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Do Locals Want a Road Diet Test Case in Montrose?

The Honolulu Avenue road diet launches a heated discussion among Glendale transportation officials and residents, both supporters and opponents to the project.

Locals on inch-thin wheels or monster truck tires have at least one thing in common: both riders share the road.

One particular road--Honolulu Avenue in Montrose--drew a local crowd including everyone from spandex-loving cyclists to strictly automobile enthusiasts inside Sparr Heights Community Center Wednesday.

The group came to comment on the road diet test case that will slim four vehicle lanes to two lanes, adding a center turn lane and a bike lane heading both east and west along Honolulu Avenue, between Las Palmas Avenue and Ramsdell Avenue.

Glendale City Council approved the test case in February and also approved Glendale's new draft Bicycle Transportation Plan on Tuesday.  

Several locals were concerned that the city did not ask for local output.

"The city's already made up thier mind to put it in and we're finding out now," said Bill Warner, who has lived in the area for 45 years.

"I'm concerned that the motorist is taking the short end of the deal," Warner said.

Glendale officials disagree. The road diet test case proposal was publicized on the city's website, in the draft Bicycle Transportation Plan and eventually .

Residents came with a number of questions and comments for Glendale transportation officials, including some of these:

Why was Honolulu Avenue, between Las Palmas Avenue and Ramsdell Avenue, chosen for a road diet? 

About 11,000 to 12,000 cars drive along Honolulu Avenue each day, said Jano Baghdanian, Traffic and Transportation Administrator for the City of Glendale. 

"We’ve really gone and studied the street. We’ve looked at it to see what are the implications. In general, when you’re narrowing down a street, the speed of traffic goes down," Baghdanian said. 

He said the location was chosen as a test case to see if the lane changes could either decrease or increase travel time in the area. 

"I emphasize this is a test. Speed, volume, accident history [are] going to be factors in the evaluation," Baghdanian said. 

The one-year study could begin in either May or June, he said. Following the test will be a six to nine month evaluation, speed survey and bicycle count.  

"We’ll be happy to come back and share the results of the study," Baghdanian said. "The Transportation Commission will review the study, city council will review and decide whether to make it permanent or not." 

How many cyclists ride along the road diet area? 

About 108 cyclists passed during a four-hour period at Honolulu and La Crescenta avenues, Baghdanian said.

Several people at the meeting began repeatedly shouting, 'No,' while Baghdanian continued to give the presentation. 

Later, Bill Weisman, Transportation & Parking Commissioner, said he was the person who conducted the count, saying that the figure was accurate.

"It is so not gratifying to think so many people in this room think I’m a liar. We did not count people on skateboards or ghosts bicyclists," Weisman said, adding that the study also noted what direction cyclists entered the intersections. 

Leann Warner, a lifetime La Crescenta resident, still wasn't convinced.

"I travel Honolulu all the time and I don't see 100 bicycles each day," she told Patch. 

How will the city fund the road diet and bicycle lanes?

"We have funds that we’ve allocated exactly for bicycle facilities," Baghdanian said.

funds, Baghdanian said in February, when the road diet was approved.

The Transportation Development Act supports public projects that plan facilities for pedestrian and bicycling, according to Glendale's Bicycle Transportation Plan

Comments:

"A road diet is so good for non-bicyclists because it reduces the pollution, fewer cars on the road, it slows the traffic down so it's safer, fewer accidents and I just like to see the exercise," Sharon Weisman told Patch.

She described another area with bike lanes in La Crescenta, along Santa Carlota Street. 

"Moms with strollers, dog walkers, they're all out with the bicyclists in the bike lane and it's charming, it makes it a lot friendlier. you meet your neighbors, there are all kinds of positive things." 

She suggested that La Crescenta locals look to examples like York Boulevard road diet in Eagle Rock, which also hosts small businesses within a residential area. 

"I think people need to just give it a chance. People get angry and they don't stop and think about it. So i hope they will," she said.

Verdugo Woodlands resident Arye Gross said he wants to see how the test case works. 

"Let's try a mile of road diet and let's see what works about it and see what doesn't work about it," Gross said. 

Gross thinks it's crucial for the area to curb the number of vehicles on the road and keep people safe. 

"We as the residents of Glendale, and north Glendale, we are absolutely 100% responsible for every car accident that happens on these roads if we do not start implementing traffic holding measures and nobody's going to make it happen for us," Gross said.

"The situation's not going to improve unless we do it," Gross said. 

"We cannot live in a city where... elderly people and children take their life in their hands when they go out to walk on the street or to ride bicycles, or for that matter, get behind the wheel of a car," Gross said. 

How can locals send personal feedback about the road diet?

Information available for review on the Honolulu Avenue Road Diet website, honoluluroaddiet.com. .

Anyone with questions or comments is encouraged to contact Glendale's Traffic & Transportation Division at (818) 548-3960 or email HonoluluRoadDiet@ci.glendale.ca.us.

People who want to learn more about bicycling and walking advocacy in Glendale can also visit Walk Bike Glendale's website at walkbikeglendale.wordpress.com

[Note: A previous version of this article stated that 180 bikes were counted during a four-hour period at Honolulu and La Crescenta avenues. This is incorrect. The correct number is 108 and Montrose Patch regrets this error.] 

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George L. March 30, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Unfortunately I couldn't be there at the community meeting, but I certainly wanted my voice heard. And its really disappointing that someone questioned hard facts in such a unproductive manner. I'm glad Weisman spoke up! I could go on and on about what people said and didn't say, but I'l focus on this comment. "I travel Honolulu all the time and I don't see 100 bicycles each day," This is exactly the problem, you only travel Honolulu for maybe two minutes going in any direction, its not a long street. The survey was taken over 4hrs. Now unless you are sitting at a cafe drinking coffee, you wouldn't begin to take note of the volume of bikes that pass by. Also, disconcerting is the fact that this person doesn't notice bikes. Again, they don't notice the bikes, while driving their car. Sound like a problem? It does to me, and an even stronger reason for a road diet!!! To ensure separation and visibility of bikes on the road. Ultimately it boils down to this, a bike is a vehicle in California. And has equal right to the road. We wouldn't need road diets or bike lanes or anything else like that if drivers of cars observed that they are legally obligated to SHARE the road, not hog the road. So to people who say comments like I quoted above, take a look at your own poor habits before questioning the remedies to those same habits.
Bill Weisman March 30, 2012 at 05:00 PM
Thanks to the Patch for covering this story. A few comments: The number of bicycles counted at Honolulu and La Crescenta in a 4-hour period was 108, not 180 as stated. Bicycle and pedestrian counts *must* be done in a consistent manner, or the results are worthless for comparison purposes. The methodology for the bicycle and pedestrian counts was established in 2009 and builds off of standards set forth by the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project (NBPD), a nationwide effort to promote data collection and ensure a consistent count methodology across count efforts. The NBPD methodology was informed by the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), other transportation professionals, and best practices nationwide. The core of the NBPD methodology is - Consistent count days and times, - Consistent count methods and materials, - Centralized data collection and analysis, and - Open access to all research professionals and public agencies. Here is a link to the full report that includes all data gathered: http://la-bike.org/glendale/safe-and-healthy-streets-plan-appendix/Glendale-Bike-and-Ped-Count-Report-2010-Final.pdf
Bob Thompson March 30, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I have taken part in the official Glendale pedestrian and bicyclist count for the past 2 years in the middle of the study area at Honolulu and La Crescenta Avenues. We do need more controls to help protect both peds and bicyclists. Every time I cross La Crescenta Ave. at Honolulu, I reallty have to watch the traffic coming Eastbound on Honolulu Ave and turning South on La Crescenta. Many are driving too fast and barely slow down turning the corner, sometimes barely missing me in the crosswalk. The Honolulu Ave. Road Diet will help slow these people down and give added protection to both pedestrians and bicyclists. We truly do need to "share the road" and make Glendale a safer place for everyone.
Nicole Charky (Editor) March 30, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Hi Bill, thanks for commenting and providing feedback. I went ahead and fixed the error - thanks for the heads up.
John MacDougall March 30, 2012 at 09:24 PM
The article quotes Sharon Weisman about it being charming that moms with strollers and dog walkers are all out with the cyclists in the bike lane on Santa Carlotta, but at the meeting, the city officials said it was illegal for pedestrians or anyone but cyclists to use the bike lane. I think it is insufficiently clear what the actual purpose is for bike lanes. Many of the comments in support of the road diet indicate that it really isn't about bikes at all, but is more just a disguised form of "traffic calming:" Not so much pro-bike as anti-car. Honolulu Ave is already a popular place to walk - on the sidewalks, and I don't see anything about the present auto traffic that has any negative affect on pedestrians.
Sharon Weisman March 30, 2012 at 10:47 PM
We do need more clarification on what's legal in the bike lane - what's safe on Santa Carlotta isn't safe on Foothill, for example. The sidewalk on Santa Carlotta dips with each driveway so the strollers are much more difficult to push there. It's always been mentioned the road diet is traffic calming. I think it's a good thing to have the cars travel at the speed limit rather than speed. It's not anti-car, it's anti badly driven vehicles! And, of course, bicycle riders should obey the laws too. Having more people on foot or bicycles reduces pollution for everybody else, too, plus saving gasoline. It's patriotic to ride a bicycle instead of driving by reducing America's dependence on foreign oil.
John MacDougall April 01, 2012 at 05:26 AM
I'm not sure, but it looks like perhaps a reason why the bicycle count given for Honolulu of 108 per day was viewed by many at the meeting as too high is that the count was at the intersection of Honolulu and La Crescenta and includes all bikes passing the intersection in any direction, so it is the total of both La Crescenta and Honolulu. Bill Weisman could confirm that. I suppose there is detailed data from the count beyond what is in the bike plan that would give a breakdown of how many bikes were going in which direction. It would be useful to know how many were going up La Crescenta vs. how many were crossing on Honolulu.
John M April 02, 2012 at 05:21 AM
Thank you Nicole for your overview of the community outreach meeting. The 1-29-12 city council meeting briefing packets contained 6 road diet proposals. A 7th proposal (Honolulu between La Crescenta & Las Palmas) was introduced at the council meeting resulting from the 1-26-12 Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting. The council approved 4-1 the 7th recommendation. The community could only comment on the new segment if they were in attendance. Further, no traffic studies were performed at Orangedale and Honolulu before or after the opening of the Trader Joes. This intersection has changed significantly since the store opening. (I shop there plenty). The entry driveway is often stopped with vehicles. This prevents traffic from flowing through the intersection with many cars trying to gain entry from all three directions. Limiting options at this intersection is not beneficial especially at peak hours. Thank you Bill Weisman for the traffic study link. The intersection counts discussed reflect that the majority of the higher count activity occurred Saturday morning. I am sure the elevation is from the cycling clubs that normally circuit through the area. If their numbers were subtracted the numbers would be more normalized. I am encouraged by Mssrs. Baghdanian and Zurn’s willingness to consider a street coning test for a portion of the affected block to alleviate concerns. I hope all sides can work towards a solution that is beneficial to all interests.
Kristen S April 02, 2012 at 05:01 PM
My husband and I actually rode the section yesterday where they are proposing the road diet. We rode west from where the Vons is on Foothill near the freeway entrance, over to Cordon's Ranch Market (2931 Honolulu Ave), then we turned around and went east to Trader Joe's then back home. The goal of this ride was to pick up our produce and a few staples for the week and not use our cars. It was a 2.71 mile round trip and we did it on a mountain bike and a city cruiser. We followed all laws and were considerate of others. I wish I could say the same about the cars. Even though there are two lanes on Honolulu, just past Trader Joe's, cars insisted in not giving us the minimum 3 feet passing room. If I was not an experienced cyclist, this would have bothered me and prevented me from doing this again. It is unsafe the way it is setup and I believe a bike lane would be very beneficial to the area and I also believe that cyclists (of all experience levels) would use it. It baffles me that so many people are against bicycles. Seriously....what is the big deal? I think your gas guzzling car is excessive and the way you drive is atrocious...but I don't try and run you off the road! I also saw a couple young boys riding in the area, you going to ride them off the road too?What did they do to you being 11 or 12 years old? Why can't we bring a little safety into this world? Are you so close minded that you can't allow for 1 mile of road to have a bike lane? Think about it!
John MacDougall April 04, 2012 at 05:52 AM
I also cycled this route last weekend, riding from my home in the 3000 block of Honolulu, along Honolulu and Verdugo up to Foothill and then up Angeles Crest Hwy & back. Ironically, the most dangerous situation I encountered was coming back in the marked bike lane on Verdugo. I was coming downhill from the theaters, doing about 25 mph with a green light at Von’s parking lot. A car passed me and then cut in front of me and stopped to turn right into the Von's parking lot, forcing me into a panic stop with nowhere to go. In that situation, because there was a bike lane I was required to use it, which forced me over to the right where the car needed to go to get into Von's. If the bike lane didn't exist, I could have ridden out in the traffic lane, which I would have felt safe doing going fast down hill. The car would have been less likely to try to pass me, and if it stopped, it would have been out of my lane to the right. I am highly in favor of road improvements for cyclists, but.just putting in bike lanes is not my preference to accomplish that. The biggest dangers are not in the straight road sections, but at intersections and turning lanes, and the bike lanes usually just peter out at intersections where cars cross, leaving the cyclist with most of the same hazards, sometimes even worse. My view is that the City only has $125,000 to spend on biking improvements and the most bang for those few bucks would be on fixing more specific hazards at intersections.
Carl Nelson May 02, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Could you assist by precisely calling out the time frame and location that generated the 108-bicycles... I am looking at Sheet A-1 of the referenced report and can not find a four hour period that adds up to that number? I do find that Honolulu at La Crescenta on the weekend for the 2010 four hour period from 8 AM to Noon for 2010 adds up to 87-bicycles... No weekend data for the other Honolulu test location... Just curious... does the observer recall if the bulk of the weekend count occured when a bicycle club that typically rides through that intersection in a pellaton generated those weekend numbers? If so - should they be counted differently than members of the local community using a bicycle to travel through those intersections? Carl

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