Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Cyclists push city to make room for bikes on Glendale-Hyperion bridge project

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

By Tony Cella

Bike riders and cycling advocates came out in force to a Monday night public hearing to demand the addition of bike lanes and more room for pedestrians in a $50 million proposal to renovate the Glendale-Hyperion bridge between Atwater Village and Silver Lake.

The cycling activists far outnumbered a group of Atwater residents who feared that making changes to the current proposal would endanger the entire project and alter the span’s historic character.

Part of the forum covered possible solutions to address mounting criticism of the Bureau of Engineering’s proposal that is outlined in a preliminary environmental impact report. City officials said the Glendale-Hyperion bridge, which is actually composed of three bridges that run 1,200 feet over the Los Angeles River and the I-5 freeway, say the existing structure fails to meet modern seismic and highway traffic standards.

Some member of the public who spoke at the hearing pointed out the $50 million plan ignored the Los Angeles Department of Transportation Bike Plan, which proposed including a bike lane over the bridge, and the Caltrans “Complete Streets” directive that recommends state support for projects that protect pedestrian, public transportation and cyclist usage.

“We are all pedestrians. Even if we drive motor vehicles,” L.A. Walks Director Deborah Murphy said to a clamoring of applause.

City officials pointed out they must come up with a final plan relatively soon. During the presentation Bureau of Engineering Senior Engineer James Treadaway said the project will lose access to federal funding if they fail to submit necessary documentation by March 14.

Some Atwater residents opposed making changes to the current proposal, which has been in development for nearly a decade, expressed anger that the bicyclists waited until the last minute to demand changes. They say the current plans were formulated after a significant amount of public involvement and will address a pressing need.

“Just imagine if the big one hits during rush hour and the bridge fails and crushes traffic on the I-5,” said one opponent of the cyclists.

“Enough is enough,” said said Atwater Village activist Luis Lopez, who critiqued the bicyclists for proposing changes at the last minute. “We need to protect the bridge from earthquakes and preserve our historic monuments.”

The challenge facing engineers is how to squeeze enough room on the bridge to safely accommodate motor vehicle traffic, bikes and pedestrians. The current proposal calls for the construction of a second, smaller crossing for pedestrians and cyclists just south of the Glendale-Hyperion bridge.

Some potential solutions discussed Monday night:

  • The city suggested creating two lanes of traffic in each direction, with the outer lanes being 11 feet wide and the inner lanes 10.5 feet wide. Each side would be flanked by three foot striped shoulders. A four and a quarter foot pedestrian crosswalk would run along one side with a two foot crash barrier in the middle for the 58 foot section of the Hyperion Avenue bridge near Waverly Bridge. The 69-foot wide portion of the bridge that extends over the freeway would have four 11 foot travel lanes, each with a four foot striped shoulder, separated by a two foot wide barrier. A seven foot walkway would on one side would carry pedestrians, according to the city, and replica railings would line either side. In the bureau’s plan, cyclists would use the striped shoulder.
  • The engineering department also presented an alternative design formulated by the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition. In the cycling advocacy group’s design, the wider section of the Hyperion Bridge would have four, eleven-foot wide traffic lanes, two six-foot wide bike lanes and a seven-foot wide pedestrian sidewalk with a small one foot wide barrier between cars.

The cyclists, who comprised the majority of speakers, critiqued the bureau’s plan for entrenching automobile culture, not providing enough space for bikers and not endeavoring to slow down automobiles on the “Autobahn of a block.”

“You want to put up a divider to keep cars from crashing into each other, but you’ll only put down a thin strip of paint to protect us?” said one speaker.

Several victims of hit and run accidents—including a cyclist named Adam who spent six months in the hospital after suffering broken ribs, neck and rended jaw after a collision on the bridge—spoke about the dangers of the bridge.

“I’m so much more afraid, as a cyclist, of being hit by a car than of an earthquake,” said one speaker.

The public has until Nov. 7 to submit written comments in response to the proposal and the finding of a preliminary environmental impact report.

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:

Eastsider Advertising


  1. A couple of points of clarification for the article:
    — the footbridge proposed for bikes and pedestrians south of the main bridge will connect Atwater Village to the LA River Bike path, which is nice for recreational use, but it does not help in connecting the neighborhoods on the East and West sides of the river (additional barriers not helped by this footbridge are the 5 freeway and the steep hills into Silver Lake). Right now, there are essentially only three ways between these neighborhoods by bike: the Hyperion bridge, Fletcher, and Los Feliz Blvd. All three are treacherous, and the concern is that by implementing highway design standards to Hyperion, one of those three options will become even more dangerous for those not in cars.
    — with respect to those claiming that cyclists are coming in at the “last minute,” it is worth emphasizing that the City only released this design for the first time on September 25. Pedestrian and cycling advocates immediately responded as soon as this was announced. Previously, cyclists had every reason to believe that the City would propose a safe and accessible design (it had designated the bridge for bike lanes in the 2010 bike plan). Apparently there were outreach meetings with certain groups about the plan dating back before that, but this apparently did not involve any outreach to pedestrian and cycling advocacy groups.

  2. If they’re going to rebuild the bridge for safety, they should do it right and include wide sidewalks, protected bike lanes and narrower traffic lanes. The status quo traffic flow of 50+ mph is absurdly dangerous… it’s a public street, not a freeway.

  3. You failed to mention who all the bike riders were. I’m sure that as they have found in many other meetings in various other neighborhoods, they have been brought in from all over the region to pack neighborhood meetings a appear like lots of bike riders in the area want that. But few of them are actually from the area.

    There is a offensively aggressive and organized effort by these bike riders, and they all from all over the region show up at these neighborhood meetings to overwhelm the locals. And they twist fact and information, and generally misrepresent.

    Bottom line is to just open your eyes and look: hardly anyone bicycles on the streets, no one wast to. But at these meetings, the bike lobby tries to make it appear that everyone wants to. That is very false. Anyone with eyes can see that over the course of any hour of the day, hardly any bikers will be coming down any of the the street, even those that have had bike lanes for nearly the entire past decade. I can tell you streets where they have put in bike linens, and all the time before they were put in and all the time after, I have never once since anyone at all ride a bike there (Consider Santa Monica Boulevard from Manzanita to Virgil — they took out two traffic lanes, yet no one at all rides a bike there).

    They say the Hyperion Bridge often has 1,500 cars an hour. When you get that many bikers over there is a week, much less an hour, maybe then you can start making these demands. Don’t be making these demands for three people, all the while doing everything you can think up any way possible to foul up traffic everywhere no matter what.

    • I don’t think the goal is to cause traffic jams. I think the goal is to make the streets safer.

    • “You failed to mention who all the bike riders were. I’m sure that as they have found in many other meetings in various other neighborhoods, they have been brought in from all over the region to pack neighborhood meetings a appear like lots of bike riders in the area want that. But few of them are actually from the area.”

      I was at the hearing last night, and this is flat-out untrue.

      Perhaps if the bridge were made safer for people to walk and ride bikes on, the amount of bike and foot traffic would increase? Several speakers complained that they feel they have no other choice but to drive across the bridge because the other options are too dangerous.

      • Would that be like the thousands of people a day I see using the newly installed bike lanes on Rowena? The fact of the matter is that while there is a small minority of people pushing for these road diets, who don’t care about the consequences on traffic and the overflow onto surrounding streets. I even use the river bike path on the weekends (with my son) and rarely see more than 4 or 5 other bikers over the course of an hour. It’s great that bikers want to improve conditions for themselves, but they have to realize that sometimes there are other needs that have to be met as well.

        • If the Rowena bike lanes are sparsely used, it’s because they don’t provide a continuous connection from one community to another, or from one bicycle facility to another. The Hyperion bridge is one of only a few routes across a number of different barriers (the 5 freeway, the river, the hills), and when people bike across it, it’s mainly for transportation purposes, as opposed to recreation on the LA River path.

          Anyway, the main purpose of the Rowena road diet was not to provide bike lanes — it was to cut down on excessive motor vehicle speeds and improve pedestrian safety after two people were killed while crossing the street.

          “they have to realize that sometimes there are other needs that have to be met as well.”

          The same could be said for those who argue for the prioritization of automobile movement over other forms of mobility. As it stands now, the bridge is being designed with nearly 100% consideration for the convenience of people who drive cars, with all other users (people who are unable to drive, or can’t afford to drive, or choose not to drive, or would like to choose not to drive) given the tiny bit of space that’s left over — space that’s inadequate to meet their needs.

          • Niall, you have just undermined all the assertions of the bike lobby and showed how they lie at every point. You say the reason for bike lanes on Rowena wasn’t to accommodate bikes, but to intentionally thwart traffic!? I think then that you are calling the bike lobby a bunch of liars, as they said there was a great need and demand for use of bike lanes and steamrolled over anyone who had any other ideas or opinions.

            I also think you are saying that creating fraudulent situations as a fake excuse to thwart traffic is the point of bike lanes, as you are asserting that was the point of the bike lanes on Rowena. (And mind you, while it is tragic that those two pedestrians got killed, they did J-walk and dart out in front of oncoming traffic in the dark and from behind parked cars. That is hardly a situation that you can say means the street is dangerous!)

            I also note, the bicycle lobby demanded that a bridge banning cars, allowing bicycles and pedestrians (and even hroses) be built north of Hyperion and another south of Hyperion. Now that those are preparing to be built, the bicycle lobby is saying they can’t be expected to use those bridges, they need to have Hyperion turned over to them too (and as on Rowena, are calling for the speed limit to be reduced to 25 mph, which according to you is really the whole point of putting in bike lines, not really for bike riders, who clearly do not use them).

            Well, at least make up your mind! Should we cancel those two bike bridges and put that money into what you want on Hyperion instead, since now the bike lobby says it doesn’t want those other two bridges? Do you see how the bike lobby’s lies can have a way of catching up with them after a while?

            Also, mind you, Rowena is not the only place where the bike lanes are sparsely used. They are sparsely used, if even that much, EVERY place they have been put in. Just look. And, of those very few you ever see bicycling, only a very tiny fraction of that are actually using them for transportation rather than just a little Sunday ride (whatever day of the week it might be).

            People have voted about this with their “feet.” They are in their cars, not on bicycles. You twist things to talk as if it were the opposite. And mind you, they are generally happy to have bikes, but that doesn’t mean they want that used to make the traffic worse than it already is. Too bad the bike lobby isn’t so altruistic about car riders.

          • Mark, you said: “Niall, you have just undermined all the assertions of the bike lobby and showed how they lie at every point. You say the reason for bike lanes on Rowena wasn’t to accommodate bikes, but to intentionally thwart traffic!?”

            I think what Niall means is that the reason for the implementation isn’t solely to increase the levels of cycling. If you attended any of the meetings on the Rowena road diet project, you would have heard from Tom LaBonge that his primary reason for supporting the project is to improve safety. Typically projects that are intended to increase the amount of cycling are also projects that improve overall traffic safety. This does not mean Niall or the evil bike lobby is lying. By the way, several parents were at the meetings saying they supported the road diet because it would likely improve pedestrian safety.

            You said: “(And mind you, while it is tragic that those two pedestrians got killed, they did J-walk and dart out in front of oncoming traffic in the dark and from behind parked cars. That is hardly a situation that you can say means the street is dangerous!)”

            Crossing at any corner, unless signed otherwise, is legal. Any corner, unless signs explicitly state otherwise, is an “unmarked” crosswalk. Are we clear on this? So unless the pedestrians were killed crossing mid-block, they were not at fault. But suppose they were at fault, is death an adequate punishment for wanting to cross the street?

            You said: “I also note, the bicycle lobby demanded that a bridge banning cars, allowing bicycles and pedestrians (and even horses) be built north of Hyperion and another south of Hyperion. Now that those are preparing to be built, the bicycle lobby is saying they can’t be expected to use those bridges, they need to have Hyperion turned over to them too (and as on Rowena, are calling for the speed limit to be reduced to 25 mph, which according to you is really the whole point of putting in bike lines, not really for bike riders, who clearly do not use them).”

            The bridges serve different purposes. It’s an access issue. Just as motorists may have a freeways that accommodate different travel patterns, cyclists too need infrastructure to accommodate different travel paths/patterns.

            You said: “Well, at least make up your mind! Should we cancel those two bike bridges and put that money into what you want on Hyperion instead, since now the bike lobby says it doesn’t want those other two bridges? Do you see how the bike lobby’s lies can have a way of catching up with them after a while?”

            All bridges are appropriate. We wouldn’t ask drivers to “make up their minds” eliminate off-ramps – they appreciate having off-ramps for different occasions and paths of travel.

            You said: “Also, mind you, Rowena is not the only place where the bike lanes are sparsely used. They are sparsely used, if even that much, EVERY place they have been put in.”

            This is because we lack a grid, a connected network of safe, comfortable bike lanes. Do you think many people would use freeways if they abruptly ended and dumped drivers off onto dangerous, confusing streets? That’s what the bike network is like now… riding for half a mile then suddenly bike lanes disappear without notice and don’t connect to most destinations. Please read on the subject of induced demand.

            You said: “People have voted about this with their ‘feet.’ They are in their cars, not on bicycles.”

            Dumbest argument I’ve ever heard. This would be meaningful if people were choosing based on a neutral environment and equal choices. However, we all know this is not the case. LA is famously the “car capital” of the US… gee… could people be driving because for the past 60 years we’ve been “socially engineered” to do so? People are driving because it has been made the most pleasant and convenient form of transportation after billions of dollars of investment into automobile infrastructure. And even after billions of investment, people STILL complain about traffic, price of gas, air quality… So what’s stopping us from “socially engineering” the streets of LA to make them friendly for walking, and bicycling? Would it really be so bad if people started bicycling and walking? We can make the non-polluting forms of travel more appealing and I think everyone would be better off.

            You said: “Too bad the bike lobby isn’t so altruistic about car riders.”
            And your car lobby is altruistic? Hah!

          • Salts took the words right out of my mouth; great reply. I’ll just emphasize that the bike/ped bridges and the Hyperion Bridge serve completely different travel paths. The bike/ped bridges will do a great job of getting you between the LA River path and Atwater, but how are people in Silver Lake supposed to gain access to these connections when all of the routes that lead to the river path remain super-scary to navigate via bike? The river isn’t the only barrier that people need to cross to bike between Silver Lake and Atwater; they also need to get across the 5 freeway and the hills. Neither of the proposed bike/ped bridges accomplishes this. A bike/walk-friendly Hyperion bridge would.

            And yes, it’s rather ridiculous to take the relatively low rate of bicycling as evidence of people’s travel preferences. The playing field is nowhere near level. The trips people need to make are not limited to the 0.5 mile stretch of Rowena where a bike lane exists; if you need to go somewhere outside of that area but have to ride a dangerous stretch of road in order to do it, that 0.5 mile lane isn’t going to be enough to get you on a bike for that trip, even if you’re otherwise inclined to do it. Driving a car, on the other hand, never entails the same level of stress and vulnerability. If bicycling were safer, more comfortable, and more convenient, the relative rates of bicycling vs. driving would be very different.

        • I don’t believe any of the plans mentioned above call for removing auto lanes. It sounds like the majority of attendees were just asking that the lanes be narrowed to accommodate all road users, and to calm traffic so cars are going 30-35 (the speed limit) instead of 50-55 like it’s the 110 freeway.

          Also, bike traffic is light on Rowena because those lanes don’t really connect to anything yet. When they’re extended up to Silver Lake Blvd. (to Sunset, Hollywood and Downtown LA) and across the bridge to Atwater (and downtown Glendale) that will change.

        • We should station someone out there with a clipboard for an hour or two to actually count how many bikes go by and how many cars do. Obviously there are a lot more cars, but I think you’d be surprised at how many bikes there are. Bikes are a lot smaller and quieter than cars, and so it’s easy to overlook them.

          When I bike into Hollywood at rush hour, I’ve actually counted, and last time I counted, about 5% of the vehicles on Fountain Ave were bikes. That’s obviously a relatively small number, but it’s a number that’s been growing, and will be able to grow much more than the number of cars can.

    • “Bottom line is to just open your eyes and look: hardly anyone bicycles on the streets, no one wast to.”


    • Susan,

      The vast majority of folks speaking in favor of safe streets come from the immediate neighborhoods surrounding the bridge. Each time a cyclist/pedestrian got up to speak, they gave their name and whre they lived. Most of the cyclists (there were over 50 speakers) resided in Silver Lake, with the rest coming from Atwater, Los Feliz and Echo Park. One cyclists identified himself as from West LA while another came from Glendale.

      This bridge is one of only three crossings between Silver Lake and Atwater and points beyond and its design will affect the well-being of cyclists all over the L.A. region. You make it sound like we are being bussed in from San Fransisco. No, we are your neighbors.

    • Regarding the Hyperion Bridge project and cyclists….

      I’ve lived in Atwater for 18 years and the only way into my neighborhood is either at the Glenfeliz turnaround or Brunswick. If I choose the turnaround, during peak use I can wait for three or four traffic light sequences to make a left into my neighborhood. At times the traffic is so bad, it backs up onto the bridge. If I choose Brunswick, the left turn lane only accommodates three cars making a left turn. When more cars want to make a left onto Brunswick, the traffic backs up in the center lane due to the left turn lane already filled with three cars.

      Maybe its time to require multi-geared bicycles to be licensed. I pay a vehicle license fee for the privilege of using the road so it is certainly not unreasonable to require the same for cyclists. Fees collected could be used to add bike lanes that would improve safety for all. Also, cyclists who do not obey the laws of the road could be identified by their license number the same as a car.

      I see no reason for this project to be delayed. I cross that bridge everyday to buy groceries at Gelson’s and rarely do I see a cyclist on the bridge.

      • The traffic problem you’ve described is caused by too many people choosing to drive (backed up traffic, waiting several light cycles). How do we improve the situation given there’s a fixed amount of space? The smart thing to do is to invest in more efficient modes of transportation, like bicycling.

        License bicycles? Why? So that even fewer people will choose to ride bikes? You pay because your god damn car has so many negative externalities, ok. Because you are operating a machine that can kill. What’s the rational for licensing bicycles? Because they’re just too efficient and non-polluting? ALL FORMS OF TRANSPORTATION ARE SUBSIDIZED (buses, bikes, car, walking)… the one you pay the most to use does the most harm to society. Think about it, please.

        • Excuse me Salts, but I’m to be forced to ride a bike because you claim it is better? Seriously? If you want less traffic then fight these Mega Apartment complexes being built. I don’t see why at my age I should be forced to ride a bike because people claim rather idiotically I might add, that the traffic problem is due to too many cars. Gosh that’s pure genius. You know going to Trader Joe’s or Gelsons market is not something I would want to do on a bike. Other than that I work from my home and drive very little. But since I pay a registration fee for my car, it gives me the right to drive anywhere I see fit. When cyclists start paying for the use of the roads as those driving cars do, then you’ll have equal voice. As it is now, you seem to want to put the onus on those that drive to provide bike lanes.

          • How on earth would designing the bridge to be safer for biking and walking force anyone to ride a bike?

            Registration fees are not a road toll and do not confer a superior right to travel. The state charges registration fees in order to maintain the vehicle registration system, which is needed because cars are very large and expensive pieces of property that are capable of causing death, injury and serious property damage. And most surface streets are funded by general tax revenues that everyone pays into regardless of how much or little they drive.

            The fact that more housing is being built is not in itself a cause of traffic congestion. Congestion is worsening because too many of the residents of this new housing choose to drive too often, usually because the alternatives are perceived as too inconvenient, too dangerous, or both.

          • Forced to ride a bike– will cars be banned? No. What we need are viable choices. Bicycling IS better, on just about every metric: efficiency, for air quality, for our health… you know, things we claim to care about. You don’t want to cycle to Trader Joe’s, and that’s FINE! Nobody is taking that away from you, but what is being proposed is to make other modes of travel – the ones good for our health, environment, and pocket books – more appealing. Cycling and walking at the moment is dangerous and unpleasant, this needs to change.

            Value freedom of choice? Today we are all forced to drive because the streets are so hostile to any other mode. Make streets pleasant for walking, and cycling and you’ll get more walking and cycling while freeing up space for those who still need to drive.

            The alternative to increasing density in a built up area is to have sprawl elsewhere.

            ps. Many cyclists own cars… we drive too, ya know. We just see the value in having viable transportation choices for local trips.

            pps. Sorry for being a bit offensive, I will tone it down. I know you didn’t mention this, but I am coming to the realization on my own. My apologies.

          • Niall,

            Hold on, are you seriously saying mega apartments don’t add to the congestion of this city? I you don’t mind me asking, how long have you lived in Los Angeles?

            I moved here in 1976 and I used to be able to drive damn near anywhere without a problem. I’ve lived in the Silverlake/Atwater area almost the entire time I’ve live in Los Angeles. Was able to buy a house in atwater 18 years ago. Best place to live in my estimation. Anyways, I’ve seen parts of Silverlake destroyed by these Mega apartments. More cars parked on the street even though the city code says they must provide off street parking. It doesn’t matter, there are more cars because Los Angeles is growing. It’s a moot point to say the city is dominated by cars. That happened a long time ago when certain corporations bought up the mass transit system and then KILLED it in order to sell cars, tires and gasoline. Now we are trying desperately to rebuild what was once a well functioning mass transit system. Did you know, at one time the red cars ran down the middle of Atwater Village? You could take them all the way to the beach back then.

            Trust me, I want you to enjoy your life living in Los Angeles, we all want to make this city better. but pointing fingers at people who drive cars and claiming THEY are the problem won’t solve a damn thing. Other than pissing off those who love this city just as much as you do and want the best for all its citizens.


            No need for apologies, its good enough that you recognize that we are all in this together and I’m not your enemy, I’m your fellow citizen, that wants the best for our city.

          • I don’t necessarily blame residents for choosing to drive; it’s more a matter of our city government failing to adequately provide a range of viable and safe alternatives that can move people more efficiently using less road space. Driving needn’t and shouldn’t be the only option for getting around in a major city.

      • Richard – let’s try to think of some solutions for the left turn at Brunswick, and the length of the light cycle at Glendale/Glenfeliz/Glenhurst. I’m not very familiar with the turn at Brunswick, but I use that U-turn at the awful light fairly often. As far as I can tell, the problem is that there are a lot of different directions of travel that all want to use the same space – people go straight on Glendale, they turn from Glendale onto one or the other of the side streets, they do the U-turn, and they turn from each of the side streets onto Glendale. (It’s possible there are even some people going straight through from Glenhurst to Glenfeliz or vice versa.) Very few of those different motions can happen at the same time, so there need to be four or five different phases of the light cycle. Each of those phases probably needs at least 15 seconds of green (or more often 30 seconds), 3 seconds of yellow, and a second or so of all red. The straight through motion and the U-turn motion probably both need substantially longer than that, so that large backups of traffic can clear.

        The only way I can see to speed up the light cycle is to remove the possibility of some of those motions. If Glenhurst and Glenfeliz were made into right-turn-only patterns, and if left turns off of Glendale were banned (but the U-turn preserved), that would remove several phases of the cycle and speed things up. However, it would make it more difficult to get to those immediate neighborhoods, and those phases may already be missing from some cycles of the lights, if they don’t detect cars present.

        Maybe it would be possible to remove the U-turn here, once the exit from the 5 onto Glendale is reconfigured to allow southbound traffic, though that would divert a lot of people onto Rowena and its side streets. I suspect that removal of that U-turn would help shorten the phase of this light cycle a lot, but again, it would make it harder for people to access certain neighborhoods.

        Does anyone have any other suggestions? This is a clear neighborhood problem, and the bridge project is doing very little to address it, except to the extent that it diverts extra traffic onto Rowena.

        • Kenny, as it is, I turn left onto Glenfeliz to enter my neighborhood. I don’t see why it should be made more difficult for those of us who live in the middle section between Glendale Blvd and Los Feliz Bvd to enter our neighborhood. The vast majority of people using the turnaround are those that are making a u-turn. With the new proposal a lot of that traffic will be able to cross the bridge without having to make a right of the I-5 to go to the turnaround to make that u-turn. It would then allow those of us who make a left going home, as my wife does, to enter our neighborhood without the long delays. Some complain about cars polluting, well ten to twenty cars idling in line to make that turn doesn’t add to air quality for any of us.

          But I’m serious, if you want Los Angeles to be a better place in the future, stopping the growth of mega apartments should be everyone’s priority. Just look at the amount of cars they MUST, according to city code, provide off street park for and yet drive by any of these Mega complexes and see how many cars are parked on the street.

          FYI, seems no one has answered my question about the Hollywood rides I posted at the end of this thread. Anyone that is a cyclist care to answer it?

          • I see motorists over run the area around my kids school everyday – double or triple parking, parking in the red, driving one the cell phone with blinkers on, speeding, disobeying stop signs, disobeying red lights – you name it and all in the presence of the densest collection of people under 12 in a one mile radius. Does this mean that roads open to cars should all be removed or that connections for motorists between this neighborhood and the one across the river shouldn’t serve motorists?

            I will answer that one for you: no, it does not.

            Car drivers have a right to safe and convenient access to the public right of way – balancing their needs with the needs of others. This bridge as designed is an insulting symbol of how car-centric planning will throw away concerns for all other modes and interests in order to move cars faster.

            Good luck with your asinine arguments and b.s.

  4. Please don’t refer to speakers as “cyclists”. My guess is that the majority of the speakers were motorists as well as cyclists. These are not mutually exclusive categories. Everyone is a pedestrian at some point in the day, unless they have a parking space inside their bedroom and inside their office.

    Some people who advocate for cycling make almost all their trips around the city by bike. Some primarily travel by transit or foot, and only occasionally cycle. Some do most of their travel by car, but still care about what conditions are like for the fraction of the time that they cycle. There are even some who never cycle themselves, but would like the streets to be safe enough for them to feel comfortable cycling. Don’t assume that you know how someone travels based on how they feel about this issue.

    It’s better to reserve the words “cyclist” and “motorist” for people who are currently engaging in one of those activities, or better yet use “person on a bike” and “person driving”.

    • There are also “motorists” who recognize that the current 55 mph speeds cars are getting up to is ridiculous, anti-property value, and not safe.

      The slant in this article is so stupid and counter productive – why even write it? Do you think this horrible angle will drive up the page views? No. You could have gotten way more readership by giving voice to the people who showed up and shot down the ridiculous designs that the BoE, CalTrans and the LADOT (and their coterie of conusltants) shat out onto the community.

      As soon as we saw the renderings and read the draft environmental docs people sprung into action – in September. It took the morons behind this bridge retrofit 10+ years to take community input and totally ignore it.

      Everyone I have spoken with thinks seismic retrofitting is a great idea. Turning the bridge into a 400′ freeway?! That is ridiculous. The Eastsider needs to get a freaking clue on issues of bike and pedestrian access. Why are you a reporter? Why do you do this work? So that kids riding to school can have their lives endangered because O’Farrell and Garcetti promise to advertise with you during the next campaign? Are the consultants for the bridge going to buy some ad space here too? Jesus, you want page views – well the rest of us want a safe city and this horrible redesign isn’t going to do that!

      • If drivers are reaching speeds of 55 mph, then that is to be enforced by the LAPD and citations should be issued. SOME drivers may speed, but most don’t. It is misleading to say the least, to claim that everyone using the bridge is doing 55 mph.

        • We have on audio from project rep that bridge currently sees average 55mph and proposed design is to accommodate 55mph.

          • Audio? Geeze there’s some proof for you. I have my view and like I said I’ve lived in Atwater for 18 years and I RARELY see cyclists on the bridge. Now I’m sure you’re going to claim that cyclists are too afraid to cross the bridge. Once you kill this project, where is the cyclists going to ride on the bridge then? It will be the same bridge, the same problem and nothing accomplished.

        • Transcript from the soundcloud recording:
          “When we did the speed survey out there the average speed that we saw was 50 to 55 miles per hour.”
          [Laughter, disbelief from audience]

          “What is it designed for now?”
          “The same”
          “Designed for the same speed …”
          “Um at this point that was only Hyperion, I have a different number for Glendale.”

          • Like I said, complain to the LAPD, THEY ENFORCE THE SPEED LIMIT! Geeze is it that difficult for you to pick up a phone and ask that the speed limit be enforced on the bridge? Seriously how old are some of you? You demand EVERYONE give up their cars, call the cars dinosaurs and those that drive them uncaring sots.

            Amazing how you think EVERYONE should ride a bike and those that drive CARS be marked with a “C” on their foreheads.

          • Richard Meade,

            You are a top class bullshitter. Thank you for wasting my time and that of others.

          • You can’t expect the LAPD to be on every street enforcing all the speed limits – they also have other crimes to pay attention to. It would be nice if they had higher enforcement in areas that are known to have lots of speeding. But it’s better if instead of throwing hours of police time every day at the problem, if we could use signs, painted lanes, textured roads, trees, sidewalks, or *something* physical that we lay down once and helps people notice that they shouldn’t be going so fast.

            Narrowing lanes and converting excess car lanes to bike lanes are some interventions that are known to get drivers to slow down, and they’re much cheaper than stationing cops on the street every single day. But if you have other options that you can propose, I’m sure everyone here would be honestly happy to hear them – everyone wants cars to go slower across this bridge, whether they prefer to travel by bike or car, or just don’t want fatalities in their neighborhood.

  5. The point someone made about Rowena makes the most sense. Look at the isolation of the Rowena Bike lane on a map sometime. NOTHING connects to it. No bike lanes connect.

    Look at the intersection of Rowena / Hyperion it’s INSANE. and there is no connection to Rowena there with the neighborhood that might benefit. I am freaked out by crossing there. You think novices would feel safe?

    There should be bike lanes (or reduced traffic intersections) on Hyperion connecting with Griffith Park Blvd Lanes and Hyperion Bridge Road Diet. Or as I like to call them Road Buffet™s because they provide a lot of yummy choices for transportation. Wider sidewalks, buffered bike lanes and 2 multi use travel lanes.

    If we can’t envision a calm safe inviting bridge between our communities that encourages walking and biking…. we are a lost generation.

  6. The Hyperion Bridge would be a very expensive retrofit to include proper bike access. The bridge itself is too narrow, particularly at the Waverly underpass. The bridge is also a steep enough hill to make cycling up it a chore. On top of that, Hyperion Blvd itself is not very bike friendly through Silver Lake.

    The Rowena bike lane already hooks up with Glendale Blvd. It would be much easier to make that street into a proper bike lane that leads into Atwater. The money saved could be used to improve bike infrastructure elsewhere – perhaps retrofitting the existing pedestrian/bike bridges over the freeway/river just a few hundred feet north of Hyperion.

    • Geo, you are uniformly incorrect on this issue. The expense in this retrofit is for seismic work being done on the bridge. The re-alignment of car lanes is (for a city this size and a bridge complex this big) trivial in terms of cost. Paint, plastic cones, maybe 400′ cubic feet of cement – not even close to $50 million to do that.

      The Rowena Blvd bike lane “hooking up” with Glendale is being removed as a viable access option with this retrofit as well.

      And we’re not even talking about pedestrian access! The whole “bikes vs. locals” slant is f*&( ridiculous and a shitty slant to take on an issue like this. All the meetings held in 2002 and 2003 for this bridge had the community saying three things at each meeting: (1) we want bridge to look the same; (2) we want slower car speeds; (3) we want a safer bridge.

      The 2010 Bike Plan fought hard for every lane included in the plan and Hyperion was included because this bridge complex connects a lot of people, businesses, schools, etc. an is currently a dangerous car-only shunt through the area.

  7. I have one question for all the cyclists commenting. How many of you join in on those rides through Hollywood, where you ignore the traffic lights and don’t stop for pedestrians trying to cross Hollywood Blvd? I’ve seen it, hundreds of people on bikes running all the read lights because of their numbers and not giving one sweet damn about pedestrians. I’ll give you an example, I was with a close friend who is legally blind, I took her arm to cross Hollywood Blvd. to the parking lot where my car was parked. We had the walk sign and we stepped off the curb to cross, all the time the cyclists were bombing through the intersection running the red light. We almost got hit by several cyclists. What was the cyclists response? A bunch of profanity at us for attempting to cross the street legally as we had the walk sign. That kind of thuggery won’t get cyclists fans any time soon.

    • I, for one, don’t. The fact that others do does not cause me to waive my right to travel in safety.

      • Niall,

        It’s nice you are concerned about YOUR safety, yet seem callous as to those with limited site. I can see where you’re coming from. Me Me Me Me

        Have a nice day.

        • Sorry if I came across that way; it wasn’t what I intended. It is regrettable that a bunch of jerks endangered your friend. We should do a better job of enforcing the law against rowdy group rides.

          The point I wanted to emphasize is that I’m my own individual, and things that other people do aren’t my fault. I’m not any less deserving of the right to travel safely due to the actions of a bunch of jerks that I don’t even know.

          • Niall,

            I accept your comment, but like anything today, people who do the same thing, let’s say ride bikes can be painted by those who could care less about others.

            I want people who ride bikes to be safe. Frankly I don’t want to see anymore “Ghost Bikes” on corners. It’s saddening and in some cases I don’t know how someone lost their life in some of these tranquil intersections. There is one in Glendale on a Roundabout that I don’t understand how a cyclist lost their life. It’s a four way stop and a roundabout. It boggles my mind.

            Let’s make this city livable for everyone, ALL of us.

    • I’ve twice been on rides like that. Once was a ride led by Tom LaBonge, and the other was Critical Mass a week ago. I really don’t like the idea of a group being allowed to change the traffic laws for their own fun, but LAPD rides along with both of those rides, and they do the street closures. I was able to live with it by thinking of it as like a motorcade or a marathon, though it’s obviously much more annoying since there’s no advance warning of the (brief) unplanned street closure. I especially thought it was awful in downtown when I saw buses waiting for the group to pass, because those buses are carrying dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of people. However, I’ll note that the most exciting part of the Critical Mass ride was coming down Hollywood Blvd, because the streets were lined with people hanging out outside clubs, and they loved to watch all the cyclists coming through, and were even giving people high fives! But I can’t comment on what goes on on other rides, beyond the two that I’ve been on.

      Most of the time I just ride by myself, or with a friend or two, to get where I’m going. I’ll often combine the bike trip with public transit, especially if I’m returning home after dark. If I’m going somewhere outside a four mile radius or so (mainly the airport or the beach), I sometimes choose to drive instead, but I don’t like the fact that driving gets in the way of other people in cars and buses, burns fossil fuels, and runs a serious risk of causing injury or death to others.

      • Kenny,

        So people that have to cross the street should have to wait, even if its and emergency? And having all those buses stopped, how much pollution did that spew out, plus factor in all the cars caught in the same jam. Yeah that sure proved a point about having cleaner air.

        • Rowdy group rides, frankly, are a distraction from the topic at hand, i.e., the question of how to design the retrofitted bridge. We’re not arguing that the bridge should include bike lanes to accommodate a bunch of beer-swilling hipsters on fixies running red lights; we’re saying the bridge needs to be set up to accommodate anyone and everyone who’d like to get from Silver Lake to Atwater without bringing two tons of metal along with them. That includes upstanding residents of the surrounding neighborhoods who have never been on a Critical Mass ride and would ride for work, school, errands, etc. if it didn’t mean braving the deplorable conditions on Hyperion.

          Lawless group rides are a problem, yes, but they’re not a reason to deny safe walking and bicycling infrastructure to everyone who might want to cross this bridge outside of an automobile. Those rides are a matter of law enforcement and should be dealt with as a separate issue.

          • So you would be against this kind of lawless mass riding across the bridge if it happened? Right?

            If it happens in Hollywood it can happen across this bridge. I just want to be clear, everyone is on board that if this kind of ride was to happen on the bridge/Atwater/Silverlake, cyclists would be all for prosecution of this type of event. Of course finding out who got the ball rolling is quite another thing.

          • Of course I’d be against lawless bike rides of any kind. But keeping the bridge dangerous isn’t going to stop group rides, lawless or otherwise, from happening; there are group rides today that already cross the bridge from time to time. It’s irrelevant to the question of how the bridge should be designed for everyday use.

    • Who cares about that in this discussion? We are talking about a systematic ignoring of the demands that the public has made of the engineers in charge of retrofitting this bridge.

      At every public meeting for this project, starting in 2002, the public has mentioned the overly fast car traffic – averaging 55 mph. The public has routinely asked that car speeds be lowered and that the bridge be made safe.

      Then, through 2008 and 2010 bike advocates fought hard to include Hyperion in the 2010 Bike Plan.

      Whether or not bike riders ignore pedestrians in bloody Hollywood is not germane to this discussion. Car drivers routinely ignore the rights of everyone else in my community in front of my kids school during pickup and drop off – but that is not going to influence my decision about this bridge one way or another.

      • Right “who cares” if some blind person can’t cross the street, or if traffic, buses and cars are held up in this type of event. Because everyone is so concerned about the pollution that buses and cars spill out, that its best to have a bike ride that causes said buses and cars to sit idly by while the cyclists go on their joy ride.

        Listen, I want everyone to be safe, cyclists, those who are handicapped, EVERYONE. I’m not looking to run down a cyclist. But if the funding is lost for this project, you will not have accomplished one damn thing. The bridge will still be unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians. So if in the future nothing has been accomplished you can feel you made your point. Let’s hope we’ll be able to get the funding back.

        FYI, just because some idiots drive 55 mph, doesn’t mean all of us do. I follow the speed limit and I’m concerned for EVERYONE’S safety.

        I’m just pissed that I was helping a dear friend cross the street in Hollywood who is legally blind and all I got from the cyclists was “fuck you!” “Get the fuck out of our way!” When we had the right of way to cross and the cyclists were breaking the law. Got it?

        If you don’t care about others, don’t expect others to care about you.

        • Some guy on a bike yells and now it’s my fault? Say, allof you weren’t wearing shoes at the time were you? People in shoes have said mean things to me in the past. You are all a bunch of jerks! I am barefoot and this discussion cannot proceed until I am emotionally acknowledged for the affronts your kind (the shod) have perpetrated on me and my kind (the unshod).

          No debate on any infrastructure until we deal with this emotional need I have!

      • We shouldn’t have to condemn mass bike rides in Hollywood as a prerequisite to expressing an opinion about the design of the retrofitted Glendale-Hyperion bridge. They’re two separate subjects that aren’t relevant to one another.

        • I agree, but I was giving you an example of how you (cyclists) paint all the drivers of cars as uncaring monsters not willing to share the road and I guess it was lost on some of you. If you can paint all drivers this way, then don’t expect those who have had a run in with a mass of bike riders to judge you individually. If this is about safety, it should be about safety for all, cyclists, motorists and pedestrians. Now someone is going to respond, “well the motorist is driving a 4000 pound monster, they’re already safe driving 55 mph.” Accidents happen and I highly doubt a motorists/cyclist involved accident isn’t traumatic for both. Yes the cyclist has the potential for being gravely injured or even killed, but that doesn’t mean the motorist was an uncaring sot driving at some high speed. Like I said in a previous thread, I USED to ride my bike, until a person I used to see and wave to riding through Griffith park was killed riding his bike. So we all agree we want safety for everyone.

          So where do we go from here IF this project falls through and the funding evaporates as some have claimed is possible? If the funding is withdrawn, the bridge remains a dangerous crossing for pedestrians and cyclists. I don’t know personally if the funding for this project is threatened by this delay. It has been in the works for some time, it wasn’t just sprung on the people of Atwater/Silverlake, cyclists and pedestrians. So my question is, if the funding for this project is delayed or withdrawn, what have we accomplished in loosing this funding? Has the bridge been improved for the safely of all, or are we going to be dealing with this ten years down the road and until then using the bridge as it now is?

          Just because I drive a car, I’m not your enemy. You, as a cyclist, have the right to safety and enjoyment of your city as anyone else. But let’s not treat people who drive cars as the problem. Not everyone who works down town can ride a bike to work. My wife works all the way out east on the 10 at West Covina, she would love it if she could take mass transit light rail to work, but that isn’t possible. So she drives everyday to work, it’s a price we pay for allowing corporations to dictate how we live our lives.

          I hope this project works out for all involved. Thanks for at least letting me voice my opinion.

          • None of us wants this project to lose its funding! (At least, I definitely don’t – it’s possible some others disagree with me.) It’s certainly conceivable that they can come up with a better design that suits everyone in the four months that are still left before they have to start on the project to keep the funding.

  8. For those worried about increased traffic, you should really focus your angst against increased housing density in all of LA’s cities, because that is where the real problem is. More people == more cars, period.

    • Well with a growing population, we can either zone for infill development near mass transit, walkable amenities, and job hubs… or sit on our hands while car-centric sprawl swallows our open spaces, farmland and wildlife. You can’t have it both ways.

      • That’s not an either/or. We have vast amounts of undeveloped land in America. New areas can be developed/ designed with smart growth ideals, proper transit infrastructure, etc which are not sprawl.

        LA is too built out to have a proper transit system that can support infill development. Adding more residents will only increase local miles traveled, increase congestion, increase aggravation and decrease quality of life.

        • I would be glad to learn that there is an undeveloped site in the United States that is suited to absorb the millions of new residents that we have every year, while being built around a new sustainable local transit network. However, most of the undeveloped areas that I know of are either protected wilderness (often including mountains and rivers that make it difficult to develop) or are productive farmland. As far as I know, suburban and rural sprawl has covered most of the rest of the land.

          As far as being retrofitted for transit, Los Angeles and the surrounding metro area are actually better placed than most other cities in the country. We’ve got major multi-lane arterial roads on a big grid every half mile or mile through most of the region, and it would be relatively easy to just convert one lane on each of those to a Bus Rapid Transit lane. This is much easier than trying to re-design Long Island, or New Jersey, or the Boston suburbs. Chicago is another city that has the right sort of grid design to work.

        • Of course, the regions of Los Angeles covered by the Eastsider blog are some of the hilliest parts of the city, so they don’t really have appropriate road networks for greatly increased density. There can be increased development on Sunset Blvd, and a few other major streets, feeding into better bus routes there and the growing rail system, but otherwise most of the development should be in the larger gridded areas, like Hollywood, the San Fernando Valley, the Gateway Cities, and so on.

  9. I attended the meeting (and live in Silverlake) and I find it very offensive that Eastesider is categorizing those who want to improve street safety on the bridge as ‘cyclists’ — and those who want to create freeway speeds on the bridge ‘residents.’ This isn’t a zero-sum game, and it isn’t a war.

    The majority of the people at that meeting live within 5 miles of the project, and use the bridge regularly. Everyone at that meeting is a stakeholder, and a resident. This is a discussion among neighbors about a safety issue — some want safety for that one day when ‘the big one’ might hit — and there are many other neighbors who want safety EVERY DAY of the year, by creating a walkable, bike-able bridge.

  10. I enjoy reading East Sider and appreciate the local news coverage, however, the article on the Glendale/Hyperion Viaduct Project is very disappointing as an objective piece of journalism. Suggesting that residents and cyclists are not the same people. Trying to divide a community for the sake of readership, thanks for the coverage but your tactics are questionable.

    Here are a couple of suggested alternate titles for your article.

    “Neighbors voice concerns about safety of proposed bridge revitalization.”

    “City Staff takes ten years to disappoint.”

    “Bikes, Strollers, Wheelchairs don’t fret, safety shouldn’t get worse.”

    There are more.. but the sarcasm increases.

    If you are categorizing this as an issue between cyclists and locals then I am offended and must call nonsense. My family and I are residents of Atwater Village AND Franklin Hills for more than 14 years. We live, work and play along the Glendale Hyperion corridor. We are patrons on both sides of the LA River; at TJ’s, Gelsons, Out of the Closet, coffee shops, restaurants etc., we use the US Post Office that serves 90039 and more. We love our little part of LA, which is why we stay here (despite some of the worst air quality in the nation, traffic, helicopters, crime, taxes… sorry, I digress).

    I have attended multiple city meetings and neighborhood council meetings regarding the Glendale/Hyperion viaduct project and have also spoken to many of my immediate neighbor’s.

    Here are my observations:
    *Everyone seems to support the seismic retrofit while preserving the historic integrity of the Victory Bridge, especially if the feds are partly funding (with our money).
    *Everyone seems to know that people/we are already speeding well above the posted speed limit of 35mph on the bridge because it is so easy.
    *Traffic congestion on the bridge is not really a problem, traffic pools at either end in the walking/shopping communities.
    *Drivers and riders don’t like to share lanes and would prefer not to.
    *Many people in Atwater and Silverlake own bikes but are too intimidated to ride on Hyperion Glendale so choose to drive when they could otherwise walk or ride.
    * There are some really nice views from the Bridge

    And some personal opinions I wish to share:

    If speeds are already around 50mph on the bridge there seems to be a much larger safety issue at hand.

    We need alternate transportation options, bikes, ebikes, scooters, how great will it be when the LA river becomes the green highway of LA!

    We don’t need the City Staff to hem and haw while looking around at each other to see who is willing to answer questions that are not difficult to answer, people expect straightforward and truthful answers from their officials. Anyone who drives that bridge knows the truth about current speeds.

    I have heard that if 85% of the people are exceeding the speed limit then it is not and enforceable law, subsequently you don’t see the radar patrol, (I hope this is not true and would love to see PD place a self monitoring speed detector on the bridge.)

    Please, please look into the future, until flying cars and even after then, our roads will continue to be stressed. Adding alternate transport lanes will ease congestion making it easier for when we do have to drive a car or truck. Imagine the millennial’s children, they could be commuting on an electric skateboards, and that hill is nothing for a hybrid electric bike or the next Segway type invention. Kudos to that guy on the standing e-trike who runs the Hyperion gauntlet regularly. The solution is not necessarily to make the car get from A to B faster, but improve the journey.

    For six months I commuted from Silverlake to Culver City, it would take me 45mins by car or 50mins by bike. When I rode it was the best part of my day, you see things in your city that you miss when behind the wheel. You say hello when you stop at the lights (if you are one of the new wave of enlightened cyclists and not the self preservationist signal jumping cyclist that some of us used to be.).

    Parking spaces indirectly create revenue for merchants, the value of a space in proximity to their business benefits from bikes and scooter usage.

    The cost of putting in a bike lane vs. the savings of not? Does that cost include future liability? What was the bike master plan for?

    What is the real reason for not separating cars and bikes on the bridge? No one wants car collisions as much as they don’t want car bike collisions.

    The analogy of two cars hitting head on at 40mph being like hitting a brick wall at 80 is a weak because individuals in cars have restraint systems, including highly designed crumple zones, seatbelts, multiple air bags etc. Unlike a Bike/Car collision which would be more like being hit by a brick wall travelling 40mph, then maybe falling on top of you and dragging or rolling you for a short distance.

    Again, no one wants car collisions but the pendulum must swing in favor of all human life.

    If we keep the speeds high we need crash barriers, if we have a crash barriers there will be no room for a separate bike lane. Then bikes will be forced to share these high-speed lanes and/or the sidewalks.

    Center crash barriers limit the functionality of the bridge, emergency vehicles turning around like a hook and ladder, big rig tow trucks, oversized loads especially under the Waverly bridge arches, parades and the unforeseen, space shuttles, large rocks?

    Drivers who want wider faster lanes at the expense of others safety are not improving the quality of life in our communities. And our community leaders who do not support improved quality of life are not representing us.

    Thank you for you time.

  11. My wife Kama and I rode from Los Feliz to the Hollywood to the Dia De Muerto Festival. We had to ride often on sidewalks as the vehicles on Santa Monica are to aggressive. Once there we saw the LA Bicyclist Alter honoring the 37 bicyclists killed in LA so far this year. This is unacceptable anything and everything should be done to improve bike and pedestrian safety

  12. If you have ever tried to ride in LA, it’s nearly impossible not to feel like your literally shouting into the wind.
    There is an overall problem with traffic, gridlock and bikes and pedestrians, there is simply no one size fits all solution, most cars on the the road are single passengers, and somehow MTA rider rates are going down, not up. Try to get from San Fernando road to Silverlake without almost dying on every street, and not to mention the mess that that bridge has actually caused. Will anyone in LA slow down? ask that guy in a BMW 3 series roaring up from behind at 90 mph.

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *