By Ted AYALA
Glendale City Council made brisk work of a packed agenda Tuesday night, its last meeting before a one-week recess next week.
The first item on the docket was the awarding of a contract to Chrisp Company of Fremont, Calif. to implement the first phase of the city Bicycle Master Plan (BMP). The awarded contract was in the amount $45,170.
According to its website, Chrisp Company lists among its products the installation and removal of traffic lane paint, traffic signs, barricades and raised pavement markers.
There has been widespread approval of the city’s BMP, though it had hit pockets of resistance in some areas, most notably in Montrose where residents there successfully defeated a proposal to implement bicycle lanes along Honolulu Avenue.
Some dissent over the city’s decision to move forward with Phase 1 of the BMP was heard from Mike Mohill, who asked council to consider levying fees on bicyclists similar to those levied on skateboarders that use the city’s skate parks.
“How come there’s no fee for people who ride their bicycles in the city?” he asked. “Everybody else is paying fees. Are they special?”
Council also voted to approve the city’s acceptance and participation grant program operated by the state Office of Traffic Safety. Among the uses designated for the grant would be to improve police enforcement against drunk drivers, drivers that violate the city’s speed limits and distracted drivers.
Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan introduced the item as a much-needed tool for driving enforcement, which he referred to as a “blemish” on the city’s reputation. He also cited an accident that occurred earlier Tuesday when an out-of-state driver ran over an elderly pedestrian and child on Honolulu Avenue as an example of why Glendale should participate.
“We have to do what we have to do to regulate this situation,” he said. “If we have to give out tickets like it’s candy – when it’s merited, of course – then we have to do that. I know residents might be unhappy [about that], but if it’s going to save lives, we have to do it.”
GPD Chief Ron de Pompa spoke on the council dais in support of the $228,000 grant, saying that the grant would help the city “immeasurably” in educating the public about traffic safety, as well as penalizing scofflaws. A large portion of the grant would go towards funding police enforcement efforts in targeting specific problem areas within the city.
“[This would] allow us to expand our core mission of traffic safety,” he said. “The thing that we find that changes driving behavior most significantly is when you issue a citation. Having the agility to identify and move to where the problems are is going to pay dividends.”
Chief de Pompa also noted that, despite the recent spate of pedestrian accidents in the city, levels of such accidents in the city have held to levels comparable to past years.
“That’s still not good,” he added.
Finally, council heard the findings of a city report concerning the potential development of a property on 4201 Pennsylvania Ave. in La Crescenta. The report investigated the merits of an appeal that had been filed against the Design Review Board’s approval of a proposal by Olson Homes of Seal Beach to develop the property into multi-unit housing. The issue has been a long and protracted one with area residents staunchly opposed to the project, citing concerns over the deterioration of traffic, availability of parking, aesthetic problems and general quality-of-life posed by it.
John Riegston, representing Olson Homes, asked the council for its specific direction on the project before his company met with residents to reach a compromise regarding changes to the building’s architecture.
“We can go back to the community, change the architecture, give it a more Spanish look,” he said.