Venice Beach’s Top Stories of 2018

Looking back at the active 2018 news cycle in Venice. Photo: Getty Images.

2018 was a busy year in Venice’s news cycle. While the familiar topics of development and homelessness dominated headlines, new conversations and debates took place around the arrival of e-scooters and an uptick in crime the Venice saw. As 2019 approaches, here are eight stories from 2018 that are worth revisiting.

Trashy Business

Trash overflows on the streets of Venice following issues with the recycLA rollout. Photo by Sam Catanzaro.

By Sam Catanzaro
Originally published January 22, 2018  

For most people, waste management is as simple as taking the trash out to the street once a week. For many Venice business owners and neighbors, however, trash has become a contentious issue under recycLA, the City of Los Angeles’s new waste collection program.

Historically, the City has operated trash collection for single family residences only. recycLA puts the previously unregulated business of commercial waste hauling under city control. By the end of January, about 70,000 commercial and apartment buildings that were previously serviced by private trash collection providers will now be serviced by a City appointed company.

recycLA divides the city into 11 geographic zones, each with its own service provider. Each provider is required to invest $200 million in infrastructure for their zone while meeting certain environmental requirements. Athens Services is the company awarded the contract by the City to serve Venice.

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Bird Scooters Flocking to Venice

Local bike rental businesses worry the scooters will steal customers. Photo by Sam Catanzaro.

By Sam Catanzaro
Originally published February 22, 2018  

“Cheap”, “ample” and “zippy”: these are some of the ways riders of Bird Scooters in Venice described the motorized scooters that have become an everyday sight on the Westside.

Bird Inc, the company that operates these scooters, is based in Santa Monica, but users are allowed to ride outside the city. Venice, which can be reached easily via the beach bike path, is one of the more popular destinations for riders. Scooters cost $1 to unlock through the Bird app and then 15 cents per minute for the duration of the ride. Upon a ride’s completion, the scooters lock automatically and can be left anywhere.

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Venice Kids’ Lives in Danger

This mother of two Broadway Elementary School students says that a crossing guard is a much-needed addition to the intersection of Lincoln and Broadway. Photo by Sam Catanzaro.

By Sam Catanzaro
Originally published March 19, 2018  

Parents at Broadway Elementary want a crossing guard assigned to the busy intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and California Avenue during drop-off and pick-up hours. Lack of coordination between various City and State agencies, however, has made progress slow while drivers on Highway 1 continue to drive fast.

“It’s so dangerous,” said Fang Huang, whose son is a student at Broadway Elementary. “We live across the street from the school, I can see it from my balcony, and I won’t even let my son go out and cross the street by himself.”

Read full article here

Snapchat Vacates Venice

A protester holds up a sign at a rally opposing Snap last year. Photo by Melanie Camp.

By Sam Catanzaro
Originally published March 30, 2018  

Snap Inc., the $20 billion company behind Snapchat, is currently subleasing out most of their Venice office space as the social media company transitions operations to neighboring Santa Monica.

“While we are looking forward to bringing teams closer together in Santa Monica, Venice is a magical place and we’re so grateful to have started and grown our company here,” Snap said in a public statement.

The tech giant, founded in Venice, has put up 163,000 square feet of property in 14 locations up for lease. Two of the largest buildings available are 619 and 701 Ocean Front Walk; adjacent properties totaling 44,887 square feet.

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Bike Theft on the Rise in Venice

Despite a heavy police presence in the area, bikes often get stolen in broad daylight in Venice. Photo: Sam Catanzaro.

By Sam Catanzaro
Originally published June 15, 2018  

The fear of returning to find their bike stolen is something cyclists in Los Angeles live with every day. Nowhere is this anxiety more warranted than Venice Beach, which has one of the highest rates of bike theft in the city. In order to understand why, just think like a thief.

“If you were out to steal a bike you would want to do it where there were a lot of bikes, a lot of bikes to choose from and a lot of mistakes made. If you think about Venice Beach, that is an ideal location,” said J Allard, Founder and CEO of the online bike registry platform Project 529. “Think about grabbing a bike and you have three minutes to disappear. Well that’s a pretty choice place disappear. You just head towards Ocean Front Walk, grab an alley, and you are gone.”

According to the FBI, bike crime is increasing in Los Angeles and the rest of the U.S. as more and more people are using bikes to commute.

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Venice Pier Back Open After Fire

The 15-foot section of the Pier damaged in the June 26, electrical fire. Photo: Sam Catanzaro.

By Sam Catanzaro
Originally published July 1, 2018  

The Venice Pier has been reopened after an electrical malfunction caused a section of the Pier to catch fire early in the morning June 26, closing the Pier for four days, causing some concern that the Pier would not be open for the Fourth of July.

“Just after 4:30 a.m. the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) firefighters arrived to find heavy fire across a 15-foot section of the land-based portion of the Venice Beach Pier,” said an LAFD spokesperson. “The preliminary cause has been deemed electrical.”

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Street Musician Stabbed on Venice Beach Boardwalk

By Sam Catanzaro
Originally published December 1, 2018  

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) have taken a man into custody for assaulting a street musician on the Venice Beach Boardwalk Monday afternoon after the incident was caught on video. The victim survived the attack but suffered stab wounds to his hands, chest and face.

The street performer, a male, was located at 400 Block of Ocean Front Walk when a man walked over and stabbed him multiple times, according to the LAPD.

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City Council Approves Venice Homeless Shelter at MTA Lot

A sketch of what the bridge housing site at the old MTA lot in Venice will look like. Photo: Mike Bonin.

By Sam Catanzaro
Originally published December 21, 2018  

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a plan Tuesday to build a bridge housing shelter at the old Metro Transit Authority (MTA) lot on Main Street in Venice, a proposal that has been a center of debate among residents since plans were first announced earlier this year.

Venice has the highest concentration of homeless individuals on the Westside, with nearly 1,000 people experiencing homelessness and according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, and 85 percent of these people are unsheltered.

“If we keep saying no to housing and to shelter, we allow the status quo to continue,” said Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, who represents Venice.

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