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Hollywood Fights L.A. Bike Lane: 'It Just Ruins the Shoot'

Industry heavyweights from the MPAA to SAG-AFTRA to IATSE petition city council to change the color of the lanes through the oft-filmed Historic Core neighborhood downtown.
A bike lane on Spring Street provides a distinctly L.A. look — bad for filming.

This story first appeared in the June 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

An industry standoff is brewing over a bright green bike lane in downtown Los Angeles.

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The Historic Core neighborhood is one of the most frequently filmed in California, often standing in for New York. But now SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, the MPAA and Teamsters Local 399, which represents location managers, have banded together to exert pressure on City Councilman Jose Huizar to mitigate what they consider a nuisance.

"That green is so visually obtrusive, it just kills the shoot," says location manager Miles Henley, who shot Fox's Touch on Spring Street this year. Adds Veronique Vowell, who worked on ABC's Scandal: "The reflectivity -- it's so fluorescent-y that it bounces up into the lofts and the storefront interiors and the cars driving by."

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At the urging of transit advocates, Huizar was expected to present a motion to the City Council on June 14 that would restore the 12-block-long emerald strip, which has faded only 20 months after its implementation. But talks broke down because of the industry's objections to the lane's design.

"We've proposed reducing the overall paint by 50 percent and using a forest green color option, which is the same color used by New York City," says Huizar spokesman Rick Coca.

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Meanwhile, civic cycling lobbyists are just as frustrated. "They're being very heavy-handed," says Eric Bruins of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. "There's a safety issue: The bright shade maximizes safety."

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