Monday, May 13, 2013

Should L.A.'s Spring Street Keep Its Green-Painted Bike Lane?

NYC bike lane

See? It's not just in L.A. -- green bike lanes abound in New York!

Are downtown's lime green bike lanes really that bad? Film industry location scouts complain that L.A. can't pass for New York or any other urban mecca anymore -- particularly if you're shooting a period piece. But see above, those same lime green bike lanes are also found in New York.

Here's what the Los Angeles Times has written on the matter:

Bicyclists and downtown neighborhood groups are fans of the 1.4-mile stretch of green bike lane on Spring Street from Cesar Chavez to 9th Street. But location scouts and production managers who bring filming to the city's historic downtown core are not so happy. Spring Street is flanked by old buildings and can stand in for almost any big city in a variety of time periods. The most frequently filmed intersection in the city is 6th and Spring, according to Paul Audley, president of Film L.A.

The problem, the industry argues, is that the bright green of the bike lane is costly to erase if you're filming, say, a scene that takes place in the 1940s and you don't want a bright green bike lane running down the middle of your shot. It can't be lifted out of film by the usual post-production technique known as chroma keying, and it is more expensive to remove than other greens. And it's not just the street that needs to be color-corrected. Under the bright lights used for filming, the green bounces off the street and tints everything it touches, including actors' faces.

As the paint begins to fade — apparently it didn't bond well with the street in certain areas — film industry representatives are again asking that the portion that runs from 3rd to 9th Streets be removed or repainted something other than the offending neon color.

What do you think? Should productions suck it up, or should these ugly bike lanes lose the color?

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