Meeting to discuss community plan for south Glendale focuses on transportation

A rapid-transit bus may likely be the first transportation improvement in south Glendale in the next several years, while some City Council members said they want to expand Beeline hours and possibly deploy a new streetcar.

The discussion took place during the third and final workshop between the council and the public that’s geared toward drafting the South Glendale Community Plan, although further community outreach is planned.

A community plan was adopted for north Glendale five years ago, and its goal is to lay out the vision of a section of the city 20 to 30 years into the future.

In November, a countywide half-cent sales tax — known as Measure R2 — will be on the ballot and, if approved, would fund several transit projects.

The only one that would apply to Glendale and its southern area is a bus rapid-transit system that would run from North Hollywood to Pasadena. The earliest that project would get off the ground is 2020.

Another project that might be pursued down the road is additional service throughout the day along the existing Metrolink route, said Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa.

Councilwoman Laura Friedman said in the future she would like to see Beeline bus service run past the current ending time of 6 p.m., so people can take advantage of it during the evening if they want to go to a restaurant or see a movie.

“It would be nice to get that going at least on our more popular routes,” she said.

Funding for extending service operations would have to be funded through Metro, Ochoa said.

Mayor Paula Devine said she would like to see a streetcar or a green public transit vehicle that would add to the options of getting around Glendale.

“I’ve been advocating for some sort of electric bus that would connect the north and the south, so I hope that we can support a project like that to eliminate cars on the street, and those living in these new apartments who don’t want to walk, can hop on a streetcar or take an electric bus,” she said.

Councilman Zareh Sinanyan said he viewed the idea of a streetcar as a “farce” because it wasn’t included on the Measure R2 project list and that there currently is no funding for it.

However, Councilman Ara Najarian said that with transportation projects, it’s good to have some sort of plan in place ahead of time.

“At this point, even though there isn’t a guaranteed source of funds, it’s all the more reason we should work to complete the plan and have it on the shelf ready to go because transportation funding drops at the most unexpected times,” he said.

Najarian said his vision for transit in south Glendale is reducing parking and speeding issues in order to make the area more pedestrian and bike friendly.

Najarian, who also sits on the board of directors for Metro, said he would be working with the agency to create a bike-share program at the Larry Zarian Transportation Center, where the Metrolink station is located.

When it came to the train station, Ochoa said the part of the Tropico neighborhood nearest to the station could be an ideal area for transit-oriented development to allow for more residents. The topic, however, was not discussed by the council.

Rondi Werner, president of the Adams Hill Neighborhood Assn., said the city shouldn’t rush into that type of density growth.

“Until the city has integrated an effective transit system that measurably reduces the number of cars on our streets, it seems premature to open the floodgates on transit-oriented development projects,” she said.

All of the feedback from the council over the past three meetings will be presented to local residents, who will be polled for feedback through the end of the year, Ochoa said.

The suggestions will be compiled into a plan that will undergo an environmental-impact review and head back to the council for final consideration next summer.