ATWATER VILLAGE — A proposal to reduce the number of traffic lanes on the Glendale-Hyperion bridge has met with different reactions from neighborhoods on opposite sides of the L.A. River span. While the neighborhood councils of Silver Lake and Los Feliz have voted in favor of squeezing motor vehicles into three lanes instead of the existing four, the Atwater Village Neighborhood Council has come out against the lane reduction and so-called road diet as part of a $50 million improvement project. “We don’t want to hinder access to our neighborhood,” said Sergio Lambarri, the Atwater council’s point person on the bridge project.
Atwater leaders have launched a campaign in favor of keeping the four lanes after the majority of members of a bridge advisory committee voted earlier this month in favor reducing the number of lanes to accommodate the addition of bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, a proposal that has been labeled Exhibit 3. (see exhibit below) That proposal would include two southbound lanes for motor vehicles traveling into Silver Lake and Los Feliz but only one lane for Atwater-bound traffic.
“Some organizations see this as an opportunity to lock in a configuration that would eliminate a vehicle traffic lane for generations for their own purposes,” Lambarri said in an email. “Others, myself included, realize that this is an important boulevard for passenger cars, and emergency vehicles, along with delivery and service trucks.”
Lambarri, who also served on the advisory committee, takes issue with recent stories that said the advisory committee has come out in favor reducing lanes. He said the committee simply took a straw vote on the issue but did not make any official recommendation to the Department of Public Works and Bureau of Engineering. Lambarri and the Awater council have come out in favor of a proposal called Exhibit 1, which keeps all four traffic lanes, adds two bike lanes but includes only a single sidewalk on one side of the bridge. “It’s the most logical thing to eliminate,” Lambarri said of the sidewalk, which he said are lightly used.
But fellow advisory board member Matthew Mooney, who voted in favor of reducing traffic lanes, described the committee’s vote as “final” after months of meetings, dialogue and the review of studies that showed that eliminating a lane would not have any significant impact on traffic congestion.
“It would be a shame that those who oppose a livable bridge can simply lounge about in a recliner of ideology and prop their feet upon a footstool of the status quo and direct the entire show casually in robes and slippers on hunches and personal opinions,” Mooney said via email. “Myself and those fighting with me love Los Angeles and we are committed to making this bridge a jewel spanning across a restored LA river where all can cross in dignity and respect.”
The opinions and votes by the neighborhood councils and advisory committee, however, might be overshadowed by the views of the area’s two city councilmen, Tom LaBonge of Council District 4 and Mitch O’Farrell of Council District 13, when the city makes a final decision about which approach to take for the entire project.
LaBonge has expressed support for keeping all four lanes, according to Lambarri and another member of the advisory committee. O’Farrell, however, is not making any comments” until he reviews the full study and hears from his constituents on this issue,” said his spokesman, Tony Arranaga.