Goodbye WSGVBC, Hello (again) BikeSGV

As many of you know, the WSGVBC’s early roots were in co-founder Vincent Chang’s popular Facebook page, BikeSGV. For a number of reasons, the group has decided to go back to its roots and re-brand ourselves Bike San Gabriel Valley.  So from henceforth we will be BikeSGV, the bike coalition formerly known as the West San Gabriel Valley Bike Coalition (WSGVBC).

Oh, and to make the transition easier for everyone, we have an official BikeSGV logo and website (www.bikeSGV.org) to share with you. Please follow us at bikeSGV.org for future updates!

New Year, new logo


December Update and Upcoming Events

Alhambra City Council Moves Step Closer to First City Bike Plan
Thanks to the outpouring of community support for the development of the City’s first bike-friendly amenities, the Alhambra City Council directed staff to move forward with planning an official Alhambra Bike Plan. In the coming weeks a bid should go out for a plan, which will facilitate the creation of a city-wide network of bike friendly streets, as well as qualify the City for additional funding streams for bike infrastructure.

Thanks again to all the local residents who took the time to attend public meetings and/or write to their elected representatives.  Stay tuned for more information.

12/12 – December Coalition Meeting – 6:30-8:30pm – El Encanto
The next WSGVBC coalition meeting is right around the corner. Join us at Monterey Park’s historic El Encanto building for refreshments and updates on the group’s latest efforts in the community.

What: West San Gabriel Bike Coalition Meeting
When: Monday December 12th, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce, 700 El Mercado Ave., Monterey Park, CA 91754

12/18 – Holiday Lights Ride – 5:30-7pm
Join us for a relaxed evening ride through low traffic, residential neighborhoods in the cities of South Pasadena, San Marino and Pasadena.  Take in the lights by bike, and be sure to decorate your own!  Best lighted bike will receive a prize!  Riders will depart from the South Pasadena Gold Line station at 5:30pm.  Weather is likely to be cool, so please dress accordingly.  And bring functional bike lights!


Board of Supervisors Directs Staff to Consider “Innovative” Bike Infrastructure for LA County

At today’s regularly scheduled board meeting the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor’s directed staff to “amend the Draft Los Angeles County Bicycle Master Plan to include Cycle Tracks as well as other innovative bikeway road types…as allowed options” and facilitate early adoption of such road treatments.

The Motion (76b on the supplemental agenda; also below) was made by Supervisor Yaroslavsky and passed without comment during today’s meeting. Earlier in the month staff for Supervisor Yaroslavsky also published a recap of public support for a stronger plan – “Pushing for a Better, Bolder Bike Plan” – on the Supervisor’s website following the Regional Planning Commission meeting, where advocates spoke in support of a stronger plan on 11/16.

In passing, the cycling community’s efforts to improve the County’s Draft Bike Plan appear to have gained some traction. This initial success would not have been possible without the broad support of local, regional, and national organizations –  including the American Heart Association, Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, American Lung Association of California, Transit Coalition, Rail LA, Breathe LA, Flintridge Foundation, Day One, and Alhambrans Beyond Cars – that submitted letters in favor of the strengthening plan.

In the coming weeks bike advocates will be meeting with staff to discuss manners of strengthening the Plan before it returns to the Planning Commission on January 12th. Stay tuned for more information regarding the plan as it moves towards planned adopted in March 2012.

——————————–Motion 76b: Supervisor Yaroslavsky ————————

Recommendation as submitted by Supervisor Yaroslavsky: Instruct the Director of Public Works to immediately take the following actions regarding the draft plan for the Los Angeles County Bicycle
Master Plan:

1) Amend the Draft Los Angeles County Bicycle Master Plan to include Cycle Tracks as well as other innovative bikeway road types and cross sections within the Plan as allowed options, which may be implemented by the Department once they are approved by the State, and the Director determines that using such a design would promote the safety of all users of the street, including bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorists;

2) Explicitly allow the use of these and other innovative designs once they become adopted California design standards;

3) Include provisions within the Plan that will facilitate Los Angeles County’s early adoption of these methods through participation in the State’s program to approve experimental projects, where the Director believes such participation would be cost effective and improve safety for members of the public;

4) Work with the Director of Regional Planning and the Director of Public Health to identify where the model street designs included in the Model Design Manual for Living Streets would be appropriate for inclusion in the General Plan Mobility Element, clearly referencing where these model street designs or other innovative features should be considered;

5) Take any actions necessary to update the Plan’s Program Environmental Impact Report so as to allow these changes to be incorporated into the final Plan before the March 2012 deadline for adoption;

6) Continue the Department’s collaboration with the bicycling community in preparation for the Regional Planning Commission’s consideration of the draft Plan in January 2012; and

7) Report back to the Board of Supervisors within 45 days regarding progress made toward completion of all of these objectives.


South El Monte Residents Consider Possible Improvements to Durfee/Peck Corridor

LGC staff educates public about design options, including buffered bike lanes

On Saturday November 11th the City of South El Monte, Local Government Commission (LGC), Barrio Planners and California Center for Public Health Advocacy hosted a walking audit and urban planning workshop for local residents to examine manners of improving the Durfee Ave/Peck Rd. corridor. The event was the center piece of weeklong series of presentations and outreach work conducted by the Local Government Commission, a non-profit organization whose focus is assisting local governments create “livable communities.” According to LGC’s website, the key elements of a livable community include “a healthier human and natural environment, a more sustainable economy, an actively engaged populace, and an equitable society.”

Walking Audit at Durfee/Michael Hunt

The walking audit was attended by approximately thirty members of the public, including South El Monte Council Member Joseph Gonzalez and local resident/WSGVBC co-founder Alice Strong. LGC’s team of planning experts – Paul Zykofsky, Dan Burden and Steve Tracy – led the group down Durfee/Peck, making frequent stops to highlight pedestrian safety and ADA accessibility issues. Thanks to Paul’s fluency in the Spanish language, discussion and Q&A were handled in both English and Spanish. This allowed several members of the public whose command of the former was more limited an opportunity to actively participate in the tour and workshop.

During the hour long walk residents and LGC staff highlighted a wide range of problems, including the high speed of traffic, lack of crosswalks at several major intersections, insufficient sidewalk width, existence of obstructions that impede ADA accessibility, and frequency of sidewalk cycling.

LGC staff examine bulbs that restrict left turns at South El Monte High School

Of particular concern to many participants who had children were routes to South El Monte High School, which is inconveniently located apart from most of the City’s residential housing on the far side of the 60 freeway. In addition to having a detrimental impact on air quality at the school – researchers continue to find freeway-related pollution has significant public health effects on brain function and respiratory health – the freeway’s location and access points currently make walking and cycling to school a difficult and dangerous proposition for students.

Participants board shuttle back to Senior Center

For example, residents pointed out that the freeway’s on-ramps on Peck Rd. do not have crosswalks and the nearby pedestrian bridge is poorly lighted, lacks visibility, and has been the site of assaults on and harassment of students. The vast majority of students are thus driven to school, exacerbating congestion and gridlock on Durfee Ave. during pick-up/drop-off hours. Parents stated that this situation was made worse by the fact that no left turns are permitted into/out of the high school parking lot. This forces drivers to take a lengthy detour onto Santa Anita Ave. to return home. A possible solution to this issue, according to LGC staff, would be the implementation of a road diet on this stretch of Durfee. By reducing the number of travel lanes from 4 to 3, a road diet would provide motorists with a center turning lane.

Alice Strong suggests bike/ped improvements w/ CCPHA staff

Following the walking audit, participants returned to the South El Monte Senior Center for lunch and then group work facilitated by Belinda Campos and other members of CCPHA staff. Attendees broke into teams and jotted down their proposed recommendations for Durfee/Peck onto blown-up maps of the City. Each team then reported back to the entire group; recommendations included planting more shade-bearing trees, widening sidewalks where possible to encourage walking and provide space for outdoor dining, placing green bike lanes along the length of the route, painting high-visibility crosswalks on all major intersections, lengthening crosswalk signalization, and utilizing traffic calming measures to discourage speeding.

As a whole, the following 3 priorities emerged from the group’s work:

  • Fix crossing at Durfee/Peck and Highway 60 on-ramps
  • Add bicycle lanes
  • Encourage development of sidewalk cafes

Overall, the inclusive tone and interactive format of the event appeared very successful at encouraging public participation. LGC staff will take the input received during the day to compile a final set of recommendations for the City that should be completed and publicly available in early 2012. Stay tuned for more information.

Breakout groups present their recommendations


November Update: Upcoming Events

Alhambra City Council Bike Plan Study Session
The Alhambra City Council will be having a Study Session, open to the public, on Monday November 7th at 5:30pm. The meeting will be held in the central library’s Community Room on 101 South 1st St., just southwest of Main and Garfield.

If you live, ride or would just like to see a more bike/ped friendly Alhambra, please attend the meeting. This will be Council’s first formal consideration of the issue.

What: Alhambra City Council Bike Plan Study Session

When: Monday November 7th, 5:30pm

Where:Community Room, Alhambra Civic Center Library, 101 S. 1st St.

South El Monte to Host Design Workshops for Durfee/Peck Rd Improvements

The California Local Government Commission, City of South El Monte and CA Center for Public Health Advocacy will be hosting a series of three community workshops to develop a bike-ped friendly vision for Durfee and Peck Roads. Public input is sorely needed, so if you live, walk, bike or just want to support active transportation in South El Monte please attend one, two or all of the events. For more info, call 626-579-6540.

11/10 (6-8pm) Opening Community Workshop

11/12 (9am-1pm) Walking Tour and Design Workshop

11/15 (6-8pm) Presentation of a Vision Plan

Where: All events will be held at the Senior Center, 1556 Central Ave, South El Monte

November Coalition Meeting – 11/14 – 6:30-8:30pm – El Encanto

The next WSGVBC coalition meeting is right around the corner. Join us at Monterey Park’s historic El Encanto building for refreshments and updates on the group’s latest efforts in the community.

What: West San Gabriel Bike Coalition Meeting

When: Monday November 14th, 6:30-8:30pm

Where: Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce, 700 El Mercado Ave., Monterey Park, CA 91754

California Bike Summit – 11/5-7 – Kyoto Grand Hotel, Los Angeles

This weekend, the California Bicycle Coalition is coming to town to host this year’s state bike summit in downtown Los Angeles. The three day event will feature an array of speakers, workshops, organized rides, and opportunities to meet and socialize with bike advocates from around the state.

Although late registration for the full event is $120, members of the public can attend Monday’s full schedule of workshops for only $10. For more details, please visit CBC’s eventwebsite.

City of Pasadena to Host General Plan Mobility Workshops in November

City Planning staff will host four Mobility Workshopsin November for members of the public to share their  “thoughts about the future of driving, biking, walking and riding transit” in the City. The workshops are the latest outreach opportunity of the City’s General Plan update process, which is winding down and should come before Council for approval in the coming months.

The City’s Draft Bike Master Plan falls under the Mobility Element of the General Plan, so these meetings will be a good opportunity for folks who live and ride in Pasadena to provide feedback directly to City staff.

What: City of Pasadena Mobility Workshops

When/where: November 10, 11, 17, and 12/1 (Spanish)

For times and locations, see workshop webpage

Upcoming Events in Chronological Order 

  • 11/3 (6-7pm) – Emerald Necklace Action Team Meeting – Jack Crippen Senior Center, 3120 Tyler Ave., El Monte
  • 11/7 (5:30pm) – Alhambra Bike Plan Study Session - Alhambra Library Community Room, 101 South 1st Street, Alhambra 91801
  • 11/10 (6:30-8:30pm) – Pasadena Mobility Workshop – Pasadena Senior Center, Scott Pavilion, 85 E. Holly St, Pasadena
  • 11/10 (6-8pm) – South El Monte Durfee/Peck Rd. Community Workshop - Senior Center, 1556 Central Ave, South El Monte
  • 11/10 (7-9pm) – Temple City Traffic Calming Workshop – Temple City Historical Society Hall, 9704 Woodruff Ave.
  • 11/12 (9am-1pm) –  Walking Tour and Design Workshop - Senior Center, 1556 Central Ave, South El Monte
  • 11/14 (6:30-8:30pm) – WSGVBC Monthly Meeting – El Encanto, 700 El Mercado Ave., Monterey Park, CA 91754
  • 11/15 (6:30-8:30pm) – Pasadena Mobility Workshop – Jackie Robinson Center, 1020 N. Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena
  • 11/15 (6-8pm) – Presentation of Durfee/Peck Rd. Vision Plan - Senior Center, 1556 Central Ave, South El Monte
  • 11/16 (9am-) – LA County Regional Planning Commission Public Hearing on Final Draft of Bike Plan – Hall of Records; Room 150, 320 West Temple Street, Los Angeles. The Final Plan and Draft EIR are available for public review.
  • 11/17 (2:30-4:30pm) – Pasadena Mobility Workshop – Fair Oaks Community Room, Renaissance Plaza, 694 N. Fair Oaks Ave. 2nd Floor #203, Pasadena
  • 11/17 (6-8pm) – Temple City Downtown Strategic Plan Workshop – Temple City Historical Society Hall, 9704 Woodruff Ave.

Envisioning a Bike and Pedestrian Friendlier Alhambra

Envisioning Alhambra 2035

From 10am-2pm on Saturday October 22nd City planning staff and consultants asked members of the public to envision Alhambra in 2035. Held at Almansor Park, the event consisted of several tables with maps highlighting current land-use planning (e.g. zoning overlays) in the community and opportunities to provide input and suggestions.

One of the tables specifically asked residents how the City could be make more bike and pedestrian friendly, offering the public a chance to highlight problem areas and streets they currently frequent by foot or bike.

Suggestions

Suggestions made by attendees included connecting planned bike lanes on Huntington Drive by the Cities of Los Angeles and South Pasadena through Alhambra was suggested by the public, as well as creating a network of safe cross-town routes with clear wayfinding signange that link residential neighborhoods to business districts, schools and parks via streets like Marguerita Lane and Woodward Ave.

Of course, with Alhambra already being one of the most dangerous cities of its size in the entire state of California for pedestrians and bicyclists, the cycling community would like to see steps taken to improve safety in the next few years, not two decades from now!

 

South Pasadena Candidate Survey

In an effort to better educate and inform members of the public about active transportation issues facing the City of South Pasadena (an issue that has been largely ignored in policy discussions to date), the West San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Coalition submitted the following questionnaire to the 9 candidates running for City Council. Responses will be posted as they are received.

1)     Do you use a bicycle in the city? If so, for what purposes (commuting, recreation, errands) and how often? Please indicate how you most commonly commute to work (drive, Metro, walk, carpool, bike, combination, other).  

2)     What are the most urgent transportation needs in the City?  How would you address them?

3)     What can the City Council do to reduce and prevent collisions involving pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users?

4)     Many street design treatments that have been shown to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities of all road users may also reduce speeding and fast-moving vehicle traffic. If elected, would you support road design treatments that will increase the safety of everyone on our streets, even if it means slowing vehicle traffic on surface streets in some cases?

5)     On January 1, 2011 the CA Complete Streets Act (AB 1358) became law, requiring local municipalities account for the needs of all roadway users – drivers, transit users, pedestrians, and bicyclists, as well as for older people, children, and persons with disabilities – when updating the part of the general plan that addresses roadways and traffic flows.  How do you envision the City carrying out this new mandate?

6)     Forty years ago over 60% of school children in the United States walked or rode a bicycle to school. Today, that figure is less than 10%. This decline in bicycling and walking (and physical activity in general) has been mirrored by dramatic increases in childhood obesity in California and across the country. If elected, will you commit staff to work with local schools, PTAs and to create or expand programs that encourage families to walk and bike to school?

7)     AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, calls for the reduction of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020.  Passed two years later, SB 375 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to reduce emissions from passenger vehicles and requires regional metropolitan planning organizations to develop “Sustainable Communities Strategies” that integrate transportation, land-use, and housing policies that plan to achieve the emissions targets for their regions. Given that the vast majority of emissions in CA come from private automobile use, what specific policies or plans would you implement to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector?  (For example, if elected, would you incentivize City workers to leave their cars at home and get to work via public transit, cycling or other non-motorized modes of transport? If so, how would you make it easier for them to do so?)

8)     The City of Los Angeles has hosted three CicLAvia’s – temporary closures of streets to motor vehicles to allow families and friends to exercise, socialize, and appreciate the city and its public spaces from a new perspective – to date, with tremendous public support.  Each event has proved more successful than the last. If elected, would you be willing to partner with the City of LA and/or other nearby cities to bring a similar event into South Pasadena?

9)     The City Council recently adopted an updated Bike Plan that, if realized, will create a cohesive network of bike infrastructure in the City. If elected, will you support the full implementation of the Bike Plan?


South Pasadena Moves Towards Cyclist Anti-Harassment Policy

On Wednesday October 19th the South Pasadena City Council unanimously directed staff to draft a bicycle anti-harassment ordinance based on LA City’s landmark legislation, which went into effect on September 6th.

So Pas Council considers cyclist anti-harassment policy

If adopted, the policy would provide cyclists riding in the City with greater recourse if they are harassed by a motorist than they currently have access to. Presently, unless harassment results in a direct collision, serious injury/death and is witnessed by bystanders (or better yet, law enforcement), cyclists rarely pursue a civil, let alone a criminal, case.  Why?  Well for one intimidation, assault, and harassment rarely lead to significant monetary damages being awarded. This leaves most victims unable afford such cases. Serious repercussions for the culpable party are also infrequent except in the most egrigious cases involving drunk/impaired driving or felony hit-and-run.

Under LA’s ordinance, a series of actions taken against a bicyclist are grounds for a civil suit. They are:

  1. Assaulting, or attempting to assault, a bicyclist;
  2. Threatening to physically injure a bicyclist;
  3. Injuring, or attempt to injure, a bicyclist (this can include verbal and non-verbal threats); and
  4. Intentionally distracting a bicyclist with the intent of causing injury

Damages

In these civil suits, drivers who assault or harass bicyclists will be liable for:

  1. Triple the dollar amount of any resulting damages or $1,000, whichever is larger;
  2. The attorney’s fees of the bicyclist assaulted/harassed; and
  3. Any additional punitive damages awarded by a judge or jury

Criminal Charges

LA’s ordinance does not prevent victims (or family members in fatal cases) from pressing criminal charges against a harassing or assaulting driver. It simply provides cyclists with an additional means of defending themselves in cases of assault or harassment.

LA’s ordinance can be viewed here.


October Update: Upcoming Events

10/6 – Temple City Unveils Updated Rosemead Blvd. Designs – 7pm
The City of Temple City will unveil updated designs for the planned improvements to the Rosemead Blvd. corridor at Live Oak Park Community Center (10144 Bogue St.). Two sessions are planned: English at 7 p.m. and Chinese at 8 p.m. Child care will be provided.

Planned improvements include new sidewalks, signalized pedestrian crossings, street furniture, landscaped medians, road and drainage improvements, as well as solar powered lighting, public art installations and protected bike lanes (aka cycletracks).

10/9 – CicLAvia!!! – 10-3pm

After taking the summer off, CicLAvia is back and set to be bigger and better than ever!!!  The event’s third itineration includes two new spurs, one into south Los Angeles and another Chinatown, as well as an extension further into Boyle Heights.

The WSGVBC will be hosting a feeder rider along the Arroyo Seco Bike Path to Chinatown. Meet by the entrance of South Pasadena Public Library (1100 Oxley St.) at 9am.

For more info, or to see a map of the new and improved route, see the new CicLAvia website.

10/17 – October Coalition Meeting – 6:30-8:30pm – Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce
The next WSGVBC coalition meeting will be held on Monday October 17th.  The historic El Encanto building, now home to the Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce, will play host to this month’s meeting.  Come enjoy this beautifully restored Spanish revival while discussing our latest plans and efforts to make the WSGV more bike-friendly!  RSVP encouraged.

What: West San Gabriel Bike Coalition Meeting
When: Monday October 17th, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: El Encanto, Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce, 700 El Mercado Ave., Monterey Park

10/22 – MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY – Emerald Necklace Cleanup Ride – 9am-12pm

As part of national Make a Difference Day, the WSGVBC will be hosting a cleanup ride along the Rio Hondo/San Gabriel River Bike Path. Riders of all ages and abilities are welcome to join us. Come make a difference with us, and:

  • enjoy the beautiful fall weather
  • get some much needed exercise
  • make the Emerald Necklace shinier than ever

Riders will meet at Lashbrook Park in the City of El Monte (3141 Lashbrook Ave, El Monte 91733) for park cleanup and ride along the Rio Hondo Bike Trail. 

 

10/22 – City of Alhambra Community Forum – 10am-2pm
“The City of Alhambra wants to Know: How do YOU Envision Alhambra?”  Alhambra Council Member Gary Yamauchi will host a community open house from 10am-2pm on October 22nd to solicit feedback from the public on transportation, land-use, housing, parks and recreation, and public services issues as the City looks to update the General Plan. The meeting will be an excellent opportunity to discuss safety issues facing pedestrians and cyclists in Alhambra.  The meeting will be held at Almansor Park Gym. For more information, check out the City’s event flyer.    

Safe riding.


South Pasadena Unveils New Bike Plan to the Press, Members of the Public

At a relatively well-attended 1pm press conference on Tuesday, South Pasadena city staff and elected officials unveiled the City’s recently adopted bike plan. Due to rain earlier in the morning the planned installation of the plan’s first bike lanes along El Centro St. had to be postponed until later in the week when road conditions should be drier.

Outgoing Council Member David SiFuentes, who championed updated plan and helped shepherd its development over the past several years, highlighted how its passage was the first step towards realizing a cohesive network of bike infrastructure in the City that will allow residents of all ages to get around town without the use of a car.  Council Member SiFuentes also noted how the plan is the latest example of the Council’s commitment to improving the health and well-being of residents, following smoke-free policies that were recently adopted to address public exposure to tobacco smoke in public places and multi-unit residential housing.

Following comments from Council Member SiFuentes, a police spokeperson outlined the department’s efforts to educate local children, cyclists and members of the public about the rules of the road and safety laws, notably the state’s helmet law for minors. Local children who cannot afford a helmet will be able to pick one up free of charge. For more information please contact the South Pasadena Police Department at (626) 403-7270.

South Pasadena Mayor Mike Ten was also on hand to document the occasion and speak with members of the public.  In July the Mayor joined colleagues Michael Cacciotti, Dr. Richard Schneider, and Philip Putnam in unanimously adopting the plan, which took over two years to develop with the input of the public.

The event was covered by several local news sources, including Curbed LA, Pasadena Now, the Pasadena Sun, , and KCAL Channel 7 News.

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