Including the ones from LACBC and the one below from Tomas O'Grady (below), we now have three community proposals for the Hyperion Bridge retrofit besides the official one by the city's Bureau of Engineering. This one is by RAC Design Build
If you were keeping score at home, something which would be impossible because of our failed attempt at Live Streaming, it was a blowout. Nearly fifty speakers took to the podium. Four of them spoke in favor of the current design. The rest made the case for a more Livable design, lower speeds, and better access for bicyclists and pedestrians.
After nine years of comment and design, the Hyperion Glendale Seismic Retrofit plan had its first official public hearing last night. The main purpose of the project is to retrofit the bridge so it can withstand a major earthquake. However, during the retrofit, other work will be done to increase safety on the bridge. The current plan calls for tiny sidewalks, a gutter bike lane, four mixed-use 11-foot travel lanes and a 2-foot divider with two more feet of buffer in the middle of the road. The bridge is in the city’s 2010 Bike Plan, and advocates were surprised and incensed to find the bridge wouldn’t have bike lanes.
The alarm spread well outside of the bicycle community. River advocates, pedestrian safety advocates, neighborhood councils, Assembly Member Mike Gatto, and Glendale Council Member Laura Friedman all got involved, asking for a safer bridge for all road users.
Those that spoke up last night for the current project did so because they believe a seismic retrofit is needed as quickly as possible and that a center divider is needed for safety to keep cars from colliding with each other. All were Atwater residents who have worked on the project for nearly a decade. None are what you would call NIMBY or anti-bicycle. They just want the project completed.
But last night wasn’t about keeping score. It wasn’t just about bicycles. Last night was about communities, people and safety.
The Livable Streets stars were out. Eric Bruins with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition crunched the crash data to show slower speeds would reduce crashes. Occidental College Professor Mark Vallianatos drew the link between wider lanes and faster vehicle traffic. Don “Roadblock” Ward argued that an LADOT engineer’s claims that the average speed on the bridge is thirty-seven miles an hour was not what the public had been told at previous meetings. L.A. Walks founder Deborah Murphy delivered such powerful testimony that Urban Homestead co-author Erik Knutzen followed her basically said ‘Murphy is right’ and left the podium.
The night even featured an appearance by Bobby Gadda, the original Chair of the Steering Committee for CicLAvia, who had biked down from San Francisco.
“I just biked 500 miles from San Francisco…but the scariest part happened about an hour ago coming across the Hyperion Bridge downward spiral death zone,” Gadda testified. “I heartily encourage anyone who designs this bridge to ride across it on a bike. Put on a safety vest. You probably won’t die.”
Each speech was followed by applause.
But the night wasn’t about the star testimony or applause. Last night was about communities, people, and safety. Everyday residents testified that they wanted a way to walk between Atwater and Silver Lake. They didn’t want the bridge to be a barrier only able to be safely traversed surrounded by metal. They wanted change. Read more…