The City Council voted this morning in favor of a proposal that will add bike lanes to the Glendale-Hyperion bridge but leaves out a controversial road diet for the span linking Atwater Village with Los Feliz and Silver Lake.
The proposal unanimously supported by the City Council will add two bike lanes, preserve the four existing motor vehicle lanes but remove one of the bridge’s two sidewalks under a $50 million seismic and highway safety improvement project. Engineers have said that the bridge is not wide enough to safely accommodate four lanes of traffic, two bike lanes and two sidewalks – something had to give.
Cycling and pedestrian advocates had been pushing for a proposal that included a road diet, which would have eliminated one lane for motor vehicles crossing the bridge. That plan would have created enough room to preserve the two existing sidewalks and the new bike lanes.
But many businesses and residents feared that the loss of one motor vehicle lane would worsen traffic congestion on both sides of the historic L.A. River bridge. Meanwhile, city engineers said that the number of pedestrians who currently cross the bridge does not warrant preserving sidewalks on both sides of the span, especially if that meant reducing the number of lanes for cars and trucks.
Councilman Mitch O’Farrell welcomed the addition of bike lanes but came out forcefully against the road diet.
“The support in my district is overwhelming opposed to an unecessary road diet,” O”Farrell said before today’s vote. “To needlessly create a regional traffic jam five days a week because of a road diet is just folly.”
Pedestrian and cycling advocates expressed disappointment with the vote, saying it failed to take pedestrian safety into account while undermining the public process.
“I was involved the process from the beginning of this issue until the end,” said Matthew Mooney, Co-Chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Transportation and Public Works Committee. “I really do feel that the process has not worked. We did extensive outreach at the behest of the council members but yet we were still not listened to.”
The $50 million project funded by state and federal funds is intended primarily to make the Glendale-Hyperion bridge, which is actually made of several spans and structures, stronger to withstand earthquakes. It is also intended to improve traffic and pedestrian circulation and restore the structure’s historic character.
Officials have pointed out that the two current sidewalks on the bridge don’t meet the standards set by the American With Disabilities Act and do not provide an uninterrupted connection between Atwater Village and Silver Lake and Los Feliz. A new pedestrian-bike crossing will be built next to the Glendale-Hyperion bridge as part of the project.
- L.A. OK’s bridge plan opposed by bicyclists and pedestrian activists. L.A. Now
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