HomeCity NewsCounty Partners With Cities to Improve Foothill Blvd

County Partners With Cities to Improve Foothill Blvd

First published in the March 12, 2022, print issue of the Glendale News Press

Los Angeles County is working with Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge in developing a plan to transform a 6-mile portion of Foothill Boulevard that runs through unincorporated La Crescenta into an active transportation friendly corridor and is seeking input from residents in accomplishing its goal.

The county’s public works department held a recent workshop in which it presented potential improvements on Foothill Boulevard between Lowell Avenue in La Crescenta and Oak Grove Drive in La Cañada and encouraged community members to submit any suggestions to better gauge the needs for pedestrians and bikers who often use the busy street.

“We do look forward to working with you to develop an active transportation plan for a Foothill Boulevard that best serves you and your community,” Shirley Lai, an associate civil engineer with L.A. County, said to those watching the virtual meeting via Zoom.

Pastor Casanova, the principal traffic engineer for Glendale’s public works department, said he appreciated the project’s emphasis on improving walking and biking infrastructure and increasing transit access for the key economic strip. He encouraged residents and workers for that area to speak up and contribute to the multi-agency endeavor.

“Their input can really serve as a guide for defining a vision for the Foothill Boulevard corridor,” Casanova said in a phone interview. “Stakeholders can help provide information regarding specific areas of concern that will help our team be able to understand the community-level issues and challenges that we can address in this active transportation plan.”

Lai said some improvements that are already being considered include designating bike lanes with signage, striping and pavement markings, widening narrow sidewalks wherever possible to make them more visible and adding more benches.

Another area of concern is pedestrian safety, and Lai suggested that extending curbs (also referred to as bulb-outs) and making crosswalks more visible to drivers would address the issue as well as having raised medians with landscaping, an addition that can transform “the community and space itself.”

“Raised medians with landscaping or curved areas within the center of the road encourage motorists to really slow down and follow the speed limit by visually narrowing the roadway through that landscape median,” Lai said.

“The corridor can feel a bit like a highway, so we’re hoping to incorporate various landscaping either through the raised median or within the public right-of-way along the sidewalk to make it so it’s more welcoming and more inviting for people and families to want to enjoy and explore the corridor a little bit more,” she added.

The county is also hoping to improve the conditions on Foothill Boulevard for drivers by implementing more signs that provide guidance to travelers en route to a major destination. In LCF, for example, there are signs that guide motorists to Descanso Gardens.

“I think this is a good effort because it gives the ability for multiple agencies along this really connected segment of Foothill Boulevard to be able to really develop a plan that is — although reflective of each of the community’s themes — united in one common purpose,” said Casanova, who is functionally Glendale’s liaison to the project. “Foothill Boulevard goes through three separate agencies but it’s one connected corridor.”

Lai anticipates having a final plan in place by next spring and hopes to host about five more workshops to get as much feedback as possible. When the Foothill Boulevard Active Transportation Plan is completed, the cities can then apply for grant funding and pursue construction of the suggested improvements.

Anyone interested in participating in a 1-mile walk and bike audit to provide input through visual observation and familiarity on factors that affect walking, biking and access to transit can reach out to Lai at slai@pw.lacounty.gov or (626) 300-2619. One can also submit feedback through an interactive map on the project website at pw.lacounty.gov/tpp/foothillblvdatp.

— Zane Hill contributed to this report.

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