Bike advocates and Atwater activists on collision course over Glendale-Hyperion bridge project

Rendering of Glendale-Hyperion bridge after project has been completed/Bureau of Engineering

By Tony Cella

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.

Related Links:

Glendale-Hyperion Bridge draft environmental impact report


  1. The bridge would not have to be widened to add bike lanes, the other lanes would simply not be at maximum allowed width, which is safer for everyone involved.
    It’s not ‘cyclists’ versus ‘activists’ at all, they agree on many of the points including: redesigning an historic bridge that is safe for all users.

    • How would making the 2 vehicle lanes narrower make them safer? especially for large trucks and other wide vehicles? honest question.

      • Narrower lanes help convince drivers to go at safer speeds. When lanes are really wide, drivers will often drive 55 or 60 (especially when going downhill), even if the posted signs say 35 or even 25. Collisions at 55 mph are very often fatal. Collisions at 25 mph rarely are.

  2. Yet another obnoxious and very aggressive and dictatorial attitude by these bike Nazis. No brain involved here, no real thinking, juts incredibly shallow-minded, idiotic — and even dangerous — demands.

    To mix bicycles into the flow on this bridge GUARANTEES death. It will not be a mere high possibility, it will be an absolute certainty. The merging of Hyperion and Glendale Boulevards at this bridge, together with the 5 Freeway traffic coming off and going on at this bridge, and the need to suddenly swoop across four lanes of traffic in a dangerously short distance in order to make that hairpin U-turn after exiting the freeway is already scarily dangerous. To mix bikes into those lanes and with them also changing lanes — there is no possibility whatsoever that bodies will not be piling up.

    And to that scenario these bike Nazis bring zero thinking and an force of steamrollers to bludgeon politicians, planners, everyone into mixing in the bikes anyway. They do all they can to out-maneuver the residents, not to discuss and consider. They take the approach that any tactics they use are fine as long as they win. The lie and twist with their Newspeak (go read “1984”) more than any other people around other than the Tea Party. They listen to nothing, live in complete Fantasyland. The hallucinate and see loads and loads of people riding bicycles down all these bike lanes every day — but anyone without mental illness and who has eyes can see that nearly on one wants to ride their bikes as they are just not out there, maybe one or two riders an hour in any of the bike lanes. Yet, look at the horror of traffic these bike Nazis have brought to Rowena for several hours every morning and afternoon — despite warnings before they eliminated the traffic lanes that that is the ONLY route to the freeway. And a pack of idiots are swayed by and follow these bike Nazis — only to put their bicycles away permanently after taking their first ride.

    Can we please prosecute these bike Nazis for predmeditated murder as soon as the first person is killed thanks to this bridge being made to the bike Nazis pleasure?

    • The city proposed the bike lanes back in 2010. The current plans for this bridge involve a barrier-protected sidewalk separated from car traffic. What the current bicycle activists are asking for is that bike lanes be included, ideally with the sidewalk, separated from car traffic.

      There are some major difficulties with the merge where Glendale and Hyperion come together. However, the current proposal already calls for a signalized crosswalk at this location. (As long as this is 2 seconds behind with the light at Glenfeliz/Glenhurst/Glendale, this will cause absolutely no delay to cars.)

      Also, if you read the current proposal, most of the freeway U-turns will be eliminated – the proposed modifications here include connecting the I-5 offramp in such a way that motorists can turn onto Glendale Blvd southbound as well as northbound. (Granted, this will increase westbound traffic on the short stretch of Rowena that you claim has “several hours” of “horror of traffic”.)

    • Will you please run for off so I can vote for you? I am so tired of these “Traffic Calming”, “Road Diet” jerk-offs running our city making me sit in traffic forever. Your 1984 analogy is so dead on. The warning signs flashing ” “Expect Delays”, ” Prepare To Stop” so much like the conditioning signs of “OBEY”, “Respect Authority” They want us to just accept that things are only going to get worst, so they wont have to even try to make it any better for us drivers. Just bend over and take it.

    • Nazis? 1984? Jesus…

    • It is nice beautiful bridge, like one of those Parisian bridges… but to got to Atwater you can only drive by car to… I avoided it like HELL… one can’t walk over there… it is a car loaded local… but now I bicycle there but will watch out the speedy cars… now lets do the same it was done in Rowena from Glendale blvd and Hyperion…. one lane for cars and a bike lane… love it… it would be amazing to the bridge traffic… more walkers and bikers… imagine it… no more crazy drivers over the speed limit… a walkable local place… this Nazi biker, me… has a big imagination to transform Atwater in a way friendly local place… LEAVE your car at home… Imagine the style and life we will have in the future…. I leave my TDI home and I love the cycling life now… we need must not more cars… and DRIVERS are the one who premeditate murder… why? they have the load and the speed… and think they won the road… a biker has no protection as a car… and we the biker will cut you off one day soon… and you are going to be the gilt driver in the BMW… watch out…. Mr. Tom… it is gonna more of us very soon… Nazi or not… we are the future… Amsterdam like!?!?! Ate logo!!

  3. Hmm, this sure seems to be written in a vacuum. Its not as if this is the only way for people on bikes to get over to Atwater. I note, bikers can already cross over at Los Feliz Boulevard and at Fletcher. And a new pedestrian- and- bike- and horse bridge-only to Atwater is in the works for a couple blocks north of Los Feliz, and a pedestrian- and- bike- bridge-only is in the works from Elysian Valley across the river.

    So, why is it so critical that this particular spot has to have traffic lanes taken out to accommodate bikers who already are very well accommodated? And as the other post notes, yes, that would be a very dangerous bridge to have bikes on, with all the merging traffic there cutting across lanes.

    • The same could be said about cars. Just let cars use Fletcher or Los Feliz and let peds and bikes use the bridge. Happy with that?

      The solution needs to be fair to everyone.

      • Everyone? You mean to all three bike riders a day? That’s all that you will ever see — as that is all you see now. You make it out like there is some big demand for riding bikes — but clearly there is not or we would see them all over all the time. There not only are not any kind of number of bike riders as there are cars, but there are hardly any bike riders out there at all. What is out there is a loud vocal group from all over the city who comes in to the meetings as if they lived there. Some do live there, but plenty others don’t — and that’s why such numbers are never seen on the roads riding bikes.

        When you have 10,000 people a day riding bikes down those roads, then you can come back and talk about running everyone else out of their way. Meanwhile, you’re demanding a solution that is in search of a problem.

        • If we took that attitude about cars 80-100 years ago then there would be nothing but bicycle infrastructure in LA.

        • I see bike riders on that bridge every day when I commute to work, it’s not just “3 a day”.

          The current plan that was developed 6-8 years ago needs to be updated to accommodate the new laws, populations and goals of the city’s transportation planning. This does not have to be a fight, just step back from “dammit, we decided this once and there can be no other way!”

    • Bike activists aren’t asking for traffic lanes to be taken away – they are asking for car lanes to be narrowed and bike lanes to be restored (as per the 2010 bike plan). Also, the documents submitted by the city indicate that the current bridge is underused – on page 2-31 and 2-32, it indicates that even during the peak hour, there are fewer than 1,500 cars traveling in each direction on Hyperion. In a single lane at 25 mph, that means that each car can be 65 feet apart, which is quite uncongested. The plan proposed by bicycle activists will allow two car lanes in each direction at sizes that are fine for 25 mph travel. At 25 mph, cars can cross the entire length from Waverly to Glenfeliz in 2 minutes.

      Note also that your proposed alternatives for bicycles (Los Feliz Blvd, Fletcher Dr, the new bridge on the red line piers, and the proposed La Kretz Crossing in Griffith Park) will add substantial amounts of distance to the route (.5 to 2 miles), as well as causing additional hill climbing and descent. Proposing that a cyclist use the La Kretz Crossing north of Los Feliz is very much like proposing that a car use the 134 as an alternative to Hyperion Ave – it’s certainly possible, but it will take people so far out of their way that it doesn’t make any sense.

      • Gee, the proposed bridge for bike riders just north of Los Feliz is no good for bikers, a bad idea? Wow! That’s not what the bike riders said then they demanded it! You have to at least be honest enough to be consistent, not just twisting arguments any old which way that suits you.

        And BTW, the speed limit on the bridge is 35 mph — as state law does not allow it to be posted at less than the safe speed. You seem to be demanding that it be made more dangerous by making the lanes narrower than they are supposed to be — so as to justify a lower safe speed.

        You also seem to be cheering on a design to push more cars onto Rowena, by you own words. Didn’t the bike riders just finish an effort to push cars off Rowena?! Again, look at the first paragraph about being honest and consistent.

        • The bridge north of Los Feliz is fine for bike riders, just as the 134 is fine for car drivers. But neither of them does what Hyperion Ave does.

          Also, it’s not the cyclists who are demanding the changes that will put more cars on Rowena – it’s the proposed modification to the I5 offramp, which motorists want (allowing left turns from the 5 onto southbound Glendale, instead of forcing people to take northbound Glendale and then the U-turn onto Hyperion) that will put people on Rowena. If you want to cut down on traffic on Rowena, then you should complain to the engineers about allowing lefts from the 5 onto southbound Glendale. But I think most of us accept that increased traffic on Rowena is a small price to pay for the benefit of all of us who drive and hate having to turn right and then do that U-turn when coming home from the freeway.

      • By my calculations, you could get from Waverly to Glenfeliz in 72 seconds going 25 mph BTW. Thanks for the calm, reasonable, well researched responses Kenny.

  4. Love the Nazi analogy for cyclists. That’s what they are a bunch of road Nazi’s. Personally, I think they should keep leaving the highways as unsafe as possible so you and the other Nazi hunters can bowl them over in your car. All makes sense.

    Ignorant A-Holes!

    It is unsafe on the roads. Bike lanes aren’t really going to protect us from the Nazi Hunters. These are the types of cowards that will buzz us in their cars, yell at us but when you catch them at a stop sign their windows go up and they turn their heads. They will throw things at you when they are doing 50 or my favorite is the roll up and honk from behind. No reach around, just horn.

    Road Diet. I agree, I hate the road diet. I hate that they voted in a road diet because the Nazi Hunters can’t drive the speed limit. I understand you want to be vigilant and get as many Nazi’s but sometimes there are pedestrians and other collateral damages in your quest to eradicate the streets. I am confident in you dedication to pushing a 2000 pound car against a 20 pound bike. You guys do have the tools, the anger and the ignorance to definitely make the roads so unsafe that people who once enjoyed riding their bikes in the city will simply leave them in the garage. But hey, on the upside, you prevented another holocaust.

    • “but when you catch them at a stop sign their windows go up and they turn their heads”

      So true. what’s up with that!?

      • because not all bike riders are as courteous and civil as you. There are those who exhibit poor behaviour for supposed slights just because we are “cagers”. It’s easier to ignore anyone on a bike than to get caught up in a cortisol raising “discussion” that might end with being spat on or sprayed with a water bottle or somesuch.

  5. Can’t help but think of the Bike lanes they just put in on Colorado in Eagle Rock. Traffic is so much worse, especially around Broadway and later up by Trader Joes. Still have not seen a single bike in that lane. I drive that street every day.

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