City Staff Peddles Ideas About Bike Lanes

As the city continues to improve alternative transportation methods in West Glendale, other large-scale projects are getting underway.

Glendale aims to collect public input on a pair of proposed protected bike lanes that would be installed along Glenoaks Boulevard, along with connecting paths on Western and Grandview avenues. Ideally, the city would like to complete the Glenoaks modification in conjunction with a dedicated bus rapid transit lane along the boulevard.

At present, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to use the Glenoaks lanes abutting the center grass median as a dedicated BRT route that will ultimately bridge a North Hollywood-Pasadena City College route.

“The goal of this project really was to enhance the safety and accessibility of bicycle infrastructure in west Glendale, particularly on Glenoaks Boulevard, the ability to provide a protected bicycle route,” explained Bradley Calvert, the assistant director of community development, at a City Council meeting on Tuesday. The BRT project “does present an opportunity for us to reconfigure this street and to be able to capitalize on some unused space that is there.”

The study commissioned by the city examined a footprint surrounding Glenoaks, with the study area stretching from Brand Boulevard to the Burbank city line. The council offered input on the presentation Tuesday, but was not tasked with making any commitments other than to let developmental work continue.

There emerged two principal options for installing a protected bike lane along Glenoaks: placing the lanes between street parking and the sidewalk, or between the BRT lane and the median.

The former would allow cyclists to have easy access to storefronts and side streets, while potentially creating the risk of  collisions with opened car doors. The other idea would integrate bicycling with the bus routes more cleanly, but the proximity of the large vehicle to cyclists could having a jarring effect.

“The median would remain unchanged as part of this,” Calvert noted. “That is a beloved aesthetic element of Glenoaks that does remain unchanged in both of these alternatives.”

Potential modifications to Western and Grandview would be within the lens of the “first and last mile loop” effort to use active transportation to bridge residents with commercial areas where they may work.

An estimated price tag for the Glenoaks modifications is about $20.6 million, with the federal government or Metro as likely sources of funding.

Council members were generally enthusiastic about the options, which in conjunction with ongoing studies for a downtown-area streetcar, the citywide pedestrian plan and L.A.-Glendale-Burbank Metrolink expansion could help remake the transportation landscape in the Jewel City. Councilman Ardy Kassakhian hoped this would create an opportunity to more thoughtfully use the Glenoaks median as the park space it could be and curtail speeding, which has been a problem on the roadway.

“I think once we have the BRT, once we have this bike lane and squeeze people in a little bit together, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to pick up those speeds, with those loud exhausts, as people try to turn it into an ‘American Graffiti’-like raceway,” Kassakhian said.

Councilman Dan Brotman, an avid cyclist, indicated that he preferred installment of a lane that abuts the sidewalk.

“I can picture myself in a center-running path and feeling very uncomfortable,” he said. “I think running it in the center might jeopardize the sense of safety that families need to feel to bring out their kids.”