By Eliza Partika
The city of Glendale and Mark Thomas, a civil engineering firm, held a public comment session Thursday to get feedback on the San Fernando Road Beautification Project. The plan aims to add green space and make other improvements to San Fernando Road, a main thoroughfare between Glendale and Burbank, and create a safer route for pedestrians, drivers, bicyclists and public transit users.
Mayor Ardy Kassakhian said listening to residents of Glendale is a top priority in how the project, which would affect the section between Grandview and Elk avenues, would move forward.
“We want to make this section of San Fernando look better as it is a connector route and a road that is very frequently traveled by people coming to and leaving from Glendale to either Burbank or parts of Los Angeles. We want to listen to our residents and stakeholders along San Fernando to make sure what we do is aligned with their interests as well,” he said.
The public comment session took place at Glendale’s Fire Prevention Bureau. Attendees had the opportunity to speak with engineers and ask questions, as well as add sticky note comments to billboard models and maps of planned changes to the street.
Proposed plans for San Fernando Road include expanded curbs, insertion of medians and parklets, and the possible addition of a bike lane. Mark Thomas engineers presented three working options for the change: the first would add raised medians landscaped with drought-resistant plants and would have no changes to parking or travel time; the second would get rid of all parking spaces and install bike lanes with no changes to travel time; the third would add bike lanes and expanded curbs, with the loss of 45 parking spaces and one traffic lane. The plan also includes changes to the crosswalks to make them colorful and patterned for easier visibility and widening curbs for greater ADA compliance and to help manage traffic speed.
Pat Sommerville, Mark Thomas Division Manager and Associate, said each alternative plan for San Fernando Road reflected the need to accommodate traffic and parking for businesses, as well as the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.
Sommerville said the changes to San Fernando are aimed at addressing and implementing different strategic plans for the city — Greener Glendale Plan, Citywide Pedestrian Plan, Bicycle Transportation Plan and the South Glendale Community Plan.
“Nothing here is set in stone at this point. That’s why we’re out here getting community feedback and what the community likes [and] doesn’t like, collect all that information and figure out the path forward,” he said.
Public concerns revolved around parking availability, emergency response times and the inclusion of bike lanes. A couple of comments raised concerns about the redesign getting in the way of emergency vehicles. Regarding public transit, comments suggested making the overhangs on the bus stops that give shade and protect from the rain.
After the public comment phase of the project, community concerns will be passed along to the City Council and the Transportation Committee, where there will be further opportunities for public comment. The city’s goal for project completion is summer 2024. Sign up for project updates on the city website: storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/ed1ba35c7c894fca84187c7715d69b6a.
First published in the March 25 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.