First published in the March 3 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
Los Angeles County is working with La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta and Glendale in developing a plan to transform a 6-mile portion of Foothill Boulevard into an active transportation friendly corridor and seeking input from residents in accomplishing its goal.
The county’s public works department held a workshop last week in which it presented potential improvements on Foothill Boulevard between Lowell Avenue and to Oak Grove Drive 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.
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 kind of 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.
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.
“I would like to thank the [L.A. County Department of Public Works] for taking the lead in this study,” said LCF City Engineer Maged El-Rabaa, “and we are really looking forward to having Foothill Boulevard meet the residents’ needs in regards to other options and alternatives to movement within the city.”
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 email@example.com or (626) 300-2619. One can also submit feedback through an interactive map on the project website at pw.lacounty.gov/tpp/foothillblvdatp.