By Ted AYALA
Phase 1 of the Glendale Bicycle Master Plan (GBMP) may soon be underway at a neighborhood near you.
The City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to appropriate $128,944 dollars to fund the project’s first phase.
The GBMP has been in the works since 2011. Council approved the final version of the plan in August 2012.
According to the GBMP’s executive summary, the city has moved forward with the plan in order to “provide and active and healthy community where bicycling can serve as a primary form of transportation for residents and visitors.”
Drafting and implementation of the GBMP was undertaken amidst a growing movement of residents turning to bicycles for their commuting needs.
The reaction from the city’s residents and businesses has been mostly positive, though some motorists and long-time residents have mounted formidable opposition to the project.
Last year a proposed road diet along Honolulu Blvd., which would have provided a buffer zone for bicyclists, was axed by the city after complaints from area residents. Concerns expressed included how the road diet would impact traffic congestion and the general etiquette of bicyclists that share the road with cars. Bicyclists, of which there are a growing number in Montrose, said that such worries were unfounded.
Partisans of both sides of the issue have found support on the Council dais.
Councilmember Laura Friedman has been a strong supporter of the GBMP and the city’s bicycling community, going so far as to participate in a number of bicycling events. On the other end of the spectrum has been the reluctance and outright opposition to the GBMP voiced by former Councilmember, now Mayor Dave Weaver, who has worried whether the city’s street grid, which was designed with automobile traffic in mind, can deal with the added strain of a rising wave of bicyclists.
Aside from funding sharrows, road diets, and more intensive changes to the city’s traffic grid, the plan also funds improvement of existing bicycle facilities and routes, expansion of public outreach to bicyclists and motorists, provide education about laws and safety to local schools, and the installation of new bicycle racks and lockers.
The plan also discusses the possibility of linking Glendale bicyclists to the bicycling grid of its neighboring cities.
Among those that have drafted bicycle plans of their own has been Los Angeles.
Road diets and sharrows have gained a foothold not only in the various neighborhoods at the city’s outer edges, but have made inroads even in automobile-dense Downtown, where a number of bicycle lanes have made popped up in the last two years.