council is scheduled to vote on the matter Friday.

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