Quick Hits

La Cañada farmers market closed for holidays

With the Christmas and New Year's holidays falling on Saturdays, the La Cañada Flintridge Farmers Market will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

The vendors will return to the parking lot across Foothill Boulevard from Memorial Park on Saturday, Jan. 8, according to Pat Anderson, president and CEO of the LCF Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the market. Hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Council approves trail crossing bids

La Cañada Flintridge City Council members on Monday approved a contractor's bid to install two street crossings needed for completion of the city's loop-trail system.

The crossings at Verdugo Boulevard and Descanso Drive, both near Descanso Gardens, will connect a short segment of trail currently under construction on Southern California Edison property to trailheads leading into Cherry Canyon and up toward the Angeles National Forest.

The crossings are designed to make hikers, bicyclists and equestrian users more visible to traffic and will include crossing signs, flashing beacons, in-pavement lighting and special striping.

Altadena-based Mallcraft will begin the job in January for a fee of $137,575, with $32,425 allotted for contingencies.

The city's share of that cost will be no more than $40,500. The rest is funded by a grant through the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority.

City officials are also pursuing reimbursements from Caltrans for some or all of the project's cost.

The roughly 800-foot section of trail under construction between Verdugo and Descanso will include a foot bridge that spans a wide, rocky gully.

Work on the bridge and pathway started in October and is due for completion on Jan. 11, said City Engineer Ying Kwan. The cost of that city-funded project, mostly tied to bridge construction, is $154,450.

No date has been set for completion of the crossings.

The projects will close the circle of a loop-trail system that extends for more than 12 miles around Descanso Gardens, through Cherry Canyon, along Oak Grove Park, up toward the Angeles National Forest —where it connects to offshoots of the Pacific Crest Trail network, which extends all the way to Canada — and back through town.

Closure of the loop means all city trails will be accessible through any trail entrance and that users will not be forced to double back to return to their starting point.

'Paper' street may become driveway

Neighbors who objected to Dr. Phillip Merritt's planned construction of Windermere Place — a designated city street that exists only on paper — in order to access a home he plans to build on a vacant lot between Hampstead Road and Inverness Drive will have a chance to weigh in on the question of whether that roadway should function more like a driveway.

Merritt, who won a court battle to use Windermere Place, is asking the city to vacate its responsibility to maintain Windermere Place so that he can instead use its path for a driveway.

City Council members on Monday publicly received Merritt's request, and without weighing in on the merits of the idea, moved that it be discussed at an upcoming Planning Commission meeting.

After four years of city hearings and court battles that involved objections by several neighbors, Merritt was in mid-October granted the right to build a 5,300 square-foot home.

Council members ordered that all homeowners within 800 feet of Merritt's property should receive written notice of the upcoming Planning Commission discussion, its date to be determined later.

By switching Windermere Place from a public street to a private driveway, Merritt said he would be able to reduce perceived impacts of the project on neighboring property owners.

A driveway does not have to meet width requirements of public streets, allowing for pavement of a narrower swath of land. The change would preserve trees and other landscaping elements enjoyed by adjacent property owners and would help screen his home from their lines of sight, Merritt said.

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