By Brandon HENSLEY
L.A. County Dept. of Public Works is moving forward on a project that will put medians on Foothill Boulevard within the next two years.
Lisa Woung, head developer of the project, spoke to residents at a beautification meeting on April 25 at the La Crescenta Library. Woung said development is scheduled to begin in late 2017 or early 2018, and would take approximately four to six months to complete.
Though there have been few in opposition to the project, there were no dissenters at the meeting, and Woung said community support is high for this to get started.
“I have a lot of positive support for the project,” Woung said. “At this point, I believe the community is largely supportive of the project, and I think most everyone here would agree with that. And we’re not slowing down, I think. We’re moving forward with the project and looking to get it out to you as soon as possible.”
The meeting was hosted by the Crescenta Valley Town Council to gauge community response and to let Public Works inform residents of its intentions. Town Council was awarded $1 million by Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s office specifically for this median project.
Woung said her team has completed a preliminary study of utilities underneath Foothill Boulevard, and the green light has been given to proceed.
There will most likely be two phases to the project, and Woung said more than $1 million more will have to be spent to complete Phase II. The medians in the first phase will go between Pennsylvania Avenue and Cloud Avenue; Dyer and La Crescenta; Sharon and Raymond; Rosemont and Sunset, and Sunset and Briggs Avenue.
Phase II will have the medians installed between Cloud and Ramsdell; Ramsdell and Glenwood; Glenwood and Dyer; La Crescenta and Sharon, and Raymond and Rosemont Avenue.
Foothill Boulevard will not be widened, Woung added.
David Gallagher, the landscape architect for the project, said public works will look to include drought-tolerant plants, and ones native to the area. He said county wants to go with a theme of Arroyo, because it would be a united structure of green, and a continuous rhythm.
“We are going with sustainable … what we feel are largely successful plants, and we have proof of it. You look around the community, and that’s what you’ll see in the rendering,” Gallagher said, as conceptual art was shown on the projector.
Resident Bron Ruf, a landscape architect who attended the meeting, voiced his concerns about the selection of trees. He said some of the trees available for choice, such as the London plane, are ordinary and do not have anything to do with La Crescenta, as well as not being as drought-tolerant as others. Ruf is suggesting something like the Swan Hill olive tree, which is fruitless and reflects on the olive groves planted in La Crescenta over a hundred years ago. Ruf said the area needs trees that are more majestic and identify with La Crescenta, as opposed to La Cañada.
When Gallagher said London planes go bare in the winter, there were audible groans from the audience.
Aside from materials going into the median, the other issue Woung addressed was the potential traffic problems medians might cause. She acknowledged people are worried about not being able to make left turns into driveways.
“We found that usually the first couple of months are the hardest months after construction,” she said. “But people adapt. Most of the time, people are happy to go down to the end of the block and make a U-turn and come back around.
“Unless a business has a particular need, the impact will most likely by minimal,” Woung said.