Glendale seeks to lure cyclists
Brand Boulevard will be closed in an effort to promote safety for bikers and pedestrians.
Brand Boulevard is expected to be closed to cars in September to encourage bike and pedestrian safety and perhaps entice CicLAvia, a one-day event that shuts down major arteries in Los Angeles to make way for bicyclists, to come to Glendale.
Public Works Director Roubik Golanian made the announcement last week during a special meeting of the Glendale City Council.
The push comes after Mayor Zareh Sinanyan said he would like to see Glendale host its own CicLAvia-type event after the hit-and-run death of 4-year-old Violeta Khachatoorians last month.
“We need to make a statement, the busiest, the most central street in Glendale, to make them understand that this is important to us,” he said. “It will instill the idea of bicycle and pedestrian safety.”
The proposed event would be the latest effort by the city to promote pedestrian safety, which has included sending police officers to speak to citizens about crossing streets safely.
Community Relations Coordinator Dan Bell said specifics are still being worked out, but that the street closure is expected to take place on a Thursday in September, after Labor Day.
Although there’s no official name for the event, it’s already been set that Brand will be shut down between Broadway and California Avenue for about four hours during the day, Bell said.
The goal, he said, is to get people out of their cars and onto their feet or on bikes, especially when it’s time for a midday meal.
“We’re looking at people who are corporate employees in the downtown district to come out on their lunch break,” Bell said.
Metro and Beeline buses will also be at the event — not to get people around town, but rather to serve as a display where people can pick up information about bus routes, he said.
Glendale police will have a booth where they will distribute literature about pedestrian safety and hand out pedestrian glow sticks and bicycle lights.
Bell said the intent is to hold this kind of event several times. In addition to the educational component, another goal will be to try to attract CicLAvia to come to Glendale. There have been more than a dozen CicLAvia events in Los Angeles.
The events are costly, but Councilwoman Laura Friedman said during last week’s meeting that she was in talks with CicLAvia’s organizer to try to bring the event to Glendale for a lower cost.
Councilman Ara Najarian said he would do what he can in his capacity on the board of directors of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which funds CicLAvia, to get some funding toward a Glendale event.
BICYCLISTS POP wheelies as they ride on Lankershim Boulevard during a CicLAvia event in Studio City in March. Glendale officials are hoping the street closure could lead to hosting a CicLAvia.