Cyclists are pushing for the addition of bike lanes and other changes to the long-awaited renovation of the Glendale-Hyperion bridge linking Atwater Village with Silver Lake and Los Feliz. But some Atwater Village activists say such changes could alter the historic character of the 84-year-old span and set back the $50 million project.
Both sides have called on their supporters to attend a public hearing tonight, Oct. 28, in the Friendship Auditorium at 3201 Riverside Drive at 6 p.m.
City engineers say the Glendale-Hyperion Viaduct, a 1,200-foot-long span that consists of three bridges over the Los Angeles River and 5 Freeway, fails to meet modern seismic as well as highway standards. The project calls for the construction of an alternate pedestrian and bike crossing downstream from the bridge. But much to the dismay and anger of cycling advocates, the plans do not include separate bike lanes on the Glendale-Hyperion bridge itself and would include a sidewalk on only one side of the span.
Since the plans have been unveiled, cyclists concerned about the lack of sidewalks and bike lanes have organized against the proposal, picking up support from a Glendale city councilmember and a state assemblymember. Eric Bruins, Director of Planning and Policy for the L.A. County Bike Coalition Director of Planning and Policy, criticized the current plans for not adhering to city, state and federal policies and support of bike and pedestrian friendly streets.
But proponents of the current plans for the Glendale-Hyperion bridge are concerned that re-configuring the plans to include bike lanes will add another hurdle to a process. “Where were they back in 2007 or 2005?” asked community activist Luis Lopez.
Lopez, who is part of the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council and Chamber of Commerce, felt the push for bike lanes comes at the last minute and could create a huge set back for the project, which entered the planning stages in 2004. Adding bike lanes would require closing at least one lane of traffic or widening the bridge, an option Lopez said was taken off the board in 2005 because it would alter the historic character of the bridge.
“The plans have already been vetted by the community,” he said of the current proposal.
Bruins disputed that they were slowing the project down and said they were hoping to make the changes to the project in as “expeditious” a manner possible.
“We’re working pretty closely with the Bureau of Engineering to have these issues resolved,” he said. “It’s not our fault the BOE is not following their own policy and state law. We just happen to be the ones asking them to do it.”
Tony Cella is a freelance reporter who has covered crime and grime in Los Angeles, New York City and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Click here to contact Cella with questions, comments or concerns.