If You Build it, They Will Come – Glendale, California Invests in Safe and Healthy Streets for a Safe and Healthy Future

The linked article from LA.StreetsBlog.org is just a wonderful read and is inspiration for the City of Newport Beach’s efforts to re-integrate cycling in the community.

Some excerpts:

“Some residents believe that fear is one of the reasons that more people in Glendale don’t bike. “This is a unique city. We have a huge driving problem here, and the speed and the recklessness is beyond comprehension sometime,” commented Nathalie Winiarski…

“When it comes to the design of Glendale’s streets, the city didn’t wait until the plan was finalized to begin the long project of retrofitting its transportation network to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians

The city’s success with Sharrows had another, almost psychic benefit to the city. Every single person I spoke with to prepare for this series brought up an attempt to put bike lanes on Verdugo Avenue over ten years ago that led to such a backlash that city staff literally cringed at its mention. But for Sharrows, the reaction was different. Mayor Friedman commented that “98%” of the feedback she received was positive.  Mike Nilson with City Planning, took it one step further, “Before Sharrows, people looked at bike projects as ‘taking away parking’ or ‘taking away car travel lanes.’” And now the city is ready to move beyond Sharrows and try adding bike lanes again. Plans are in the work for bike lanes as part of the Riverdale-Maple Greenway and a separate project is scheduled for Main Street…

“These small changes begin to add up to a changed street life in Glendale. It’s not as though the city has transformed from a car dominated transportation system to Copenhagen, but small changes add up over time. Sharrows, better crossings, traffic calming, these are all things that weren’t a part of Glendale’s plan a couple of years ago, but are all in the mix now whenever a transportation project is considered

“City staff readily agrees. “The philosophical change is that now giving consideration to the bikes and pedestrians is standard,” provides Kevin Carter with the city’s Public Works and Engineering Department. “Every project that comes through, we’re looking at what can be done for bike and pedestrians

“…cases over the last two years demonstrate the difficulties of enforcing traffic laws fairly in a world where many drivers routinely violate the law and many parts of the legal code are unclear…”

“Glendale doesn’t just have a Bike to Work Day and Bike Week as does its giant neighbor to the south and west, it has a Bike Month that had over 20 free events in 2010

“In 2009 the city received a nearly $900,000 grant from Caltrans to improve safe passing at six local schools. One year later, the GPD received over a quarter of a million dollars to better train officers about pedestrian and bicyclist rights

And much, much more… enjoy!

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David Huntsman

Husband, father, cyclist, lawyer