The Burbank City Council approved making several improvements along Verdugo Avenue last week in an effort to increase safety on one of the city’s busiest streets.
Council members voted 4-1 to move forward with the safety project, which includes installation of a new pedestrian crosswalk, upgraded traffic signals, traffic-metering cameras, flashing yellow left-turn arrows and extended bicycle lanes.
Then-Councilman David Gordon voted against the project. Though he said he agreed with most of the improvements, he did not support extension of the bicycle lanes.
Construction on the $1.1-million project is expected to begin sometime next month. A majority of the project will be funded by grants, but about $102,000 will come out of the city’s General Fund.
Jonathan Yee, assistant public works director of traffic, said the improvements will be made along Verdugo, between Clybourn Avenue and Victory Boulevard.
A flashing crosswalk sign will be installed at Verdugo and Virginia Avenue, where a pedestrian crosswalk already exists. The crosswalk is used frequently by pedestrians walking to Jordan Middle School and the Olive Recreation Center.
Yee said there is currently a flashing beacon at the crosswalk to alert motorists of pedestrians, but the device is on constantly. The improvement would be to remove the beacon and replace it with one that flashes when a pedestrian activates it by pressing a button at the street corner.
Several upgrades to traffic signals will be made along Verdugo at Hollywood Way as well as California, Catalina and Buena Vista streets. The changes include new traffic poles, countdown pedestrian LED signals and audible pedestrian devices.
Traffic cameras will be installed at California, Catalina and Victory to only monitor traffic flow.
Flashing left-turn arrows will be installed at Hollywood and Buena Vista to help with congestion at those intersections. Yee said the yellow arrows should reduce left-turn delays on Verdugo, adding that the mechanism will only be triggered when there are four or more vehicles queued in the left-turn lane.
There are currently bicycle lanes that run the length of Verdugo from Hollywood to Olive Avenue. However, the project plans to extend those lanes to Clybourn in the west and Victory to the east, Yee said.
Verdugo was originally a four-lane street with two travel lanes in each direction, but in 2010 was reconfigured to be have one travel lane going each way, a center turn lane and bicycle lanes, said David Kriske, assistant community development director of transportation.