The City of Glendale's Vision...or...Fantasy?

According to the City’s website promoting the Verdugo Wash Visioning project, the City is interested in creating a linear park inspired by the Promenade Plantee in Paris, the Ocean Front Walk (a pathway that runs along the beach from Santa Monica to the Venice Pier), New York’s Central Park and the walkway/bikeway that runs the entire length of Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

                                                “Imagine a linear park energizing the existing Urban Framework and fabric of Glendale . . .”

Urban framework? The majority of this project would exist in suburban areas, with much of it running through quiet, residential neighborhoods.

The website also states that the trail will provide “access to business and entertainment venues.” However, the wash is not adjacent to Montrose Shopping Park, Downtown Glendale or any entertainment venues. The only business district it directly runs through is a 1-mile stretch along Glenoaks Boulevard, and it’s roughly a 1⁄2 hour walk from where the wash meets Brand Boulevard to the Americana. Most of the wash runs through residential neighborhoods, coming nowhere near businesses or entertainment venues.

Fantasy vs Reality

Below are a few examples of the disconnect between pretty drawings and reality. 
Current photos of the nearby L.A. River Bike Path show vandalism, graffiti, an accumulation of urban issues and a lack of overall maintenance. This is NOT what we want in our backyards!
(Hover over, or click, image for reality)

Fantasy

Reality

Uncollected Trash

Fantasy

Reality

Graffiti

Fantasy

Reality

Vandalism

!melk's Pre-design Plan

The City of Glendale hired !melk, a prestigious, yet expensive, design firm from New York City, to develop a high-level vision for what !melk called a “scar” that runs through the city of Glendale.

The plan is, including but not limited to, conceptual design, programming, and integration of a re-imagined Verdugo Wash into the existing and potential land use framework of the City.

There was also supposed to be a large outreach and participation element to the plan.
That outreach did not happen, and instead, a preliminary plan, with little voice from the residents who actually live near the wash, was developed with lots of pretty pictures and lofty, unrealistic and unfunded proposals.

What was not included was any real discussion about cost, safety, maintenance or impacts to the residents who live directly adjacent to the wash. As an example of being unfamiliar with the area, the firm completely ignored the Sycamore Woods neighborhood, one of most wooded neighborhoods along the wash, and instead grouped it in a region with 40-unit apartment complexes and our beloved Montrose Shopping Park, which is nowhere near the Verdugo Wash.

The City has stated on their Verdugo Wash Visioning website that the project received a 4 out of 5 rating (5 being “very supportive”) from those who took their survey.

The VWNC believes that these numbers are completely misleading as the City has promoted this website on a very limited basis to residents outside of their own stakeholder group! The official City of Glendale website has NO mention of this project and has NO link to the Verdugo Wash Visioning website.

We can guarantee that 4 out of 5 people in the City of Glendale have no idea of this plan.

The VWNC wants full transparency from the City and requests participation of the impacted neighborhoods. We ask that you look at their pre-design plan and ask the basic questions:

  • Will this really cost between $300 million and $2 billion?
  • Where is this money coming from?
  • Will city taxes and fees be raised?
  • How does it impact my neighborhood?
  • How does this affect the safety of the neighborhoods?
  • Will I lose my privacy?
  • Why have I not been notified of this plan?

Send Us Your Thoughts

We want the City to hear the voices of ALL its residents – especially those who live along the wash and will be directly impacted by this plan – not just those who are part of their inner circle and existing stakeholder groups.

!melk office in Manhattan
!melk office in Manhattan
Sycamore Woods home
Sycamore Woods home
!melk pre-design
CLICK image to download !melk proposal

Similar Projects . . . according to the City

The “similar projects” shown on the city website from which the designers draw “inspiration” are built in relatively wide riverbeds or located within large, urban centers. None of them consist of a narrow channel traveling directly through quiet, residential neighborhoods.

The design firm even took inspiration from a “similar” project in downtown Manhattan… yes… New York City;

‘Built in the 1930s and last used as a railroad in 1980, the High Line was a little known and long abandoned stretch of elevated track that spanned Manhattan’s meatpacking district. Inspired by the wild beauty of the derelict line, the area was reimagined into a route for leisure, life and growth.”

The “preliminary” report provided by the designers also compares the wash visioning project to the following:

Promenade Plantee – a footpath along an old railway line through an urban section of Paris

Ocean Front Walk – a pathway along the beach from Santa Monica to the Venice Pier

Central Park – a massive city park, riddled with crime, in the middle of New York City

Copacabana – a pathway running the length of Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Atlanta Beltline – a 22-mile loop of multi-use trails, modern streetcars, and parks where railroad corridors encircling Atlanta once existed

It’s difficult to draw a comparison between these large, urban projects and the proposed Verdugo Wash project.

Promenade Plantee, Paris
New York High Line
Central Park, New York
Atlanta Beltline, Georgia