The City Council plans to continue looking at options to potentially make permanent the Slow Streets program that it piloted last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The council had considered a number of options at its meeting Tuesday and ultimately sought more research on an additional batch of options that were brainstormed at the meeting. There was not a vote on Tuesday, but there likely will be eventually. “People are, at this point, vested in the program,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said. “I’m for creating a permanent program.”
Planning officials provided a number of quick updates on mobility projects at a special City Council meeting this week. Many of the updates concerned typical long-term planning topics such as circulation studies, while more pointed projects such as the Verdugo Wash linear park also came up. No decisions were made, as the presentations were information-only, but many of the projects are due to come before the council again for myriad reasons.
Vision Zero This is perhaps the most wide-ranging of the city’s plans, as it encompasses all facets of transportation and safety for those undertaking it. Pragmatically, it’s more of an approach than it is any singular project.
Work will soon begin on the researching, outreach and design phase of the bike path and linear park envisioned to line the Verdugo Wash all the way to the Los Angeles River. The project is likely to come in phases, officials said, and would ideally be funded in large part by outside grants aimed at promoting the sustainability, active transportation and habitat restoration that the project would achieve. The City Council voted 4-0 to approve a $440,000 contract with New York City-based design firm !melk this week to take the reins. (Councilman Ara Najarian abstained because his wife owns property abutting the Verdugo Wash.) “I’m tremendously excited about this, and I want us to move forward,” Councilman Dan Brotman said Tuesday.
The proposed Verdugo Wash bike trail and linear park are a step closer to reality after the Glendale City Council this week showed enthusiasm for the idea and approved opening a bidding process for a design firm to help determine its feasibility. This year’s budget allocates $250,000 in Measure S sales tax money to fund the visioning study, which will solicit input about the proposal from community members and identify cost estimates and potential issues to navigate. The trail would begin in Crescenta Highlands and follow the natural Verdugo Wash along 17 other Glendale neighborhoods all the way to where it meets the Los Angeles River, which itself has a bike and pedestrian trail. “It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to connect to several neighborhoods, several communities and offer another mode of transportation,” said Bradley Calvert, assistant director of community development, at Tuesday’s council meeting.
In the immediate future, the city will explore implementing what are called “slow streets” modifications in a variety of neighborhoods, which will be aimed at giving pedestrians and cyclists extra cushion as they cross into roadways to keep distance from those on sidewalks.
Longer term, officials will target other areas for demonstration projects, which would essentially be a temporary test run to see if it’s worth the fuller investment in installing pedestrian- and bike-friendly enhancements throughout the city. The City Council agreed to both items on Tuesday as part of a broader discussion on how to continue responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and what it means for residents. Continue reading “‘Slow Streets’ Modifications, Social Distancing Discussed By City Council”