Frequently Asked Questions

Doggie Trash

Costs of the Project

NOBODY KNOWS. The design firm created a pretty proposal, but as of yet there are no actual costs associated with the project. By using the construction costs for “similar” projects mentioned by !melk in their proposal, the VWNC estimates the overall construction costs for the project could range from $300 million-$2 billion! While this range is quite large, even $300 million is too much for a bike path.

NOBODY KNOWS.  !melk mentions possible funding sources, but no money has yet been allocated to this project. With a possible City budget shortfall, there is an uncertainty of where any money will be coming from. Even if the City were to receive grant funds to construct the project, there will still be the ongoing costs for maintenance, utilities, policing and parking enforcement, which would not be covered.

UNCERTAIN. With the urgency that the City seems to be putting on this project, and no specific funding, it is quite possible that new taxes will be required to fund part of this project, or at least the ongoing maintenance. 

After a 2019 increase in sales tax to avert reducing City services and cover financial commitments, Glendale already has one of the highest sales tax rates in California at 10.25%!

NOBODY KNOWS. Besides the considerable amount of time spent by City staff on this project over the past 10+ years, we do know that the city has paid $440,000 to the New York design firm, !melk, to create a study and preliminary plans for the project. 

Based on the costs for similar projects provided by the City’s design firm, !melk, the construction total for the Verdugo Wash Visioning project could fall anywhere between $300 million and $2 billion!

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation’s 2019 Walk and Bike Count data lists the combined number of weekend pedestrians and cyclists at a total of ONLY 32 on one of the newest sections of the L.A. River Bike Path in the San Fernando Valley.

Is it really worth spending hundreds of millions of dollars and incurring ongoing costs for maintenance, utilities, policing and parking enforcement given the number of users on similar paths is so low?

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Neighborhood Issues

NOBODY KNOWS. There is NO detailed plan in place to protect the residents who live along the Wash. The City of Atlanta that is showcased by the Verdugo Wash Visioning Plan needed to create its own force to police the Beltline known as the “Path Force” due to the increase in crime. 

Inviting more people into the area would increase the risk of a fire inadvertently being started from a discarded cigarette butt, or a homeless person trying to stay warm. We know too well how accidental fires have caused heavy damage and destruction to local neighborhoods and homes.

Since our local hillsides in the Mountain Oaks, Oakmont Woods and Whiting Woods neighborhoods have not burned in decades, would the existence of the Verdugo Wash path lead insurance carriers to perceive our homes to be at an increased risk of fire danger? In turn, would insurance carriers raise premiums or even deny coverage to homeowners directly adjacent to the wash?

NOBODY KNOWS. Sections of the L.A. River Bikeway have fallen into disrepair and are not being properly maintained. Much of this is due to lack of funding as well as the fact that the novelty of an exciting, new river restoration project has faded from public interest.

Even the “Glendale Narrows Riverwalk” has lost some of it luster with a 3.5 star Yelp rating.

The City’s Bicycle Transportation Plan states “The City will ensure that a maintenance budget is set aside prior to implementing these types of bikeways” yet in the 10 years since the Verdugo Wash project was adopted by the City, there has been NO discussion of a maintenance budget!

Without a long-term maintenance plan in place, the Verdugo Wash path could also become the subject of disrepair and neglect.

The big difference between projects like the L.A. River Bikeway, Glendale Narrows Riverwalk and the proposed Verdugo Wash project is that unlike the first two, the Verdugo Wash mostly runs alongside homes in quiet, suburban neighborhoods –  not through commercial/industrial areas or along a freeway.

NOBODY KNOWS. There are numerous safety concerns regarding the proposed trail, yet the City has not once mentioned these concerns.

We are very proud and supportive of our Glendale Police and Fire Departments and know they will do everything within their power to serve the community. However, they can’t be everywhere at once, and most of the Wash is secluded, being located between residential properties with little or no line of sight.

Over the past several years, many of Southern California’s trails and bikeways have been home to “trail crime” including vandalism, drug use, assault and even murder! The fact is that “trail crime” cannot occur where there is no trail.

NOBODY KNOWS. There has yet to be any discussion regarding what happens if somebody gets injured or stuck on the trail and cannot communicate as to where they are. How will police or emergency services access the trail?

It has been suggested that local residents may be asked to help monitor, and even secure the Wash trail, when rains come. This doesn’t seem practical, or even smart, considering the responsibility it puts on individuals, along with the possibility of subjecting them to legal liability.

NOBODY KNOWS. Like many public recreation areas, the assumption is that the access points to the wash trail will be closed at night, which leads to a number of questions:

  1. Who will be responsible for opening and closing the access points on a daily basis?
  2. How will the “gatekeepers” know if anyone is on the trail when the access points are closed?
  3. If the trail is not closed at night, will night-use lighting be installed?

Details of the Plan

The proposal !melk created has a lot of content and pretty pictures with plans that may work in an urban area that has unused space such as an old railway, but the idea of constructing raised-platform pathways within the wash, through quiet, residential neighborhoods, makes many residents very skeptical that the project is realistic, especially with no real funding, and little discussion about the safety, maintenance, and potential  disruption of the unique character of the impacted neighborhoods along the wash. 

An article in the October 31, 2020 edition of The Outlook Online Newspaper regarding the Verdugo Wash Visioning project quotes Bradley Calvert, Glendale’s Assistant Director of Community Development as saying:

” The last thing we want to do is walk into a room — or into a Zoom meeting — with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and have a vision that actually can’t be executed.”

Then Glendale Mayor Agajanian, himself a former engineer, was skeptical of the lack of a price tag assigned to the construction phase of the project, though he ultimately approved the design contract. Community Development Director, Philip Lanzafame, responded saying:

“We don’t know. It hasn’t been designed. We can’t give you a figure.”

The privacy of homeowners who live directly along the wash will definitely be compromised.

  • What security will the city be providing to protect properties along the wash?
  • How will the city regulate the noise levels along the path?
  • Who will pay for vandalism of adjacent homes, caused by thrown rocks, bottles or graffiti?
  • Will there be “light pollution” from nighttime trail-use lighting?
  • Will trail users be able to peer into neighboring, previously private, properties?

Real LIfe Questions and Concerns

  1. What effective security can be provided when much of the wash is hidden from view?
  2. What if a child, with no parents around, is injured in the wash near my backyard?
  3. What if my dog barks at every passerby on the trail?
  4. What if people peer into my home, backyard, or into my pool?
  5. What if there is an after-school fight on the trail behind my house?
  6. What if drug deals become a problem behind my house?
  7. Who cleans up the trash that accumulates in between access  points?
  8. What type of privacy will I have?

We need to know all the details about this project as it will greatly impact our safety, lives, lifestyle and that of our families.

  1. What was the date the project study / consulting budget was approved?
    What was the source of the approved budget?
  2. Was the approval before or after passing of ADU regulations and SB9? If it was before, was the impact of these new zoning regulations on neighborhoods, combined with the bike path, considered in the study? This is important both impact of bike path on traffic and increased flood prevention demand on the wash.
  3. Please describe the consultant selection process. Was there RFP, request for proposal, sent out for a competitive bid, or is the consultant working on this project on an on-call basis?
  4. What is the scope of work in the contract with the current consultant or consultants?
  5. Is it concept design/study or more advanced design to prepare bridging documents or construction documents?
  6. In the LA County database, what is the ZONE for the wash and 25’ easement on each side?
  7. Based on LA County planning/zoning and land development standards, what are the approved uses for the wash and the easements on the sides?
  8. If a bike path and pedestrian walkway is not one of the approved uses for the wash and maintenance easements per LA County development standards, what is the process for obtaining discretionary approvals or modifications to development standards?
  9. The WVNC needs to be informed about details of any such process described in item 8, if applicable.
  10. There are major concerns about the hydraulic calculations/modeling provided in the initial report, with a lack of clarity on defining the demand, also lack of clarity on the outcome of calculations to limit the Froude number below 2.0
  11. Did City planning ask consultants to study the flood control capacity of the wash considering new zoning regulations, ADUs and SB9, that allow for more development and consequently more impervious areas? With these considerations, will the wash capacity be sufficient, even without the impact from the new bike path and linear park, which adds even more impervious areas? If so, we require the hydraulic analysis models of USACE HEC-RAS submitted to us for independent review.
  12. Is there a precedent anywhere in the country to convert flood control means or areas otherwise not open for public use, to public right of way behind single family residences? If so, please provide some references.
  13. The impact of a public pedestrian/cycling path behind residences of this secluded quiet neighborhood should be studied by independent real estate attorneys.
  14. If the bike path gets built, what would be the source of budget to compensate residents for the loss in their property value, damages and the legal fees involved?a