Fewer than 1% of Glendale commuters bike to work, but city officials hope to increase that to 5% in 20 years by implementing a sweeping plan to improve bicycle transportation amenities throughout the city.
The 225-page Bicycle Transportation Plan, which is set to come before the City Council Tuesday night, includes nearly $5.8 million in improvement projects, including about 100 miles of bike lanes, paths and routes — roughly five times more than what currently exist.
The plan may be ambitious, but other cities that have made similar efforts saw a boost in the percentage of bicycling commuters, according to the final draft of the plan, which cites U.S. Census data.
The bicycle plan comes after two years of community outreach and studies on how to make biking more attractive in Glendale.
While most City Council members heralded a draft version of the plan several months ago, some parts of the long-term planning document have sparked controversy, particularly so-called “road diets,” or slimming streets by one lane in each direction to make way for bike lines.
Last month, Glendale’s first such road diet proposed for Montrose was rejected after a group of residents strongly opposed slimming down Honolulu Avenue from Ramsdell to Sunset avenues, contending it would would back up traffic along the one-mile stretch of road. The project, though, also had a fervent group of proponents.
The City Council plans to review eight other sites to replace the Honolulu Avenue stretch Tuesday, but the recommendations will go through several lower-level committees and a round of public outreach meetings.
The infrastructure improvements included in the plan are also expected to make the streets safer for cyclists.
According to the report, bicycle-involved crashes in Glendale have been on the rise. Between September 2006 and November 2010, there were 155 bicycle-involved crashes, resulting in 143 injuries. In September 2008, a woman driving a Mercedes Benz struck a bicyclist who never regained consciousness and died nearly a year later.
Solid-colored bike lanes — like those in downtown Los Angeles — are another contentious pitch included in the plan. Several council members have said they don’t like the aesthetics.
City Council members would have to vote on individual projects outlined in the plan, which hasn’t been updated since 1996, as each becomes ready for implementation. Officials plan to update the plan every five years to stay competitive for grant funding.
The council is also set to vote Tuesday on whether to apply for a $659,000 state grant for bicycle amenities that requires a 10% local match. Glendale has nearly $2 million in state and federal grants available through 2015 to do bicycle improvements outlined in the plan. About $2 million has been spent since 2004 on bike lanes, racks and street improvements near schools, according to the plan.
Intersections with the highest daily volume of bike riders in 2010 include Flower Street and Sonora Avenue with 299; Verdugo Road and Mountain Street at 135; and Glenoaks Boulevard and Grandview Avenue, with 129, according to the report.