Plan clears path for cyclists and pedestrians

CITY HALL — Commissioners next week are slated to review a draft report aimed at making streets more inviting for bicyclists and safer for pedestrians in one of the last stops before the much-anticipated policy document reaches the City Council.

The so-called "Safe and Healthy Streets Plan" is the result of two years of community outreach and development under a $305,000 grant awarded to the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition in 2008.

Through the grant, coalition liaison Colin Bogart has been a regular fixture in Glendale, meeting with residents and city officials to discuss ways to best improve conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians.

"This has been a collaborative project right from the start," Bogart said.

Planning and Transportation and Parking commissioners will hold a special joint meeting Monday to review the latest draft of the plan, which was first released in October.

The newest version has been revised to reflect input gathered at a series of community meetings and from city officials, Bogart said.

Advocates envision the 80-page document will serve as an important planning guide for the City Council to improve conditions in a city long plagued by pedestrian-vehicle collisions.

The plan is scheduled to reach the City Council early this year, just months after Mayor Ara Najarian said distracted driving had reached "epidemic" proportions in Glendale in the wake of charges against a 20-year-old Tujunga woman who police said was texting when she struck and killed 80-year-old Misak Ranjbar.

In January 2010, 49-year-old Montrose resident Joo Lee died from injuries he sustained after being struck and thrown 70 feet by an SUV as he crossed a street New Year's Day. The driver of that car has not been found.

The document focuses on five main areas — education, encouragement, enforcement, engineering and evaluation — in which the city can improve to the point that more residents may take to walking and biking. It also incorporates potential funding sources and implementation strategies.

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.

Planning Commissioner Stephanie Landregan said she was encouraged by the recommendations.

"It deals with all users instead of being so vehicular centered," she said. "So if you look at it as designing it with all users in mind, it's going to be safer for pedestrians, safer for bicyclists and safer for drivers."

Bogart noted that city officials have already begun to incorporate the new philosophy.

City officials have in the past year rolled out improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, including new bike racks, the striping of sharrows — markings that indicate where cyclists should travel on the road —and a diagonal crossing near the Americana at Brand.

"I am feeling ready good about the direction we are headed," Bogart said. "I really believe that they are thinking about bikes and they are thinking about walking when they are working on projects."

To view the draft report, visit

The joint commission meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 in the City Council Chambers.

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