O’Farrell Backs More Study of Potential Designs for Hyperion Bridge, Promises Citizen’s Advisory Committee

Mitch O'Farrell Letter, Hyperion Bridge

Count City Council Member Mitch O’Farrell, who represents the Silver Lake Community on one side the the Hyperion Bridge, as one of the elected officials concerned with the current design proposed by the City’s Bureau of Engineering (BoE) and the State Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

As Streetsblog has covered extensively, the City of Los Angeles and Caltrans have federal funds in hand to seismically retrofit the Hyperion Bridge. While the bridge itself is not being widened, the design of the traffic lanes will change. An initial design showed a sidewalk being removed, crash barriers being installed and the through travel lanes being widened to fourteen feet. When the design became public, many bicyclists and street safety advocates rose up, arguing that the bridge restriping be in a “complete streets” mode including narrow mixed-use lanes and bicycle lanes.

Council Member O’Farrell is perceived as a strong backer of the project and the original design, in part because he appeared in a video with Council Member Tom LaBonge, who represents the other side of the bridge, and Mayor Eric Garcetti promoting the $50 million project. However, recent a recent public comment letter shows the Council Member concerned about the re-striping and sidewalk elimination and making a promise to create a citizen’s advisory committee.

…I want to express my willingness to explore options that include dedicated bicycle facilities on the Hyperion and Glendale sections, modifications to traffic lane widths as currently proposed, a signalized crosswalk that would span the entire width of the bridge, the removal of the center median barrier and/or alternative placement of the 3-ft. roadway-edge crash barriers…

…To that end, as the proposed project progresses, I will continue to engage community stakeholders and will form a citizen’s advisory group to ensure accountability and transparency in the design process.

Of course, a citizen’s advisory committee doesn’t guarantee that the voices on that committee will be heard, but O’Farrell’s letter is certainly a sign that opinion on the bridge replacement project is turning. It now seems more a matter of how the original design will be improved rather than if the design will be improved.

  • Anonymous

    Not buying it. Been there done that citizens panel thing. No matter what that panel concludes, its only advisory and the city and its agencies have outright ignored panels like this before. Seen it too many times. All this does is mire people with something to do while the window of leverage (suing for an eir) closes.

    No thanks.

  • Anonymous

    What a waste of good stationery. Every single public meeting going back to 2002 regarding this bridge had auto speeds being too high as an issue brought up by the public. Walking the bridge this past Sunday really hammered home how nice the bridge can be and how despoiled it is by an auto-only design. For Christ’s sake O’Farrell, you just got elected and you’re giving your next electoral challenger (whomever that ends up being) fodder for an anti-O’Farrell coalition and campaign. Property values and the future of local businesses on this and adjoining streets will be improved if this bridge is a pedestrian and bike-friendly bridge. Get rid of one car lane in each direction and make this bridge work for everyone.

  • alex b

    Thanks but the more i read the letter the more i question whether this is really a call for anything?

    Asking for the ped bridge as mitigation for the south sidewalk still shows that Ofarrel doesnt yet understand the real actual issues here.

    A city advisory board is just gonna be there to keep people busy while engineers set constraints.

    Sorry this project needs an EIR study.

  • MarkB

    It’s all so weasel-like. He doesn’t express any position or advocate for any solution. He’s “…willing to explore options…” by “…engag[ing] community stakeholders…” in an “advisory committee.” No matter what the “committee” decides, he can disclaim responsibility by saying, “It wasn’t me…it was the committee!!!” How brave of him! O’Farrell: not afraid to make tough decisions!

  • Harold Bunter

    Worse yet…. the committee will likely be heavy with with docile professional cycling advocate representatives who rely on maintaining good favor with politicians in the hopes of begging for mercy on other projects.

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