A residential street next to the Golden State (5) Freeway in Burbank is being improved so the neighborhood will be safer and an adjacent soundwall will be less garish.
The City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to convert a 0.3-mile section of Leland Way from Broadway to the north into a one-way street, add two multiuse bicycle lanes and landscaping to the soundwall, which Caltrans built as part of a widening project on the 5 Freeway.
The estimated cost of the improvements is about $750,000 and will be paid for using Measure R funds provided by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, according to the city’s senior city planner, Roy Choi.
The project’s final design will be shown to residents sometime this fall, Choi said, adding that if they agree with the plans, construction should begin in spring 2018.
City staff members have been working with residents in the neighborhood since 2014 to make improvements to Leland, where many residents complained about motorists drag racing. After the soundwall was built, residents expressed concerns about graffiti.
Choi said the city has about 37 feet of space to work with on Leland. Eight feet of the street next to houses will be used as a parking lane and the next 10 feet will be designated for driving.
There will be two 4-foot-wide bicycle lanes — one northbound and other southbound — installed that will be separated from the driving lane by a 2-foot buffer with collapsible pylons. Choi said the fire department requires there to be 20 feet of space on the street for emergency vehicles to use.
David Kriske, the city’s assistant community development director of transportation, said that the bicycles would be mainly used by residents who live nearby and want a safe area to use with their children, whether it be for walking or riding a bike.
On the remaining 9 feet, there will be planters for trees, bushes and other foliage that will beautify the soundwall.
Councilman David Gordon voted against the improvements, saying he had concerns about the slimmer-than-usual parking lane, and he feared that people getting out of their vehicles may be struck by oncoming traffic.
Additionally, Gordon said he did not like the idea of having bicyclists and pedestrians using the same lane. He suggested having a curb instead of bike lanes.
“We have 10 feet of travel lanes against 8 feet of parking in a lot of places,” Kriske said. “This is not out of the ordinary for Burbank. It has the wonderful side effect, we think, that cars won’t be able to go fast because [the lane] will be tight and [they’ll travel] slower.”