June 20, 2024 11:54 am

Glendale City Council Postpones La Crescenta Avenue Project for Additional Funding

The Glendale City Council has decided to delay the La Crescenta Avenue Rehabilitation Project, which was set to commence in June, to allow for the acquisition of additional funding. This decision was reached during the council meeting on May 21, 2024. The project aims to remove one lane of traffic in each direction on La Crescenta Avenue, install a center two-way left turn lane, and add protected bicycle lanes on both sides. Additionally, deteriorated pavement on the street will be replaced. This project has elicited mixed reactions from both council members and residents.

After receiving construction bids in March ranging from $15.4 million to $17.7 million, city staff identified unallocated Measure R funding that could be available from the Metro Board in July. Consequently, the council voted 3-2 to reject all current bids and update the project plans and specifications to comply with the new funding criteria before re-advertising the project.

City Manager Roubik Golanian elaborated on the funding opportunity, explaining that the additional Measure R funds could free up $3 million for other transportation projects. This decision sparked a broader discussion about the project’s merits.

Councilman Dan Brotman emphasized that the project’s primary focus is safety, citing data on collisions and speeding on La Crescenta Avenue. He noted that the addition of bike lanes is secondary to the project’s goal of reducing accidents and speeding. Mayor Elen Asatryan echoed this sentiment, stating that the project is about creating safe streets, not just accommodating bicycles.

Conversely, Councilman Ara Najarian described the project as a “bike lane project disguised as a safety project,” while Councilman Ardy Kassakhian supported the safety aspect and downplayed the political controversy surrounding bike lanes. Kassakhian emphasized that the project aims to slow down traffic and enhance safety for all road users.

Public opinion on the project remains divided. Melissa Church, a public commenter and PTA president for Fremont Elementary, urged the council to proceed with the project without delay, highlighting the dangers posed by speeding cars in residential areas. On the other hand, some residents, like Rosa Aida, expressed concerns about increased traffic congestion resulting from the reduction of traffic lanes.

Deputy Director of Public Works Sarkis Oganesyan reported that the project would lead to a 30% reduction in collisions over 20 years and a decrease in speed. He also mentioned that the existing traffic volumes are well within the capacity for a road diet.

Despite some support for the delay to secure additional funding, Councilman Vartan Gharpetian proposed reevaluating the project’s design, suggesting alternatives like adding only one bike lane and maintaining two traffic lanes in each direction. He also raised concerns about the impact on street parking, which Oganesyan acknowledged would see an 18% reduction to enhance safety.

Ultimately, the council voted to proceed with the current project framework, with Asatryan, Brotman, and Kassakhian in favor. Gharpetian and some public commenters remain concerned about traffic and parking impacts.

In the meantime, Kassakhian proposed temporary measures, such as traffic cones, to simulate the project’s impact on traffic flow. Golanian agreed to develop a plan for these temporary measures and present it to the council for approval.