Tag Archives: Bikeway

Ground Broken on New Bikeway Project

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

Officials broke ground on what is called the Burbank Channel Bikeway Project on Wednesday afternoon in what will be a 0.79-mile off-street bike and pedestrian path that will be located directly adjacent to the Burbank Western Channel.

Starting at the Downtown Burbank Metrolink station, the channel will be 12 feet wide and run 0.79 of a mile to Alameda Avenue.

Patrick Prescott looks over Map of Bike Path with David Kriske Planner. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

 

This is one of the last links that will create a bike path that starts in Chatsworth and runs all the way to Long Beach, about a 50-mile distance. Improvements at the Channel Bikeway close an important gap that will allow cyclists to seamlessly travel from Downtown Los Angeles in a separate and protected off-street facility.

A release says the Project is the result of a 2009 Metro Call for Projects grant, and Urban Greening for Sustainable Communities Program grant that was awarded in 2012, as well as the new award of Measure M Multi-Year Subregional Program funding.

 

Bikeway Project Approved by Burbank City Council

More than 30 people took the time to address the City Council Thursday evening, mostly on the topic of the extension of the Channel Bikeway. When the last speaker left the podium, at least two hours had ticked away. Their patience paid off when the council finally took their vote at 10 p.m., approving the extension and selecting one of five possible routes.

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)

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,

The Channel Bikeway extension, or phase two, was considered by the council about a year ago, but residents on the proposed path asked the council to reconsider the route. They expressed concern with the proximity of the path to their property.

On Thursday, residents, including some who live near the bike path, mostly supported the project, and shared their varied reasons for doing so. Some said they faced health issues, and the existing bike paths in the city provided them an opportunity to work out in a safe place, and the Channel Bikeway would present one more opportunity to do that. Others said the bikeway was a convenient way to get to where they were going, whether on bike or by foot.

Still others talked about the big picture, and said that in a world that is becoming increasingly populated, where most people still get into a vehicle to get to their destination, a dedicated bike path provided a safe commuting alternative that would also reduce pollution.

Mike Hollis, a Burbank resident who walks and bikes around the city, said he has done so from young age, and now cycles to work. He noted he also bikes recreationally with his wife, running errands and dining at restaurants.

“You have an opportunity tonight to [have the bike path] be a resource for many cyclists, to give commuters access to trains and provide benefits for recreational riders,” Hollis said, adding that it would also create a safe route to schools.

The Chandler Bikeway was created 11 years ago, Hollis said.

“Imagine what the area would look like if you did not put that in,” he said.

Hollis also said he rides along and walks on phase 1 of the Channel Bikeway, and said it was great that the bikeway would become a connection to one of the busiest Metrolink stations in the area, referring to the Downtown Burbank Metrolink Station.

Indeed, Ross Young, real estate and project manager in the Community Development Department, said it is the second busiest Metrolink Station in the five county, Southern California region, behind Union Station in Los Angeles.

Helen Kelley, however, said she had hoped “the bike thing goes up in flames,” but realized she might be the minority in that regard. She said the speakers thus far did not live in the area, and that she did not want to see mature trees cut down, did not want to look at a cement wall or have one-inch bushes put in.

Justin Okin and his young daughter, Rose, spoke next, in support of the project. They live on Cedar Avenue, about 50 yards from the bike path. Okin said there are more than 10 families with children under 6 who live nearby, and said there was quite a lot of excitement about the proposed extension.

The full council chamber chuckled and applauded when Rose, who was in her father’s arms at the time, added: “I want the bike path.”

Brian Castillo, who said he lives in the area directly impacted by the path, also supported the project.

“I’ve seen what projects like this have done to a neighborhood,” the 30-year resident and father of three young children said, calling it an opportunity to rejuvenate the area with improved lighting and landscaping while promoting wellness.

Michael Fishman, of Pure Fix Cycles on Victory Boulevard, said he opened his business about four years ago and supported the extension of the bikeway. Fishman, also a member of Walk Bike Burbank, a local chapter of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), noted that more than 10 of his employees bike to work, using the Chandler Bikeway.

“When they have not been on the path, they were hit by a car,” Fishman said, encouraging the council to give more people a reason to bike to work, to get in shape and to have fun.

He also encouraged the council to do so to help him sell more bikes, and added: “Cyclists spend more money than people in cars.”

Fishman and other speakers at the meeting noted that improved bike infrastructure would help attract more people, especially young professionals who are not “married to their cars,” to the city.

A council majority, with Dr. David Gordon dissenting, approved the project.

Council members noted that much had been done to work with residents who expressed concerns, but wanted to do what was best for the majority of residents.

The roughly $4.4 million project will be covered mostly by grants.

A $2.7 million Metro grant will cover a portion of the 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 project will begin in summer 2016, and could be completed within approximately eight months.

LETTER: New Bikeway Unifying Factor for Community

The new Western Channel Bikeway Phase II pathway planned along Burbank’s Western Flood Channel will be a much greater unifying factor for this community than the new Caltrans I-5 HOV lanes currently being built over Burbank.  When completed, the pathway promises to greatly improve active mobility access for those who travel in Burbank by making walking and riding a bike safer and easier, especially for seniors, women, children, disabled-users and families.

Final approval for completion of this totally-funded new section of pathway comes before the City Council at Thursday’s special meeting.

It’s encouraging to see city leaders moving forward with the plans approved some time ago by the Burbank Bicycle Master Plan, completing important pedestrian and bicycle connections to Burbank’s transit hubs and working/living locations.  Developed with community input, this final section of pathway is a well-conceived project that helps unify a neighborhood and a city, while providing viable transportation choices to many more people.

Victory Boulevard and Lake Street are the current main arterial streets in that area connecting people to housing, jobs, goods, services, and transit hubs, but neither are well-suited for making those connections on your bicycle.

By completing this project, the City will be taking a step closer to realizing the vision set forth in the Bicycle Master Plan to integrate a unified network for safe, easy biking in Burbank connecting to regional bike routes and local transit.

Active-transportation infrastructure is more than a practical, cost-effective solution to many municipal challenges. It’s an opportunity to make our community a vibrant destination for residents and visitors alike — a place where people don’t just live and work, but thrive.

 

Patrick Dickson
Burbank