The newly installed diagonal crosswalk at Ocean View and Honolulu has little support from MSPA as discussed at its monthly board meeting.
By Mary O’KEEFE
here was no doubt after the monthly Montrose Shopping Park Association meeting on March 5 that the majority of the board did not like the new diagonal crosswalk at the Ocean View Boulevard and Honolulu Avenue intersection.
The crosswalk has been a topic of discussion since its implementation on Feb. 19, and now it appears that conversation will be continued at Tuesday’s Glendale City Council meeting when Councilwoman Paula Devine plans on presenting the subject and asking the city to take the diagonal crosswalk away.
“I have asked Scott [Ochoa, Glendale city manager] to pull [the crosswalk], ” said Devine on Wednesday. “I will bring it to the [City of Glendale] Council [at its next meeting on March 24].”
If Devine gets another councilmember to second her motion to remove the diagonal crosswalk it will then be voted on at the next council meeting on March 31. That meeting will be at Sparr Heights Community Center as part of the City Council in Your Neighborhood outreach.
“I thanked Paula for understanding that the entire board of the MSPA is trying to make Montrose safe,” said Andre Ordubegian, president of the MSPA.
At the March 5 MSPA meeting, Ordubegian voiced his opposition to the diagonal crosswalk and shared the comments from businesses concerned about the increased vehicle traffic.
The diagonal crosswalk was a surprise to the MSPA board members and business owners. The city had looked at the most active pedestrian areas in Glendale and found that the intersection in the Montrose Shopping Park was one of the more active. The diagonal crosswalk was a pilot program as part of the city’s street improvement project. It was serving as a preliminary study allowing the city to see if it improved pedestrian traffic.
The comments received by the MSPA board were overwhelmingly negative; CVW also received several negative comments, but Ochoa said the feedback the city received was a 50/50 mix of positive and negative.
“We did make a mistake,” Ochoa told the board, referring not to the pilot program but in not talking to the MSPA board prior to the implementation.
Devine had been part of a meeting with some of the past and present MSPA board members where the idea of a diagonal crosswalk had been raised.
“It was an informal meeting,” said board member GiGi Garcia. “[Ordubegian] flatly said no to the [crosswalk].”
She added that she had told Devine “it was an interesting proposal.”
“But when I said that I was being polite,” she said.
Kim Kelly, MSPA board member, liked the idea at the time and voiced her approval for the crosswalk. She wanted those who were against it to give the pilot program a chance and did think it improved the pedestrian feel of the town.
She shared that several people she had spoken with liked the change.
Ordubegian and Garcia both said they had thought the city would first come to the board to discuss it before changes were made.
Ochoa repeated that the city was wrong for not sharing its plan but added that Devine had approached Public Works and there was an opening on the schedule so it was done.
The concerns from those on the MSPA board were safety, traffic issues and how the change affected businesses.
The crosswalk affected the flow of traffic along Honolulu Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard, with traffic backing up in both directions and creating more traffic issues on surface streets.
During the MSPA meeting, Crescenta Valley Town Council President Robbyn Battles said the traffic was spilling into the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County/La Crescenta.
“What we are hearing is so much traffic is coming into the unincorporated area,” she said. “I am just concerned that parents [will not] come to Montrose because it is unsafe.”
She suggested the city speak to the county on traffic signal timing.
“I can tell you we will reach out to them,” Ochoa said.
At the time, Ochoa said the pilot program was scheduled for six months; however, it could be reduced to three months. Now it looks more like three weeks if the city council votes to change the crosswalk back.
The crosswalk was installed quickly and signage was another issue with the board. Rubik Golanian, Glendale Public Works director, said the signage did need improvement.
Golanian added that the intersection, along with other streets throughout Montrose, would be studied as part of the improvement project.
The discussion of garbage was also a hot topic at the meeting. MSPA has been working with the city and local businesses to deal with the increasing amounts of trash on the sidewalks and parking lots.
“Steve [Pierce, market coordinator] and I [approached] businesses and asked them to please take care of the trash in front of their stores, and they were cooperative,” Ordubegian said.
He is working with the city now to get more garbage cans and hopes the businesses will also take it upon themselves to keep their areas clean.
Ordubegian also spoke with Edith Fuentes who is running for Glendale City Council. She has a campaign office in the 2200 block of Honolulu Avenue which is in violation of a city code prohibiting office use on the first floor level of a building. The board was concerned the office would set a precedent for temporary campaign offices in retail areas.
“It looks like [the shopping park] is supporting Fuentes,” Garcia said.
She added that the Montrose Shopping Park is not endorsing Fuentes.
On Feb. 23, Fuentes was given a City of Glendale warning notice to vacate the building within 15 days. As of press time she had not vacated.
Another objection by the board was the campaign signs that were taped onto the windows of the vacant Rocky Cola Café.
“I spoke to [Fuentes] and she said she would take them down,” Ordubegian said. “And she did.”
To read some of the comments made regarding the crosswalk, visit page 11.