Council Considers Bike Path, Traffic Study for Capital Projects

A special budget workshop for the City Council this week included a look at potential capital projects as well as uses for the city’s Measure S sales tax revenue.
In this particular instance, the city will be able to consider whether to merge the two, as both of the capital projects that got a preliminary approval on Tuesday might fall under the umbrella of Measure S, which was marketed as a quality of life and essential services tax when voters approved it in 2018.
A feasibility study on a bikeway along the Verdugo Wash was certainly the most popular capital item up for consideration, with around a dozen calls of support from the community coming in during the meeting, including from Assemblywoman Laura Friedman’s office. The path, which would presumably stretch from Crescenta Valley Park to the Los Angeles River, was included in Glendale’s Bicycle Transportation Plan that was adopted in 2012.
“I think it’s worth a study and I think it’s an interesting project,” Councilwoman Paula Devine said Tuesday. “And we have gotten a lot of support from elected officials, state and local.”
The bike path feasibility study is currently penciled in at $250,000, which is around half of prior estimates, according to City Manager Yasmin Beers. Based on a suggestion, the City Council may consider whether to use Measure S funding to get this study going. The group Walk Bike Glendale has garnered more than 1,000 signatures supporting the study on change.org.
The second item, the citywide traffic study, seemed to illicit mostly positive approval, with Councilman Dan Brotman noting he thinks it is relevant considering how traffic was a major topic of this year’s election that brought him to the City Council.
“I think it’s appropriate that we do that,” Brotman said. “We all said that we wanted that.”
Traffic studies are used for identifying points of congestion during peak periods throughout the day as well as how efficient select intersections are during those peaks. They also are useful for identifying locations for additional volume or speed mitigation measures as well as adjusting speed limits and giving law enforcement officers additional legal justification behind speeding citations.
Brotman added that having a more current idea of what goes into traffic issues will help city leaders tackle recurring problems such as speeding throughout the city’s thoroughfares.
“We have to get especially younger people to not see that as [a valid] activity; that you have to go out and prove your worth by racing up and down Glenoaks Boulevard.”
Councilman Ara Najarian suggested that the city could try to get the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to fund the $500,000 traffic study. Najarian has for years served on Metro’s board of directors.
Najarian contended that “$500,000 is like nothing for Metro, even though they have been impacted [by the pandemic].”
In other matters, the City Council balked, for now, at the prospect of shelling out $7-12.5 million to help Hoover High School construct a new pool.
“Given that the school’s not going anywhere and we’re facing a crisis, I would like to see this item put on hold for the time being,” Councilman Ardy Kassakhian said.
In terms of items funded by Measure S, which includes rental and home-buyer subsidies, seismic upgrades to fire stations, year-round aquatics programming and affordable housing land acquisition, Najarian said he wouldn’t fight to bring the ice rink back to the table. After the city shelled out a one-time $500,000 to set up the rink last year, it only generated $150,000 in revenue and drew a variety of public scrutiny as a waste of taxpayer money.
“Unfortunately, it was the subject of much division and derision in the community,” Najarian said. “We don’t need that. The point was to give some of our youth and people of all ages the opportunity to have a little bit of fun during the holiday season. So let’s let that ice rink melt into the annals of Glendale history for now.”

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