By Ted AYALA
Advocates of bicycling in Glendale were dealt a blow by City Council on Tuesday. After reviewing a proposal by the city’s Traffic and Transportation Department to allow a road diet of La Crescenta Avenue between Verdugo Road and Montrose Avenue, the council voted against the proposal.
The road diet, to have been incorporated into the city’s general bicycle master plan, would have sheared two of the road’s four lanes. The remaining space would have been set aside for bicyclists for a four-month trial period due to have begun next month.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to make it safe for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists,” said Jano Baghdanian, the department’s director. He informed that before the road diet would have been implemented, Baghdanian’s department would do vigorous public outreach to keep the community informed of the project.
Natalie Wienarski was one of many residents and members of Walk Bike Glendale who came out to throw her support behind the road diet.
“The [road diet] will encourage drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians to move in harmony,” she said.
“I don’t consider this a special interest,” said Alek Bartrosouf, also a member of Bike Walk Glendale. “I consider this to be human interest because we want safe roads for everybody.”
Glendale City Council, however, cited past opposition from Glendale’s motorists and safety concerns in their veto of the diet.
“Cars are bigger and they will venture into the bicycle lanes if [their drivers] are late for work,” said Councilman Rafi Manoukian. “If they have to pass a car, they are just going to do that.”
Councilman Dave Weaver also expressed no sympathy for bicyclists.
“I don’t like bicycle lanes,” he said. “It doesn’t add up to me at all. When you take away lanes, you go contrary to what the [city engineers] have historically created. These ideas are only as good as the drivers and bicyclists – who continue to amaze me by giving the middle finger and weaving in and out of traffic lanes. Sorry – cars don’t mix well with pedestrians and bicyclists.”
Mayor Laura Friedman, who supported the road diet, also pulled back, expressing her hesitance over whether La Crescenta Avenue was a good place to begin implementing bicycle lanes.
“Maybe [La Crescenta Avenue] is not the right one for our first one,” she said.
Baghdanian informed the council that his department will further study the matter and bring proposals for different streets for the council to consider in the future.