Council to Look at Burbank Channel Bikeway Project

By On September 23, 2015

A few months after the city proclaimed May to be Walk Bike Month, the city council will take up the issue of extending a dedicated, off street bike path that proponents say is vital to offering residents and those in the surrounding county more opportunities for getting out of their cars.

Chandler Bike Path

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

On Thursday, the city council could determine the route for phase two of the Burbank Channel Bikeway. Phase one was completed in 2011, and extends from Alameda Avenue to Victory Boulevard. Phase two of the project would extend the bikeway from Alameda to the Downtown Burbank Metrolink Station, itself an important regional connection.

“One of the things this project is doing is helping to implement the bicycle master plan for the city, and implementing a local and regional bike and pedestrian path network,” said Ross Young, real estate and project manager in the Community Development Department who is spearheading the project.

“It is a critical link in a regional bike network,” Young said. “In the future, it could connect the west valley with Downtown Los Angeles if these small critical gaps could be built.”

The Channel Bikeway will end at the Downtown Burbank Metrolink Station, the second busiest Metrolink Station in the five county, Southern California region, Young said. Union Station in Los Angeles is the busiest.

Phase two of the bikeway is .79 miles long, phase one is 1/4 mile and runs along the Burbank-Western Flood Control Channel, a tributary of the L.A. River. The Channel bikeway is considered a Class 1 bike path since it is a dedicated, off street bike path. Bike lanes are considered Class 2 and Class 3 are shared lanes with vehicles, Young said.

“From a regional standpoint, we see this path as a convergence of two regional paths, the Chandler Bike Path (also called the Orange Line Bike Path because as you get further west into the valley, it veers off Chandler and follows the Orange Line) and the L.A. River Bike Path,” Young said.

The L.A. River path eventually takes pedestrians and cyclists to the ocean, and along the route, there are a lot of small gaps, Young said. If, over time, they could be completed, one could literally go from Seal Beach to the West Valley.

Two of those small gaps are in Burbank, one is in Glendale and the other is a gap near the 110 and 5 freeways, along the L.A. River path, Young said.

One of the two Burbank gaps is Phase II of the Channel Bikeway; the other gap in Burbank is the connection to extend Chandler Bikeway to the Downtown Burbank Metrolink Station.

Chandler Bike Path

(Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

Young said the city just received grant funding for Chandler.

“The Chandler Bikeway Extension Project is a new bicycle project that was funded through the 2013 Metro Call For Projects grant program,” Young said in an email. “This $3.3 million project would extend the Chandler Bikeway from its current eastern terminus at Chandler Boulevard and Mariposa Street to the future San Fernando Bikeway, located along the west side of the Burbank Western Channel. At the channel, the bikeway will extend to the Downtown Burbank Metrolink Station and connect to the proposed Burbank Channel Bikeway project. Once the City receives funding from Metro in the Fall of 2018, it is anticipated that it will take four years to design and construct the [Chandler] bikeway.”

As for the price tag of the Channel Bikeway, a $2.7 million Metro grant will cover a portion of the $4.4 million cost, Young said. About $982,000 will be paid for by a grant administered by the California Natural Resources Agency. The Metro grant requires a 20% match, and the city will put $680,000 from development impact fees toward the project. The development fees are paid by those who develop in the city, and are to be used to offset any impacts on transportation, Young said.

The city council will examine five possible routes, although Young said two seem feasible.

Proposed Burbank Channel Bikeway Project (Phase 2) Concept Route (Courtesy City of Burbank)

Proposed Burbank Channel Bikeway Project (Phase 2) Concept Route (Courtesy City of Burbank)

City staff walked the neighborhood on four separate Saturdays, gathering feedback, Young said. The majority of people are supportive but there are some concerns from neighboring property owners about the proximity of the path to their property. If the project is approved, city staff will work with those neighbors to address any concerns, Young added.

If the council selects a path at Thursday evening’s meeting, construction would start in summer 2016, and could be completed in approximately eight months.

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