Proposed streets set for improvement

City officials are considering a project that would entail bringing curb extensions, landscape elements to reuse rainwater and potentially even bike lanes to two downtown Glendale streets by 2016. (Steve Greenberg / August 7, 2014)

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City officials are pondering a project that would entail bringing curb extensions, landscape elements to reuse rainwater and potentially even add bike lanes to two downtown Glendale streets by 2016.

The proposed package is dubbed the Green Streets Demonstration Project because it's the first time a series of street improvements are expected to be implemented simultaneously.

The project's scope spans Harvard Street between Brand Boulevard and Isabel Street, and Louise Street from Maple Street to Wilson Avenue.

The strategy is to complement the downtown's growing popularity with projects to be completed in the future such as a $15-million revamp of the Glendale Central Library, said Mike Nilsson, a senior mobility planner with the city, adding that another goal is pedestrian safety.

"There's a high senior population along the Harvard Street corridor," he said. "There's several senior housing developments along the street."

Part of the project would see curb extensions built on Harvard and Louise, cutting the amount of street a pedestrian has to cross, and mid-block crosswalks would be designated.

Looking to the environmental aspect, Green Streets also calls for the planting of trees along the sidewalks and installation of bioswales, a drainage feature used to collect run-off water to replenish the landscape.

The project hasn't been designed yet, but it could also include bicycle lanes. Nilsson said the lanes would likely only be marked if it's determined the streets are wide enough to support them and they won't result in the loss of a lane of traffic or curbside parking.

If the bike lanes don't pan out, images of a person on a bicycle — known as bicycle sharrows — could be imprinted on the right side of streets as an effort to remind drivers to share the road.

"Sharrows are a good way to remind drivers that a cyclist has a right to be there," said Alek Bartrosouf, a member of the local group Walk Bike Glendale.

Walk Bike Glendale is a supporter of Green Streets and helped the city apply for a grant to help fund the project.

Green Streets is estimated to cost $2.9 million, and a $997,900 reimbursement from the state has already been secured for the project. An additional $1.9 million in state funds is being sought.

The Glendale City Council is scheduled to vote on whether to move forward with Green Streets sometime this fall, said Alan Loomis, a principal urban designer with the city.

If the project is approved, a design firm would be hired and community meetings would be held to gather feedback from residents during the design phase, he added.