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Glendale gives thumbs-up to bike plan

Council moves forward with bicycle infrastructure, but a plan to install 'reverse parking' on Brand gets no support.

March 29, 2012|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • A cyclist rides south on the 700 block of Sonora Avenue in Glendale. The city's Bicycle Transportation Plan would add colored bike lanes and new routes.
A cyclist rides south on the 700 block of Sonora Avenue… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Glendale’s plan to improve infrastructure for bicycle transportation was welcomed with open arms Tuesday by most on the City Council, which, despite differing opinions, gave city officials the OK to move forward with the upgrades.

The first of its kind in 15 years, Glendale’s new draft Bicycle Transportation Plan includes recommendations for new bike lanes and routes, coloring in some lanes, adding more shared lane markings — known as sharrows — and even slimming down some roads to make way for dedicated bicycle lanes.

“I think there are many, many reasons to do this and very few reasons not to,” said Mayor Laura Friedman during the special City Council meeting.

The long-term planning document was the result of two years worth of community outreach and studies on how to make bicycling more attractive in Glendale. The 3-1 vote on Tuesday sends the measure to the next stage of environmental review.

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FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this story misstated the Council's vote on the measure.

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All the improvements could cost $5 million, plus about $380,000 for bicycle parking. The city has already approved spending about $320,000 on new parking racks. Dozens have been installed since July.

Since money is limited, the city could make small improvements along the way as street construction occurs. The City Council would have to vote on the projects again as each is ready for implementation.

Not all proposed projects included in the plan have unanimous support, such as a suggestion to alter parking along Brand Boulevard to make it safer for cyclists.

Councilman Ara Najarian, in particular, took issue with the recommendation to convert the street to back-end first parking. The idea also fell flat with the Transportation and Parking Commission.

“I’m never going to support that,” Najarian said. “I think it’s a recipe for disaster.”

But only Councilman Dave Weaver opposed the overall plan and was the only council member to dissent.

“I do not support this,” he said, describing the plan to increase bicycle lanes in the city as “folly.”

Nathalie Winiarski, a member of community group Walk, Bike Glendale, said the group plans to host workshops focused on safe biking practices.

During street improvements in June, the city will be slimming down a mile-long stretch of Honolulu Avenue near the Montrose Shopping Park from two lanes in each direction to one in each direction to accommodate a bike lane on both sides. The process is the city’s first so-called “road diet” test.

“Cities across the region are headed in this direction,” said Councilman Frank Quintero, noting that the draft plan is just one step of many. “We’re not going to do it overnight, but we’re certainly headed in the right direction.”

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