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Subject: Save Our Sidewalk on Hyperion Bridge
I am distressed by the Bureau of Engineering's recommendation to remove one of the sidewalks on the Hyperion Bridge. At a time when the City of Los Angeles is working to become more walkable and bikeable, we need more sidewalks connecting popular destinations like the L.A. River to neighboring communities--not fewer. Traffic counts have shown that we can have two sidewalks and protected bike lanes and still keep traffic flowing between Atwater Village and Silver Lake. There's no need to rush a bad project through with so many questions remaining:
1) Why should people with disabilities be forced to walk over 15 minutes out of their way to access the one remaining sidewalk? Why does BOE consider people in wheelchairs less important than people in cars?
2) Why can't we keep access to the bridge's beautiful and historic belvederes on both sides of the bridge? Why do we want to prevent people from enjoying one of the city's best views of what will soon be a revitalized L.A. River?
3) Why did BOE change the traffic study only after they wanted to preserve four lanes? For more than a year, studies showed that there would be no impact from removing a vehicle lane.
I agree with Councilmember-elect David Ryu who supports Option 3 for a more people-friendly Hyperion Bridge with sidewalks AND bike lanes. This is a bridge that connects communities and matters to the whole city. Please don't approve this plan without fully studying these issues.
Agenda Item #7, Council File: 05-0173
How "Option 3" Makes Walking Safer and More Accessible for All Angelenos
Los Angeles Walks joins neighborhood councils, small business owners, parents, principals and residents to call on the City of Los Angeles to preserve sidewalks on both sides of the Hyperion Avenue Viaduct between Atwater Village and Silver Lake. At the request of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, the Bureau of Engineering convened a Citizens Advisory Committee to study alternatives that would enhance the safety, accessibility and mobility benefits of the bridge retrofit project. This committee voted 6-3 to recommend an option that would preserve two sidewalks, add bike lanes and calm traffic driving into Atwater Village by reducing an extra lane that is not needed to maintain traffic flow. With the community-supported “Option 3,” the bridge can support wheelchair-accessible sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, new protected bike lanes and business-friendly traffic speeds on Atwater Village’s main street.
The community's support for Option 3 is overwhelming. Businesses and organizations have written over 150 letters of support and more than 1,200 stakeholders have signed petitions in favor of Option 3. In addition, the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council and Silver Lake Neighborhood Council both voted unanimously to support Option 3. The incoming Councilmember-elect for District 4, David Ryu, has pledged support for Option 3 as well.
"Everybody walks, but not everybody drives. The City of Los Angeles shouldn’t build a bridge that only allows you to walk on one side of the bridge. Without both sidewalks, pedestrians—children, students, seniors, the disabled, parents with strollers and everyone else—would have to walk, roll or be pushed almost a 1/2 mile, over 2200 feet, over a 12-minute walk (up to Glenfeliz Blvd, across Glendale Blvd and back) to get to destinations on the other side of the street like Red Car Park,” said Deborah Murphy, Executive Director of Los Angeles Walks. “If a driver was detoured this far out of their way, the City would never find that acceptable and they should not find it acceptable to require pedestrians of all abilities and disabilities to go that far out of their way just to make connections in their community.”
Los Angeles Walks is thrilled that Councilmembers Mitch O’Farrell and Tom La Bonge have plans for a permanent pedestrian and bike bridge over the Los Angeles River on the Red Car Trolley tiers that will connect the north and south sides of the river, but it does not replace the need for a ‘Complete Street’ bridge on Hyperion Avenue that will truly connect our communities for all users.
With so many pedestrian-friendly policies and plans in place for the City of Los Angeles, now is the time to ensure our most long-lasting infrastructure reflects the forward-thinking values of our community. The new Hyperion Bridge will last over 100 years. Los Angeles Walks hopes that the City makes people walking this project’s top priority, by preserving and enhancing the sidewalks on this beautiful and historic structure.
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Excerpts from Community Support Letters in Favor of Option 3
“Please let’s not take a step “backwards” and consider anything other than sidewalks and bike lanes on BOTH sides of the Hyperion Bridge.” - Gareth & Christine Kantner, owners of Sunset Junction Center & Cafe Stella
“...in a presentation to the citizen's advisory committee, the City showed the results of its technical study, which analyzes how the different options can be expected to perform and Option #3 not only improves traffic flow, but is the only one to do so.” - Ava Bromberg, Senior Vice President Business Development, Atwater Crossing
“Please make sure that the historic Hyperion bridge keeps BOTH sidewalks, has bike lanes on both sides and crosswalks at the base so that the future generations can get to the L.A. River from our part of town safely with their families young and old...Any loss in commute time will be worth the unprecedented safe access to the L.A. River that people will gain.” - Jim Ferraro, owner of Dresden Restaurant in Los Feliz
“A large part of our children and students' development occurs in our neighborhood and it is crucial that
we create a safe neighborhood where our families and children feel comfortable exploring, learning and
growing. The burgeoning Los Angeles River continues to develop into a beautiful recreational and
artistic learning space -- one to which our children and families must have safe access. We must keep both sidewalks on the bridge in order to provide our children and families safe access between Atwater Village and Silverlake, whether they be walking, jogging or getting pushed in a stroller or wheelchair.” - Executive Board, Friends of Atwater Elementary School
“Right now, only a small percentage of Atwater Village and Silver Lake residents venture into the other neighborhood except by car. This is tragic.” - Dustin Lancaster, owner of Eastside Establishment Inc., which owns 8 local restaurants, 4 of which are within a few miles of Hyperion bridge
“Bike lanes and sidewalks spanning the Hyperion Bridge would encourage people to spend time in Atwater, enjoy its life and culture...rather than just driving through it...Keeping sidewalks on both sides [of Hyperion bridge] allows for the special vantage point of the L.A. River, an amenity and destination in and of itself that Golden Road wholeheartedly endorses.” - Tony Yarrow, owner of Golden Road Brewery in Atwater Village
“The first thing I noticed about our customers was how many chose to walk or bike to get their morning coffee…keeping BOTH sidewalks…[and] bike lanes in BOTH directions [is] the only option that truly considers the future of our city and the incalculable potential it has yet to unlock. The loss of a single lane heading into Atwater is unequivocally miniscule by comparison.” - Alexander Mirecki, owner of Kaldi Coffee in Atwater Village
“Atwater Village has a thriving community of young people. Many of these students have to walk or bike to school over Hyperion Bridge. We feel it is vitally important to keep both sidewalks on the bridge…” - Executive Board, Friends of Glenfeliz Elementary School
“The success and growth of our studios depends on these neighborhoods [Atwater Village and Silver Lake] being as walkable and livable as possible.” - David Trumfio, owner of Kingsize Soundlabs in Atwater Village
“My business, LA Sports Acupuncture, is located on Glendale Blvd in Atwater Village, where it has been for the last 6 years. For the last 17 years, I have lived on Monon St., just off of Hyperion...For the past few years, I have chosen to ride a bicycle rather than drive for a great deal of my commuting. This decision has increased my quality of life...Riding my bike down the Hyperion Bridge is generally fun, but there are times when I am frightened...As a cyclist, a health practitioner, and a business owner...I am unequivocally in support of Option 3 for the redesign of the Hyperion Bridge.” - Jorga Houy, owner of LA Sports Acupuncture in Atwater Village
“I am a business owner in Los Feliz and a father...I live on Rowena just down the street from Hyperion Bridge. My son is 6 years old and one day I want to be able to get to the LA River on our bikes or by walking safely. Let’s not leave my son a world in which using your own two feet is not a protected form of transportation...Please support Option 3.” - Nicolas Hipolito, Macho’s Tacos in Los Feliz
“Preserving a sidewalk on both sides of Hyperion Bridge and installing wide, buffered bicycle lanes are crucial to attaining safe and convenient access to our neighborhoods.” - Jesse Rogg, President & Producer, Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake
“I am very well aware that traffic can get backed up [around Hyperion bridge], but I believe part of the solution to that is to do everything in our power to encourage as many people as possible to seek out alternative transportation methods...it is incumbent on us...to encourage the flow of foot traffic into our local businesses.” - Emiliana Dore, President of Friends of Glenfeliz Elementary & long-term Atwater resident
“As advocates, as residents, as property owners and as business operators, we ask that you join us in advocating for a more livable Los Angeles with significantly improved access to our Los Angeles River and pedestrian-scaled connectivity between our communities and we request that you support Option #3 at a minimum for the future of the Hyperion Bridge.” - Kevin Mulcahy, AIA, Managing Partner, RAC Design Build, Inc. in Elysian Valley
“As a current automobile commuter, I cross the bridge every weekday morning and evening...I currently walk the Hyperion Bridge every weekend...Maintaining sidewalks on both sides of the bridge, adding bike lanes and providing pedestrian crosswalks are all vital…” - Mark Motonaga, co-owner of The Kitchen in Silver Lake & Principal at Rios Clementi Hale Studios
“...Customers with dogs on leash and children that visit my shop have often inquired about a safer alternative to cross the [Hyperion] bridge. My response has always been “By car!”. It is unfortunate that currently there is no safe way of crossing the bridge by foot, thus, negatively affecting our business.” - Jacob Gonzales, owner of Woof Dog Boutique in Atwater Village.