By Mary O’KEEFE
On Thursday, Aug. 18, the Crescenta Valley Town Council invited members of the City of Glendale Public Works Dept. to discuss the upcoming La Crescenta Avenue Rehabilitation project.
The project presents two alternatives: Alternative 1, which included a “dedicated and protected colored bicycle lane – Bike Lane. Alternative 2 is a class III bike route – shared roadway markings – sharrows.”
The Bike Lane (Alternative 1) would reduce driving lanes to “one lane per direction of travel” on La Crescenta Avenue from Montrose Avenue to North Verdugo. In addition there will be a bike lane on each side of La Crescenta Avenue with a protective barrier and an addition of a center two-way left turn lane.
At present in this area La Crescenta Avenue is two lanes traveling each way.
The sharrows (Alternative 2) proposal would include “wider travel lanes to accommodate both cyclists and drivers; there would be shared lane markings to alert drivers of bicyclists.”
Alternative 1 would allow a left-turn lane that would improve safety, reduce drivers’ speed and the number of collisions and encourage bicycling. This is according to the City of Glendale.
Alternative 2 would maintain existing traffic lanes, would have a shorter corridor commute time and maintain current drivers’ recognition of bicyclists, according to the City.
Local Glendale resident Patrick Murphy spoke at the CVTC meeting during public comment. He voiced his concerns, as he has at past outreach discussions on this project, of cut-through traffic especially if Alternative 1 is chosen and the number of lanes is reduced.
He said that during an outreach meeting that was held with residents in the Sycamore Avenue area, which would be directly affected by the project, “everyone” who came to that meeting was opposed to Alternative 1, preferring Alternative 2.
He also mentioned that a “vote” during a virtual meeting may have trended toward the Alternative 2 choice but “many of those people don’t live in the neighborhoods” that would be affected, and some did not live in the City of Glendale.
Two other people who spoke during public comment spoke in favor of Alternative 2.
The CVTC members also had questions for the Glendale representatives including concerns about emergency vehicles and limiting the number of traffic lanes.
The city representatives said the center lane would be used for emergencies and when they approached the Glendale Fire Dept. for comment there were no “major” concerns.
CVTC member Donna Libra said she felt the Alternative 1 choice may reduce traffic on La Crescenta Avenue but that traffic would then go to Foothill Boulevard as an alternative, creating traffic issues for the unincorporated area of Los Angeles County/La Crescenta – the area represented by CVTC members.
Traffic congestion and traffic cutting through local streets continued to be a concern.
Pastor Casanova, principal traffic engineer for the City of Glendale, said there was a potential for cut-through traffic but felt it would be “manageable.”
In an interview with CVW, Yazdan Emrani, director of Glendale City Public Works, said the City has held about 13 community outreach meetings concerning this project.
“We will have additional outreach at the 90% design plan stage for the chosen alternative,” he said.
Public Works will present to the City Council on Sept. 13 when the alternative will be voted on by councilmembers.
Emrani added that CVTC’s main concern seemed to be with potential cut through traffic if Alternative 1 were to be implemented. He told the CVTC that the process of choosing between the two alternatives will include information from the outreach meetings. Although there has been an informal tally of community members’ preferences, he stressed it was not an actual voting process. It was more about how the neighbors and community at large responded to either choice.
The City looks at every street in a separate pavement management study, which was completed last year. When streets like La Crescenta Avenue are found that need re-paving and other items of repair they then take the opportunity to look at how these projects may work with the City’s goal of making streets safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
“City’s existing Bicycle Transportation Plan, adopted by City Council, recommended a bicycle facility study and implementation. Public Works Dept. conducted this study, which included analysis of the specific characteristics of the road and determined that a design option which includes re-purposing of the road, and adding protected bike lanes on both sides would be a feasible option,” he said.
Emrani added that the City will monitor traffic impact and will work with the neighbors affected.
“The overall goals of this project are to encourage active transportation and Complete Streets concept, which promote walking and bicycling through traffic calming measures, improve access to transit, encourage shared mobility and improve ADA [Americans Disabilities Act] access throughout the corridor,” he said.
Everyone is encouraged to review the project at www.GlendalePWprojects.com and to share comments with: Sarkis Oganesyan, deputy director, Public Works/City Engineer, SOganesyan@Glendaleca.gov or call (818) 548-3945; Rustom Tavitian, project manager, RTavitian@Glendaleca.gov or call (818) 937-8326; Yvonee Guerra, public outreach YGuerra@Glendaleca.gov or call (818) 548-3986.