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Part of Maryland Avenue will be closed off to traffic to make room for Maryland Paseo

A sliver of Maryland Avenue will soon be closed off to traffic for a trial run of a pedestrian walkway that's being called the Maryland Paseo.

Stemming from an idea by City Council members, a 2,500-square-foot swath of the street between the two exits of the Exchange parking lot will be sectioned off, said Jennifer McLain, a principal economic development officer with the city.

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That means drivers can only make a left turn from one of the exits and only a right turn from the other, McLain said.

The project is a pilot program that will run for about three months starting as early as mid-August, she said.

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In the paseo itself there will likely be places to sit, games for children to play and possibly some artwork, McLain said.

"We want to create a passive experience for folks that are working in Glendale by providing tables and chairs for the daytime population. That's an important element we want to provide," she said.

The goal is also to try to draw enough pedestrian traffic to attract new business tenants along Maryland and to also play off the completion of two upcoming projects: the new Laemmle movie theater and renovation of the Glendale Central Library.

"We're going to see the immediate infusion of more arts- and culture-based activities, so the hope will be to continue off that momentum," McLain said.

The city has reached out to business owners along Maryland who've been supportive of the paseo idea including Urik Ghazalian, owner of Urartu Coffee.

He said three months will be enough time to gauge the project's success, and if it's going well, he would want to continue it.

He also offered a suggestion. "I want to see some tents to help out on hot and rainy days," Ghazalian said.

A number of local groups are being courted for programming along the paseo, such as the Downtown Glendale Assn., so it could use some of the large planters it has on Brand Boulevard for the borders, McLain said.

On Thursday, the city's Arts and Culture Commission voted 4-0 to allocate $5,000 to pay for an art feature.

Commissioner Teri Deaver said whatever the money goes toward should be something that draws people into the paseo.

"I think it needs to be immersive," she said.

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Arin Mikailian, arin.mikailian@latimes.com

Twitter: @ArinMikailian

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