Glendale explores the possibility of building a park atop the Ventura Freeway

Joining a growing list of cities looking to transform pollution-choked roadways into urban oases, Glendale will study the feasibility of building a park over a section of the 134 Freeway.

The City Council this week ordered a study to examine the costs and scope of building a park and opened a bidding process for firms to apply.

The idea to build a so-called "cap park" over part of the Ventura Freeway has been kicking around for years and is in line with a burgeoning movement in Southern California and the nation to create vibrant pockets of green space amid a concrete landscape. Cap parks — typically built above recessed roadways — have sprouted in Sacramento, Dallas and Seattle.

In Los Angeles, an environmental review is nearing completion on a plan to build a park that would span the 101 Freeway from about Hollywood to Santa Monica boulevards. Another green space is proposed for the 101 Freeway between Grand Avenue and Alameda Street downtown.

Earlier this month, three Glendale council members visited Dallas' Klyde Warren Park, which, with 5.2-acres of trees, walking trails and seating, serves as a connector between two parts of the city, said Councilman Vartan Gharpetian. "It would do the same in Glendale. It will connect north Glendale to south Glendale," Gharpetian said.

The study is expected to cost about $300,000.

See more of our top stories on Facebook >> 

A final design for Glendale's park could be years away, but city staffers have considered the idea of first constructing a segment over the 134 Freeway between Central Avenue and Brand Boulevard — a distance of about two-tenths of a mile, with a further extension to Geneva Street.

Overall, it could end up being as large as 4 or 5 acres.

The Dallas park was bankrolled through a public-private partnership, with nearly $57 million generated through private donations, Councilman Zareh Sinanyan said. In exchange, donors got naming rights.

Some residents are skeptical of the same approach working in Glendale.

"Dallas is a major city that can raise money," resident Mike Mohill, said at the city council meeting. "They have plenty of guardian angels, private people to raise the money."

But Gharpetian said several major developments have been built within the city.

"The [Glendale] Galleria wasn't an easy project. The Americana at Brand wasn't an easy project," Gharpetian said. The cap park "may not happen tomorrow, but if we don't work on it, it will never happen."

Interested in the stories shaping California? Sign up for the free Essential California newsletter >>

A poll of residents found broad support for a project that included walking trails, a children's play area and concert space.

"I think if we can pull something like this off in our city, we would really be on the national map, not just for public safety, but for having one of the best parks in the country," Sinanyan said.

Twitter: @ArinMikailian

Mikailian writes for Times Community News.


First Californian contracts Zika through sex

Ballot measure that could have derailed the bullet train project is put on hold

Businessman arrested in 'diabolical, premeditated' killing of Santa Barbara family

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on March 26, 2016, in the News section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Vision of `cap park' atop a freeway - Glendale orders a study to build green space over a section of Ventura Freeway." — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe