Westlake Village eyes another new park

ROAD UPGRADE—The new Westlake Linear Park will run along the east side (left) of Lindero Canyon Road. JOHN LOESING/Acorn Newspapers

ROAD UPGRADE—The new Westlake Linear Park will run along the east side (left) of Lindero Canyon Road. JOHN LOESING/Acorn Newspapers

After the completion of the Westlake Village Community Park, the Westlake Village City Council has turned its focus on building another park, but this one will be a little different.

The Lindero Linear Park will be on Lindero Canyon Road between Foxfield Drive and Agoura Road, on the flood channel, or east side of the street. Where there is now a chain-link fence and a sidewalk there may soon be a tree-lined path that will have benches, bushes and more grass.

The project will update the flood channel to help the city meet water-quality standards.

Jessica Arden, Westlake Village City engineer, said the $4.36-million project has been in the works for almost 10 years. A final design was approved and the city obtained the necessary permits in 2015, but by then construction on the Westlake Village Community Park was underway.

“This is such a big project and the community park was such a big project. At that time the City Council decided to move forward and budget the community park and get through that construction before starting on this project,” Arden said.

“This year, as we knew we were finishing up the community park, we put the Lindero Linear Park back on the budget, and as we did that there were a couple new council members who wanted to see what we could do to reduce the cost of the project.”

Arden said that out of concern for California’s ongoing drought the council decided to eliminate water features—the original design featured decorative water fountains and drinking fountains. They also decided to cut out some decorative features. The revised plan reduced the cost of the project by $400,000.

There are also elements of the design that Arden said have been classified as deductive alternatives— items that may or may not end up being installed—which could save the city an additional $500,000.

Westlake Village City Manager Ray Taylor said nearly $1 million of the project’s budget is for the construction of a bioswale—a sloped drainage element that traps pollutants and silt. The bioswale will serve as a modification to the decades-old flood control channel.

Taylor said the bioswale won’t require the reconstruction of the channel, nor will the park’s design call for the narrow sidewalk area to be widened—the city simply needs to remove a fence to make room for the improvements.

“Several years ago, the city constructed a fence that is now adjacent to the flood control channel, which is behind the existing fence,” Taylor said. “So when the project proceeds, that fence that’s closest to the curb and gutter (will be removed), and there will be grading that will commence, and the project will be constructed so the width of that parkway area will be larger than what you see today.”

The project could be funded by Measure M, a 2016 ballot measure that increased sales tax in Los Angeles County by a half-cent to fund transit projects. The money is distributed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; the agency provides each city with a set amount of money per year. Westlake Village receives $1.1 million annually.

“We’re going to write what’s called a letter of no discrimination, which is basically the city saying, ‘What we’re going to do is fund it up front, we’ll bill you as construction goes along,’” Arden said. “So Metro will pay us back . . . within four years.”

Arden said the city is waiting for confirmation that the project is going to receive Measure M funds, which will be announced in April. Once that happens, the construction contract will be up for bidding, possibly by early summer.

The community is mostly receptive to the idea, but Arden said there are some critics.

“The majority of the input we received back that wasn’t good was, ‘We need a sidewalk on the First Neighborhood side more than they need it on the trails side,’” Arden said. “But they’re not mutually exclusive. There’s no reason this project can’t happen and be a success and still achieve a sidewalk on the First Neighborhood side.

“That’s a different thing than what this project is. This project isn’t the most expensive sidewalk on the planet. This is a stormwater project that has a transportation element.”