Representatives from Glendale, Burbank and Los Angeles joined Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) Friday to update the public about a bond measure that, if passed, will help fund construction of a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly bridge linking Glendale to Los Angeles.
The third phase of the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk project will include construction of a walkway and bike path over the Los Angeles River that will link the Glendale Narrows to Griffith Park. Another bridge, over the Verdugo Wash, which will connect the Glendale Riverwalk to north Atwater Village, is also in the works.
With a push from Friedman, Gov. Jerry Brown earmarked a $20-million bond measure in September to fund the path via state Senate Bill 5 — the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access For All Act.
The funds now hinge on voter approval in the June 2018 primary election.
"People are hungry for recreational activities, for health, communing with fellow humans and with nature," Friedman said. "Los Angeles, with the L.A. restoration river plan, in addition to this bridge and the bike path network ... will truly be the great city that we all know it can be."
Friedman was joined by Glendale Mayor Vartan Gharpetian, L.A. City Councilman David Ryu and Burbank Vice Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, as well as representatives for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.
"Congressman Schiff is a dedicated cyclist himself and is thrilled with the new investment of alternative forms of transportation that helps people get out of their cars. It's good for our air, traffic flow and for our blood flow," said Pamela Marcelo, a district representative, on behalf of Schiff.
Since 2014, Glendale officials have sought feedback from the community on conceptual designs and locations for the bridge. The first phase of the project was completed in 2012, and the second phase, already funded, is designed to add Flower Plaza Park and Confluence Park to the Riverwalk.
Gharpetian said the estimated cost for the bridge exceeds $20 million, but city officials are "ready and willing" to close the gap, with $800,000 already secured from the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
In a telephone interview Friday, state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge), a principal co-author of SB 5, said he's "really pleased" to play a role in the $4-billion Water Parks bond proposal, which includes the $20 million for the local bridge project. He noted that Glendale, Los Angeles and the entire state stand to gain significantly, environmentally speaking.
"But, more importantly, we need to make sure voters approve this on the ballot before we celebrate," Portantino said.
Glendale public works director Roubik Golanian, also at the press conference, said the conceptual design is complete and fund appropriation would need to be approved by Glendale City Council.
The bridge location has been narrowed down to a spot north of the Grayson Power Plant and on Zoo Drive, he said.
Golanian estimated breaking ground on the bridge in roughly two years, followed by 18 months to two years of construction — with an expected completion anywhere between 2021 and 2022.