'Healthy Street Plan' comes out

GLENDALE — After two years of work, officials released a much-anticipated draft report aimed at making city streets more inviting for bicyclists and safer for pedestrians.

Under a $305,000 grant awarded to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in 2008, in-house liaison Colin Bogart has spent two years in Glendale working with city officials to gather data and public input on Glendale's roadways.

The “Safe and Healthy Street Plan” draft report released last week offers a window into a plan that advocates hope the City Council will use to improve conditions in a city long plagued by pedestrian-vehicle collisions.

Officials will be seeking community input on the recommendations at two meetings later this month. The report will then be revised and presented to the City Council for adoption early next year.

“The idea was to draft a set of policy recommendations that would ultimately support walking and biking,” Bogart said. “Big picture, that’s really what this policy document is about.”

The nearly 70-page document focuses on five main areas — education, encouragement, enforcement, engineering and evaluation — in which the city can improve to encourage more residents to hit the streets sans cars.

Recommendations include: promoting cycling via citywide events; partnering with local schools; providing safety education; ramping up speed enforcement; and installing more bike-parking facilities throughout the city.

While the recommendations run the gamut, Bogart said all five categories must be taken into consideration.

“If you’re going to be successful at getting people to walk and bike and have it be safe and part of their everyday lives, you’ve really got to do all five of those things …” he said. “It’s going to require collaboration between a number of different departments within the city.”

Councilman John Drayman said Monday that he looks forward to hearing the final recommendations, noting the city has already made strides thanks to Bogart’s work.

When Glendale was chosen for the grant program, the city had only three miles of established bikeways, far below neighboring Burbank’s 19.5 miles, according to a city report. This compared with 96 miles in Long Beach, 67 miles in Pasadena, and Santa Monica’s 35 miles of bikeways.

While the city still lags behind other cities, city officials have in the past year rolled out some improvements for cyclists, including new bike racks, and begun to incorporate the striping of sharrows — markings that indicate where cyclists should travel on the road — into regular road maintenance projects.

“You don’t have to think back or look back very hard to recall that Glendale was the city in the region that had virtually nothing in bicycle infrastructure … or even active discussion about it,” Drayman said. “That has all changed in the past two years. It’s remarkable.”

To view the draft report, visit http://la-bike.org/glendale.

The community meetings will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at Glendale Central Library and on 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at Sparr Heights Community Center.

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