Info Gathered on Verdugo Wash Project

Landscape architect Allyson Czechowicz points at photos of the Wash as it currently looks and functions.
Photo by Julie BUTCHER


On Saturday, City of Glendale officials continued efforts to collect input on plans for the nine miles that make up the Verdugo Wash by soliciting feedback at events it hosted in downtown and at Verdugo and Fremont parks.

At Verdugo Park, local residents viewed drawings and renderings, charts and maps and graphs of the various possibilities for enhancing each part of the Wash. These include walking and bicycling trails, active and passive recreation, strategies to encourage habitat and wildlife restoration, and park and open space, all situated atop the hydrological infrastructure that currently protects against flooding.

“We’ve received a lot of input so far, much of it positive. Of course, people have raised concerns and that’s why we’re here,” one of the !melk consultants reported.

Last year, the New York-based !melk firm was hired. The company expressed its enthusiasm about the project at the time: “With a length of 9.4 miles, the Verdugo Wash flows south-east along the eastern edge of the Verdugo Mountains to ultimately join the Los Angeles River just north-east of Griffith Park. With the exception of the free-flowing stream inside the Verdugo Wash Debris Basin Dam, today the Verdugo Wash is entirely encased in a concrete flood control channel.

“Well, this is going to change! Imagine a beautiful pedestrian and bicycle-centric green linear boulevard that creates new connections between the different communities of Glendale; that establishes new neighborhood public space amenities, with ample areas for events and activities; and that re-introduces and restores a local ecology that got disrupted and lost over the past decades. We’re honored by the trust the City of Glendale has placed in !melk and our team (which includes Buro Happold) and stoked to be able to work on such an amazing project!”

“We’re dreaming!” City Planner Dennis Joe explained. “This is the visioning stage. We’re listening to people’s concerns and seeking detailed input about what people want and where they want it. Each part of this project will need to be tailored to the specific neighborhood it runs through.”

Fred Zohrehvand, Glendale’s principal mobility planner, responded to some of the concerns raised.

“It will be closed at night,” said Zohrehvand. “Anything can be mitigated. We’re here today to begin to address the fears we’ve heard about – concerns about the homeless and crime and the noise of construction.”

“Even just riding here [to Verdugo Park] from our Citrus Grove neighborhood was rough – had us riding through parking lots,” a cyclist told landscape architect Allyson Czechowicz. “My husband grew up in Glendale and having a dedicated, protected bike lane would be a really big deal.”

“Building amenities that improve the community’s quality of life ­– that’s what we do,” Jerry van Eyck of !melk explained. “The concrete channels of the ’30s are outdated. People want less brutalism, more beauty.

“This is not our first rodeo. We’ve just started talking to the community. Folks are always a little bit hesitant at first at the disruption of the status quo. Those who are most skeptical often end up being the biggest boosters of our projects. Would you rather be living next to a concrete strip or next to a beautiful park? Which do you think will increase the value of your property?”

Bradley Calvert of the city’s Community Development Department noted that, while a great deal of input has been elicited including from an online survey ( and meetings and events held so far, many more of these kinds of input-seeking opportunities will be held.

In a letter dated Feb. 22, CV activist Susan Bolan wrote on behalf of the Crescenta Valley Community Association: “In reviewing the 132-page pre-design report, our association does not feel that the listed items below of safety, security, noise, property lines, property values and eminent domain have been properly addressed. In addition, the report fails to state with the confidence of hard data that flood capacity will not be compromised and that adjacent properties will not be at risk by the introduction of any new designs or ‘interventions.’ Further, we did not see suggested mitigation measures that will ensure a safe and secure location for both users of the space and neighboring properties nor any ballpark estimates on cost.

“While we support the expansion of open space within neighborhoods and opportunities for safe separation of pedestrians, bikes and vehicles, we are not sure this is the best choice for the Wash areas north of Glendale Community College. In our opinion, the Visioning portion of the study is premature if the items of concern are not considered. We are sure there are many more that we did not list. We sincerely hope that Glendale is still at the stage of ‘whether we should be altering our flood channels’ and not, ‘how are we going to make this dream happen?’” the association’s letter closed.

The city has shared the latest information on a website dedicated to the wash