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!
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?
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.
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:
- Assaulting, or attempting to assault, a bicyclist;
- Threatening to physically injure a bicyclist;
- Injuring, or attempt to injure, a bicyclist (this can include verbal and non-verbal threats); and
- Intentionally distracting a bicyclist with the intent of causing injury
In these civil suits, drivers who assault or harass bicyclists will be liable for:
- Triple the dollar amount of any resulting damages or $1,000, whichever is larger;
- The attorney’s fees of the bicyclist assaulted/harassed; and
- Any additional punitive damages awarded by a judge or jury
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.
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.
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.
As previously discussed, the South Pasadena City Council formally considered bicycle and pedestrian improvements to Monterey Rd on its September 7th agenda, as well as a possible anti-harassment ordinance. Due to a full plate the Council only got to the former before the 11pm cutoff point for agenda items. This means that the anti-harassment ordinance will be pushed off to the next Council meeting.
In addition to considering potential bike improvements for Monterey Rd. in the Bike Plan, the City was also interested in bringing the sidewalks up to Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] standards. The Council had started with the idea of fixing all the potholes on Monterey Rd. and had the foresight to realize if they were going to temporarily disrupt things, they might as well consider making major improvements since projects on that scale only get done every other decade or so. The sidewalks were narrowed in the ’70s and consequently it’s difficult for able-bodied pedestrians to get by, much less anyone using a wheelchair.
Several members of the public stuck around until 11pm to comment on this agenda item. Most were in favor of bringing the sidewalk up to ADA standards and adding a bike lane. A number were specifically in favor of a bike lane separated by a small median as they felt a painted bike lane wouldn’t be protective enough. Some highlighted the need to encourage South Pasadena school children to cycle to school but were afraid no parent would let their child ride if they didn’t have the protection of a bike lane separated by a median (or “cycletrack”). Speakers were also in favor of calming the street to deter speeding and cut down on accidents (a number of residents have suffered from hit-and-runs involving their cars parked on Monterey). They felt that a road diet would complement the small town quality of life that is valued in South Pasadena.
One resident spoke against any change whatsoever because she was worried her disabled husband would no longer be able to park directly in front of their residence on Monterey Rd. One resident spoke against change because he feels that the road carries a lot of traffic, people would never change their driving habits to accommodate a changed road, and motorists far outnumber cyclists and should therefore carry the day.
One South Pasadena resident spoke in favor of the aims of the project but worried that it would be mishandled as many feel the major Fair Oaks construction project has been. She wanted some assurance that this would be designed and executed better. The Council responded that they would get a citizen advisory committee together to work with the Council. (It was unclear whether this committee would be comprised only of Monterey Rd. residents or whether it would be open to any South Pasadena resident.)
Wesley Reutimann of WSGVBC spoke in favor of the”road diet” option which would not only make things safer for cyclists, but for motorists by providing a center lane for left turns. He mentioned the CA Complete Streets Act , the draft South Pasadena Bicycle Master Plan, and the need for a holistic approach to transportation. He recommended they consult with road engineers and conduct traffic counts to get a clearer picture of just how much a road diet could help get a handle on the speeding that happens on the 4 lane stretch of Monterey Rd.
Megan Lynch of WSGVBC and South Pasadena resident spoke in favor of widening the sidewalks to make them ADA compliant. However, she urged the Council not to use the proposed flare-out solution as that would create a wavy sidewalk that could encourage cyclists to ride in and out of traffic rather an in a straight line, placing them at additional risk. She also spoke in favor of the road diet, feeling that a road that accommodates pedestrians and cyclists better would slow down speeders, make the road safer for all.
After a lengthy discussion that covered everything from the history of Monterey Rd. to cycling infrastructure in China, the Council unanimously passed a motion to do the following:
- Monterey Rd form the Western City limits to the Monterey Rd/Pasadena Ave intersection (aka the Gold Line crossing area) – develop a Class II Bike Lane as proposed in Bike Plan
- Monterey from Fair Oaks to Garfield – develop a Class III Bike Route with sharrows
- The middle, 4-lane section (ADA Improvement corridor)
- Label recommended road treatment for this section as “pending” in the Bike Plan
- Form an Ad Hoc Committee composed of local residents to help the City Council study all the options, including traditional Class II Bike Lanes to protected bike lanes/cycletracks and even protected contra bike lanes
- Conduct traffic studies along the corridor and adjacent streets to help determine what impact a “road diet” would have on traffic
With this decision made, staff will now be able to finalize the Bike Master Plan and submit it to Metro and Caltrans for approval. In the meantime WSGVBC members will continue to follow the process as it moves forward, in particular the work of the Ad Hoc Committee.
CONTEST: Help Develop the WSGVBC’s First Official Logo!
The WSGVBC is in need of an official group logo! We know a lot of you are for more design-savvy than we are, so we’re opening up submissions to anyone who’d like to help our growing group out. The individual behind the selected design will receive a $100 honorarium, a one year membership to the WSGVBC, plus the group’s eternal gratitude! Please send submissions to wsgvbc [at] gmail.com by 9/20.
El Monte Community Bike Ride – Sat 9/17 (8am-12pm) – Ride Leaders/Volunteers NEEDED!
The ride will start at Pioneer Park in El Monte (3535 Santa Anita Blvd). Participants will have the option of a 1 to 6 mile beginner route, or the full 14 miles of easy no-hill riding on the Rio Hondo River. “Fix-it” stations will be available where riders can address equipment issues. The ride will be followed by lunch, health expo and raffle. Register before September 8 to receive a FREE T‐Shirt, Raffle Ticket, Lunch and Cycling Water Bottle. Winner must be present to receive prizes. $5 Children · $10 Adults
Ride leaders are still needed. Volunteers will receive free registration, t-shirt, lunch..etc. If interested, please contact Steve Schweigerdt (steve [at] railstotrails.org) for more information.
Register online here
San Gabriel Valley Tri-City Tour – Oct. 1st
Our friends at Ciclervia are hosting the 1st SGV Tri-City Tour on Oct 1st. Featuring 5 and 15 mile options, the FREE ride will link the communities of La Puente, Hacienda Heights, and Industry.
For more info or to register, please visit the ride website here
September Coalition Meeting – Mon 9/19, 6-8pm – Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce
The next WSGVBC coalition meeting is right around the corner. Ride on down to meet some of the other members of the group, hear the llatest in advocacy news, and have a hand in all the decision-making that comes with getting a new group established.
When: Monday August 22nd, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: Monterey Park Chamber of Commerce, 700 El Mercado Ave., Monterey Park, CA 91754
City of Alhambra – Update
After presenting to the City’s Transportation Commission, WSGVBC members and local residents met with City Manager Julio Fuentes to discuss the possibility of developing the City’s first Bike Plan. The outcome of last month’s meeting was very positive, and WSGVBC looks forward to working with City staff and local advocates to keep moving things forward. If you’re interested in getting more involved with coalition efforts in this community please contact us.