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Complete Streets Plan to be reviewed by Burbank officials

Hundreds attend the Downtown Burbank Art Festival along San Fernando Boulevard in the spring of 2015. The Burbank Planning Board reviewed a draft of the city's Complete Street Plan, which proposes converting San Fernando into a one-way street.
Hundreds attend the Downtown Burbank Art Festival along San Fernando Boulevard in the spring of 2015. The Burbank Planning Board reviewed a draft of the city’s Complete Street Plan, which proposes converting San Fernando into a one-way street.
(Photo by Mike Mullen)

After about 15 months of community engagement and analyzing traffic data, Burbank planning staff are ready to receive input from officials regarding the city’s Complete Streets Plan.

On Monday, the Burbank Planning Board had its first crack at the final draft of the document, which is a collection of policies relating to bicycle, motorist, pedestrian and transit safety for people of all ages, users and abilities. Board members unanimously recommended approval of the plan to the City Council.

The Complete Streets Plan is scheduled to be reviewed by council members during a study session on Tuesday and will then go to the city’s Infrastructure Oversight Board on March 26 for further analysis. A public hearing for adoption of the policies is scheduled for an April 21 City Council meeting.

Hannah Woo, a senior transportation planner for Burbank, explained to the Planning Board the goal of each policy and proposed projects that could help the city achieve those goals.

Woo said that for pedestrian safety the policy proposes the use of high-visibility crosswalks, curb extensions, improved lighting and enhanced walk signals — such as are used around Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles.

Additionally, the plan addresses various areas in the city where sidewalks can be widened or added to increase accessibility.

The transit policy focuses on improving access to buses for passengers of all types, as well as amenities such as lighting, seating and trash cans.

Bicycle safety has been an important topic for the City Council as of late, and the Complete Streets Plan addresses which types of bikeways are best, depending on the neighborhood or street.

There are four types of bikeways the city can build: bike routes that share a travel lane with vehicles, bike lanes that are dedicated for bicycle use, protected bike lanes that use bollards or raised curbs to create separation and multiuse paths such as those at the Chandler Bikeway.

The focal point for the plan’s motorist policy is finding ways to reconfigure streets so that drivers have clearer and longer sightlines, create separation from pedestrians and bicyclists and slowing speeds to a safer rate.

The Complete Streets Plan also includes a look at ways to enhance safety for those that ride their horses in the Rancho District of the city.

With those policies in mind, Woo said city staff looked for projects that would address one or more of the goals laid out in the plan.

One project that has funding but has not been approved is the closure of traffic at Bonnywood Place at First Street and Olive Avenue.

Bonnywood is a side street that runs parallel with Olive that many motorists use to hop onto the onramp for the northbound 5 Freeway.

However, Woo said the intersection is an issue for pedestrians because of how narrow and small the sidewalk is along Olive Bridge and people are often confused on how and when they should cross Bonnywood.

The proposed plan would install high-visibility crosswalks, a larger pedestrian curb at Olive and better ADA ramps.

Another proposed project involves converting San Fernando Boulevard from Olive to Magnolia Boulevard into a two-lane, one-way street to enhance pedestrian and motorist safety.

Traffic would flow toward the Burbank Town Center and the parking stalls would be realigned to fit the change in the roadway. However, doing so would eliminate six parking spaces along the street, Woo said.

Board member Matt Gamboa asked if city staff had looked into closing San Fernando to all vehicle traffic like how it was when it was the Golden Mall, which lasted from the mid-1960s to late-1980s.

The residents city staff talked to during the community outreach process did not bring up the idea, Woo said, but when asked about it, people either loved or hated the idea.

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