Did you know that ActiveSGV was started over a cup of coffee and a small group of community members who wanted to discuss safer streets for walking and biking? From side project (volunteer run) to main hustle (12+ full time staff!), Active SGV has grown immensely over the last 11 years. Find out how one of its original founders, Wes Reutimann, helped create one of the most engaged advocacy organizations in the region!
1. How did you get started working at ActiveSGV (/ in this field)?
When I moved back to southern California after almost a decade of living on the east coast and in Austria/Switzerland, I found myself frustrated by the prospect of spending so much time in a car, stuck in traffic. I had taken a job in Granada Hills and was living in Pasadena, which meant a long daily commute. Even though it was largely against the flow of rush hour traffic, it still added up to about 90 minutes a day. Or 8 hours a week. 40 hours a month. Almost 500 hours a year. As much as I enjoyed listening to public radio, I knew it was bad for my health, the air, and our future. It also wasn't particularly safe. I almost got into a solo collision due to fatigue one day driving home from work. Luckily a plastic bollard came to the rescue! Around the same time I started to get back into bicycling after a knee injury sidelined me from other athletic pursuits. I had largely relied on two feet, public transit, and a bike to get around while living abroad, and was thankful to be able to re-explore the SGV and mountains on two wheels. Yet riding a bike, walking, or using public transportation wasn't particularly easy or comfortable in LA County, so I found myself looking into who was working on these issues. The internet connected me to LACBC, then CICLE (and Pasadena Bike Week), the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and MoveLA. Around this time StreetsblogLA was also launched, which provided another source of good information. I started attending LACBC planning committee meetings with then director Alexis Lantz and Eric Bruins. I found a new position closer to home with Pasadena-based public health non-profit Day One, a job that gave me the opportunity to run into then Monterey Park Environmental Commissioner Vincent Chang at a Monterey Park City Council meeting when he was asking the City's leaders to declare May "Bike Month" in the City. After learning about our shared interest in safer streets for walking and bicycling, Vincent invited a group of SGV residents including former Alhambra Council Member Efren Moreno to have coffee and discuss what could be done. This was the genesis of ActiveSGV. Six years later what had begun as an all-volunteer endeavor became too much to do as a side project -- particularly organizing the first 626 Golden Streets event -- and I transitioned from a volunteer to staff member.
2. What do you like most about ActiveSGV?
I truly value the opportunity to work with so many diverse, creative, and rising San Gabriel Valley leaders. ActiveSGV has long focused on hiring locally, elevating former volunteers/interns, and buildilng capacity within the San Gabriel Valley to advocate for positive change. Our team has deep roots in the valley, with most staff having extended family networks that reside in the SGV as well. This background that reflects the region's rich diversity helps keep us grounded in the region, improves our ability to connect with our neighbors, and supports more nuanced decision-making. As someone who has been with the organization since its inception, it has also been wonderful to see how it has evolved and grown since 2010, too. From a rag-tag, all-volunteer, community coalition to a professional organization with 17 full time staff, it has been quite a ride so far. Other perks I enjoy include:
- Working on local health, mobility, and climate issues
- Opportunity to work on a diversity of projects
- Office E-cargo bike share!
- Flexible work hours -- super helpful when you have young children
-Our office home at the Jeff Seymour Family Center, a green jewel of the SGV!
3. Favorite and/or memorable ActiveSGV experience?
Staging the original, 19 mile, 8 community, 626 Golden Streets ciclovia in March 2017. In addition to being our longest and most amibitious open streets event to date, it was also our first. In hindsight we really were in over our heads, but we simply dug in and chipped away at it until we got to the finish line. The event was literally 3-years in the making. Key steps included getting all the respective City Council's to endorse the concept in 2014; submitting a proposal to Metro for funding; facilitating planning with 16 police and fire agencies across the route; soliciting sponsorships to cover additional costs; postponing the event at the last minute due to wildfires breaking out in Azusa and Duarte a few days before the originally scheduled 6/26/16 event date; securing funding to cover sunk costs and re-stage the event (e.g., all the traffic control equipment had already been staged across the 19 mile event route when the fires broke out); facilitating agreement among all the cities on a make-up date; coordinating with over 500 volunteers and more than 150 vendors, performers, community organizations, and groups; and then encountering heavy rain in the middle of the 6-hour event. Needless to say, it was a lot. But I was so incredibly grateful to see so many families come out and enjoy the event.
4. If a friend from out of town were to visit, which place in the SGV would you take them to and why?
The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens in San Marino! If they're able to ride a bike, this would be a sample itinerary:
--Meet at the Gold Line Mission Station in South Pasadena or Filmore Station in Pasadena (if they're coming in via transit)
--Bike via Pasadena's "Roseway" network of bicycle-friendly streets to The Huntington. Park right next to the entrance at one of two dozen or so good quality bicycle racks.
--Enjoy a half-day or more exploring the gardens and catching up, as well as taking a peek in the Library's extensive collections.
--Time permitting, take a detour on the way back through some of the many tree-lined residential streets in San Marino, South Pasadena, Pasadena en route to lunch or dinner at a local, family-owned eatery. If an eatery in downtown Pasadena is selected, ride down San Pasqual and through Caltech's verdant campus.
5. What you're listening to/ reading/ watching/ digging right now:
As I'm juggling childcare and remote work with my partner at the moment during COVID-19, my time for reading anything other than children's books is currently limited. However I do try to listen to podcasts while doing chores around the house, including the "California Report" to stay up to date with CA news; "Gimme Shelter" on housing issues in CA; "Radiolab", "This American Life", and "The Daily" for their consistently excellent story-telling; "LA Podcast" on LA City/County politics; "The City" for deep dives on community issues when new episodes become available; and "Drilled" for interviews with people working on climate action.
The Puente Hills Landfill, nestled between the 60 and 605 freeways, closed down in 2013. Many of you may have participated in the Bike and Hike event that took 80 people up to the Puente Hills to check out the views and to learn about plans to turn it into a regional park. The former landfill would become the second largest regional park in Los Angeles County, second to only that of Griffith Park, offering 142 acres of park space.
The large regional park would contain multi-use trails, open space, educational facilities, bike parks, habitat restoration, restoration. The park also included a much needed wildlife corridor, which would help connect existing Puente hills with that of Chino Hills and the San Gabriel River.
Many communities in Los Angeles County lack the much needed open spaces for recreation and exercise and many communities in the San Gabriel Valley lack adequate park and recreational space. In nearby communities of Avocado Heights, Bassett, El Monte, La
Puente, Montebello, South El Monte, and West Whittier are all considered Park-poor (>0.3 acres per 1000 residents). Creating a large regional park in the San Gabriel Valley would help provide much needed trails and open space for surrounding communities.
ActiveSGV participated in the development of the park master plan in 2015-2016. Community members showed up to community meetings and advocated strongly for the project to turn the former landfill into a county park. As an organization, we remain particularly supportive of the development of multi-use trails, fitness stairs, and a bicycle skills park, amenities which are lacking in our region and which youth, families, and visitors of all ages and backgrounds would be able to actively or passively enjoy.
Fast forward to 2020, the Puente Hills Park Project has stalled. As a community organization committed to supporting a more sustainable and equitable San Gabriel Valley, ActiveSGV reiterates our support to improve access to vibrant parks and open space in high-need areas of the San Gabriel Valley by moving forward with the Puente Hills Landfill Park project.
Here’s our letter in support of the project to Los Angeles County:
As a place-based community organization dedicated to realizing a more sustainable, equitable, and livable San Gabriel Valley, ActiveSGV was pleased to support the Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan in 2016. Four years later we still strongly support moving this long-overdue project from concept to reality, including efforts to hold the Sanitation District to its formal commitment to fund development of the new park, in exchange for the permit to operate what was the largest landfill in the entire United States for several decades.
ActiveSGV strongly encouraged community participation in the development of the park master plan in 2015-2016, and were heartened to see elements such as open space, wildlife corridors, a nature center, public art, fitness stairs, bike skills features, a concert area, recreational trails, and playgrounds elevated into the final plan. As an organization, we remain particularly supportive of the development of multi-use trails, fitness stairs, and a bicycle skills park, amenities that are lacking in our region and which youth, families, and visitors of all ages and backgrounds will be able to actively or passively enjoy.
Many communities in the San Gabriel Valley lack adequate park and recreational space. The nearby communities of Avocado Heights, Bassett, El Monte, La Puente, Montebello, South El Monte, and West Whittier are all considered park-poor. This lack of recreational space and amenities contributes to local health disparities including obesity, diabetes, and poor mental health. Due to the proximity of the Puente Hills to these communities and the diverse mix of facilities proposed, the project has the potential to address some of these community conditions by creating a regional park that is accessible for all.
As a community organization committed to supporting a more sustainable and equitable San Gabriel Valley, ActiveSGV strongly supports efforts to improve access to vibrant parks and open space in high-need areas of the San Gabriel Valley.
Want to see this park project become a reality? Here are ways you can help.
Write an email, letter, or call your County Supervisor to voice your support of the project. Unsure what district you live in? Find out here.
District 1 - Supervisor Hilda Solis
District 2 - Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
District 3 - Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
District 4 - Supervisor Janice Hahn
District 5 - Supervisor Kathryn Barger
If you have any questions regarding our support for efforts to move this project forward, please contact us at 626-667-9588 or via email at info@activeSGV.org.
Fifty years ago an estimated 20 million Americans came together to celebrate the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. A half a century later we are still faced with serious environmental and health challenges, from an accelerating Climate Crisis to a global pandemic which has touched people around in the world in the span of only a few months.
In light of the current crisis and the cancellation of public Earth Month events, ActiveSGV has curated a list of actions individuals can safely take amidst COVID-19 Stay-At-Home orders. Many of these suggestions are also great ways to improve one’s health and save money in the short and long-term, a welcome benefit in uncertain times when many people are facing financial hardships.
But do individual actions matter? While state and national-level systems change is absolutely needed to address the #ClimateCrisis, there are things each and every one of us can do to help move things forward, from adjusting our purchasing habits to engaging with action-oriented groups. Social scientists have found that when one person makes a sustainability-oriented decision, other people do too. For example, studies have discovered that when people are informed that others they know have reduced how much meat they ate for environmental and health reasons, they are more likely to emulate their peers. Other researchers have found similar effects for people who have started traveling more locally to avoid flying.
Whether we recognize it or not, most people are constantly evaluating the choices others are making -- whether it be the cars they are driving, the clothes they are wearing, or water bottles they are using -- and adjusting their behaviors. When we see our friends, family, and colleagues taking action to save energy, reduce single-use plastic, or adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle, we are more likely to do so, too.
At a time when we’re all making dramatic changes to our lives to confront an immediate threat to our health and well-being, we have a unique opportunity to step back and examine what we value and what we truly need. We hope these 50 tips for 50 years will provide some inspiration to support a healthier future for all as many of us have to Stay-at-Home to protect our community now.
Actions are roughly organized based on their relative impact, with tips based on research by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the climate solutions book Drawdown, other community action groups, and people who care in the San Gabriel Valley!
Got other tips? We'd love to hear them! Please share them with us on social media by tagging us @activeSGV and using the hashtags #EarthMonthSGV and #SustainableSGV. Also please share your efforts with us for a chance to win! At the end of the month we'll randomly select folks who highlighted steps they took in April 2020 for prizes, including gift certificates to SGV restaurants that are doing their best to adopt greener business practices!
1. Switch to a renewable energy option through your utility or a certified renewable energy provider. Local examples include Southern California Edison’s Green Rate program (allows you to purchase 50% or 100% green power), Pasadena’s Green Power program, and the Clean Power Alliance, which serves an array of SGV communities including Alhambra, Arcadia, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Temple City, and unincorporated LA County.
2. Ride more, drive less! Switch your car for a bike, scooter, skateboard, or other active mode. Need to carry heavy loads (e.g. children), live in a hilly neighborhood, or not as spry as you once were? Electric-assist bicycles, scooters, and other “micro-mobility” options are also incredibly energy-efficient compared to operating a several ton vehicle. They’re also super fun to use and great for hot days! Already doing this? Consider ditching your car altogether and save big on registration, insurance, maintenance, and payments. A 2017 study that ranked 148 individual actions on climate change according to their impact found going car-free was the number-one most effective action an individual could take.
3. Calculate your carbon footprint and buy carbon offsets from a certified provider. You can edit/reduce payments any time.
4. Adopt a more minimalist lifestyle. Less is more! Free up space in your home, life, and mind by decluttering and donating unneeded items. If you’re stuck at home anyway now’s your chance to rethink your space. Need inspiration? There’s a ton online, from the Netflix series “Tidying up with Marie Kondo” to countless websites dedicated to organizing.
5. Carefully consider major purchases and life-decisions. Moving? Check the walk score of the neighborhoods you’re considering (if you have options). Buying a major appliance? Check its energy star score. Looking for furniture, a bike or car? Buy, borrow, or rent whenever possible.
6. Vote for eco-friendly candidates and get involved with their campaigns. Many groups evaluate and rate candidates on their environmental track records, including the Sunrise Movement, League of Conservation Voters, and the Sierra Club. Follow and support these candidates however you can, whether via social media, making a donation, and/or volunteering for their campaigns. 2020 is a BIG election year, as you know!
7. Reduce your energy use at home.
8. Hang clothes to dry and wash your clothes in cold water. Most dryers and water heaters are still gas powered.
9. Switch to more efficient LED light bulbs. LEDs (light emitting diodes) use up to 80 percent less energy and last as much as 25 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs.
10. Plug electronics into power strips and switch off when not in use.
11. Eat more plants, and less meat. It’s better for your health and the planet. It’s also more affordable! The food industry, especially the meat and dairy sectors, is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs); if cows were their own nation, they would be the world’s third largest emitter of GHGs, after China and the US. Why? Cows produce lots of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. We generally feed them other potential sources of food for people, including corn and soy. Last but not least, they require lots of water and land, some of which come from cleared forests, another source of carbon emissions. This doesn’t mean you have to go vegetarian or vegan. Just by reducing your meat consumption in half, you can cut your diet's carbon footprint by more than 40%.
12. Make #MeatlessMondays a habit! One way to start reducing meat consumption is to make it a habit. Set a weekly reminder on your calendar. Invite your friends and family. Make a standing online dinner date with friends, so long as we have to be physically distant. Check out their website including lots of recipe tips.
13. Insulate your home. Install new insulation and weatherstripping, especially for doors, windows, attic, etc.
14. Reduce water use (and save money!) Limit showers to 3-7 minutes (use a timer). Check for leaks. Upgrade to water-efficient shower and faucet heads, toilets, washing machines, etc.
15. Minimize food waste (and save money!) by planning out meals ahead of time, and freezing as much as possible (no plastic needed!).
16. Compost your food waste. Collect kitchen scraps and use them to feed a garden. Turn waste into fertilizer!
17. Buy locally-sourced, plant-based, unprocessed foods from local farmers via local farmers markets (most are still open) and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) such as Farm Fresh to You and Good Life Organics. Support green restaurants and health food stores.
18. Fly less (easier right now, we know!), and if you must fly, purchase carbon offsets for your flight.
19. Donate financially (or time) to a climate action organization or movement. Local groups include Climate Plan, Climate Resolve, and East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice.
20. Plant or adopt a young street tree in your neighborhood. Water it during the coming summer months to help it survive and mature.
21. Switch to reusable cloth napkins and ditch those single-use paper napkins and towels.
22. Shop secondhand first. Before shopping for new clothes or other items, try your local thrift store for awesome finds first. Inexpensive, low quality “fast fashion” and similar items often are discarded or fall apart after short periods.
23. Reduce the amount of plastic in your life. Almost all plastics are made from fossil fuels and remain mostly non-recyclable (except for numbers 1-2).
24. Host a virtual junk mail reduction party with your friends and family via an online platform such as Zoom or Google Hangouts!
25. Make your own natural cleaning products out of simple ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice to reduce the amount of chemicals that pollute our water and reduce the number of plastic bottles.
26. Choose quality, long-lasting products when buying new.
27. Say no to Palm Oil to help protect rainforest trees and endangered wildlife. The development of palm oil plantations is resulting in massive rainforest destruction around the world. It’s as easy as checking the list of ingredients when you buy processed foods such as oreos and instant ramen.
28. Use less gas by cooking with electric appliances such as an electric kettle or pressure cooker.
29. Use Ecosia as your web search engine. They donate 80% or more of their profits to organizations focused on planting trees and run their servers on 100% renewable energy. Read more about them on wikipedia.
30. Buy tissue paper made from recycled paper or bamboo.
"Beg Buttons" Be Gone!
A growing number of communities including the Cities of Pasadena and Los Angeles have automated pedestrian signal timing at signalized crossings to eliminate the need for people to press the “Beg Button”.
This simple step is especially needed amidst COVID-19 as more SGV residents rely on walking to maintain their physical and mental health, and we all try to reduce our exposure to the virus by avoiding frequently touched surfaces. However automating the signals for pedestrians isn’t enough if the change is not apparent to the public. Simple, multilingual signage should be paired with this action to communicate the change. The buttons themselves should also by physically covered to further reduce the chances people will press them.
To support this effort, ActiveSGV’s very own Andrew Fung Yip has created a sample template flyer (above) that communities can modify and use, already translated into Spanish and Chinese. Our team may even be able help those who are unable to do so on their own personalize theirs by adding city logos. Please email requests here. Source files are available for download here.
Support Your Neighbors
Thankfully Los Angeles County and state of California as a whole has made progress in fighting COVID-19 by taking decisive, early action. However with at least another month of Safer-at-Home requirements ahead of us, followed by an indeterminate amount of time of further restrictions as some segments of the economy are permitted to re-open, we will need to continue to support our most vulnerable neighbors.
The team at ActiveSGV has been heartened by community efforts to step up in a time of crisis. From the Healthy LA Coalition that has brought together almost 200 community-based organizations (including ActiveSGV) to advocate for policy protections for everyone in Los Angeles City and County (you can support/follow them too), to the efforts of local cities and groups like "We Love Long Beach" that have coordinated neighborhood level actions, it is clear that we are all stronger when we come together.
To further support individual level support networks, we have translated the excellent postcards that "We Love Long Beach" and the City of Long Beach have distributed over the past several weeks to help Long Beach residents help one another into Chinese.
If you have neighbors that might need additional help in the weeks and months ahead, please feel free to print, fill-out, and drop cards off. Source files are available for download here.
Adriana (known by many as AP) is one of the smiling faces you'll encounter at any of our outreach events. Get to know her below:
1. How did you get started working at ActiveSGV (/ in this field)?
My work at ActiveSGV actually started nine years ago, by way of Day One and my amazing co-workers there. I had the great fortune of starting my work in the field of public health through this organization back when I was just beginning to understand what impacts our communal health. I understood that public policy was the only way to make sustainable improvements in our neighborhoods. For years I had been organizing in my hometown (shout out Pomona!) and knew that it was the very people in our neighborhoods who were experts and would be the greatest forces for change-- they just needed the tools! Through Day One not only did I learn a lot about the field, but more importantly, I made lasting relationships to great visionaries in the SGV that I'm fortunate enough to continue to call colleagues and mentors.
2. What do you like most about ActiveSGV?
I love that I get to work with an amazing group of people from different backgrounds and perspectives that all share a goal to make the SGV a better place to live and enjoy. They are people that understand the magnitude of our global and regional actions around climate change, building environment and policy frameworks. Everyone on our team brings something different to the table making it a great team to be a part of.
3. Favorite and/or memorable ActiveSGV experience?
About 7 years ago, I participated in my first Bike Train and have loved them ever since! Of all the things we do, I think those rides with so many happy, excited people are my highlight every time. There's just something special about being a part of a group like that and experiencing the SGV on a bicycle, there's just nothing like it. You can really discover a place for the first time even though you may have driven past it for years. If you ever need a pick-me-up, bring a portable speaker, bike bells, a water bottle, a flag, and join 60 bike riders - there's nothing like it.
4. If a friend from out of town were to visit, which place in the SGV would you take them to and why?
I love our office site so I'd definitely show that off and then head to the Emerald Necklace for a quick ride. We'd make our way to Pomona and I'd show them our Downtown area, grab a Cafe de Olla Latte at Mi Cafecito, pop in to say hi at Cafe con Libros and grab some delicious vegan food at Mi Borreguita. What makes the SGV so special are the great people that call it home and I'd want to introduce them to those most special to me. As all of my Pomona tours end, we'd finish at my mom's front yard sitting under a huge chinese elm watching the world go by eating oranges from our tree and playing with my dog Storm.
5. What you're listening to/ reading/ watching/ digging right now:
Currently Listening to:
Bad Bunny's "YHLQYQ" album and "A Bailar Con Mis Indios" playlist by Reclama on Spotify.
"Fruit of the Drunken Tree" by Ingrid Rojas Contreras and "You Were Made for This" by Chani Nicholas.
Ozark and Mind Hunter.
Digging right now:
Learning to read astral charts, making my own salsa, and finding special ways to keep connected with loved ones no matter where we are.
Follow AP on Instagram: @ayepeeh for daily memes and motivation!
As our community and the globe begins to navigate uncertain times and as new information around COVID19 emerges, we encourage you all to continue to practice best health practices, including social distancing and keeping a clean and sanitary space at all times.
We know that events like these can further highlight disparities and inequities in amongst our SGV communities and can cause many folks to carry the burdens caused by a pandemic for many, many months. As an organization, we hope to bring as much information and as many resources to our community members as possible during this time. As the situation continues to unravel and you or someone you know needs support or assistance, please check THIS LIST of resources. We will update it regularly with more information as it becomes available.
Thank you and stay healthy!
Dear ActiveSGV community,
The health and well-being of our community is of utmost importance to our organization, therefore we’ve decided to take cautionary measures and follow the recommendations from multiple health and government organizations. Active SGV will cancel the following events:
ActiveSGV does not wish to contribute directly or indirectly to the spread of COVID-19 to vulnerable populations in LA County. We are monitoring the situation closely and will update you all accordingly. With precautions in mind, we strongly encourage you and your colleagues to practice good hygiene and social distancing. We strongly believe we must do our part to not overwhelm the healthcare system in LA County.
We appreciate your understanding and efforts in minimizing our community’s risk for exposure and the spread of COVID-19. For more information on how to prepare yourself, please check out the helpful article, linked here.
You might recognize Ed from one of our Outreach or community events, or perhaps you've seen him around the SGV passing out flyers for our next Golden Streets event (ABP: ALWAYS BE PROMOTIN'!) -- but we bet you didn't know he's always lived 5 minutes from our office! Who knew that Facebook and a love of bikes would connect us with one of our El Monte neighbors and spark an awesome volunteer-turned-employee experience? Read on to find out more about our good friend, Ed (aka Spg-Edward).
1. How did you get started working at ActiveSGV?
I graduated from CSULB with a degree in Communication Studies and had no idea what I wanted to do in my profession. I did the only thing I knew I wanted to do, which was to be around bicycles and with friends who also enjoyed biking. I then found a facebook group which conducted family friendly bike rides in the SGV. I went on the ride, met the people who organized the ride and fell in love with what they were all about and what they did as an organization. I decided to go to their office one day and see if I could volunteer with them. I was able to become a bike marshall during their bike trains, helped with their bicycle and pedestrian counts, and eventually became a part-time League Certified Instructer to teach bike classses for Bike SGV.
2. What do you like most about ActiveSGV?
I love working with Active SGV because it is not too common that your closest friends are also your co-workers. I get to work directly with our community members and see the difference our organziation makes in our neighborhoods.
3. What is your favorite Active memory?
My favorite Active SGV moment dated back to our very first Open Streets event on March 5th, 2017. For a young organization to put on an event of this magnitude, working with 8 different communities, over 18 miles of open streets, and have around 100,000 people attend our event is something I will never forget. I saw so many people on the streets from kids to adults, people on bikes and skates laughing and smiling. It was a very surreal and a very feel good moment for myself.
4. If a friend was visiting from out of town, which would you take them to visit and why?
I consider myself lucky when I tell people that it takes me around 5 minutes on bike for me to get to work. I consider myself even luckier that there is a BMX pump track located where I work. I would want my friends from out of town to check out the only public bike pump track in the SGV and after a few hours of shredding, I would take them to Sweet Veggie for dinner.
5. What are you listening to/watching/reading right now?
My current faves are:
Music Genre: Tropical Sax House
Song: Willow Smith- Wait a Minute
TV Show: Casa de Papel
Movie: Time Trap
Los Angeles County Public Works is in the midst of final design for the Puente Creek Greenway, a Class I Multi-Use Path along the Puente Creek Channel through unincorporated Valinda and the City of La Puente.
The project is part of the County’s 2010 adopted Bicycle Master Plan, and is a long time in the works. In addition to creating a protected, off-street path for people to use on foot, bike and other rolling modes, the project would include crossing improvements, signage, new trees, a rest stop, and new fencing. Pending final approval, the project is slated to go into construction in 2021. You can learn more about the project here.
Get Active! Want to see this greenway become a reality in the San Gabriel Valley? There are a few ways you can weigh in and support the Puente Creek Greenway!
Every month #ActiveSGV staff shares at least one thing you can do to support a more sustainable, healthy, and equitable San Gabriel Valley. Our February 2020 action opportunities revolve around actions to support Clean Air.
SGV Cities to Select SCAQMD Board Member February 6th
This may be the first time you’ve ever heard of it, but the “South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)” oversees the quality of the air you breathe each and every day. The board has a lot of influence over what, if anything, is done to address air pollution in southern California, which remains among the most polluted air basins in the United States (and world!).
Unfortunately after decades of consistent improvements our air quality has been on the decline the last several years. In 2018 we all suffered from the longest streak of unhealthy air in decades -- 87 consecutive days of smoggy air. The local effects of climate change -- hotter weather, less rainfall -- are expected to make things even worse unless we redouble efforts to reduce local sources of air pollution.
The SCAQMD board is composed of 12 members, one of whom represents the San Gabriel Valley - Michael Cacciotti. A long-time champion of zero-emission technology, public transit, and active transportation, Mr. Cacciotti is a clean air advocate who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He remains one of the only AQMD representatives (or public officials at any level in the SGV) to actually use public transit on a regular basis, commuting to work and events across the SGV via Metro and Foothill Transit. He also regularly walks and/or uses a bike to get to transit.
Other members of the board are not as supportive, a troubling reality at a time when prioritizing cleaner forms of mobility (the #1 source of emissions in our region and state) are critical to reaching our climate and air quality. Over the past decade the AQMD board has also been very divided insofar as how to address air pollution, with a single vote often deciding whether to promote unfunded voluntary efforts to reduce air pollution, or require the biggest polluters to clean up their act. Industry groups supported by major polluters (including oil refineries and petroleum manufacturers) are largely responsible for this state of affairs. These groups have worked quietly behind the scenes to remove AQMD board members that support science-based regulatory actions to clean our air.
Every four years 34 Mayors in the SGV get to select our representative to the board. The selection process for 2020 has been scheduled for Thursday, February 6th at El Monte City Hall. You can speak up for clean air by either emailing your City’s Mayor and encouraging them to support clean air and board incumbent Michael Cacciotti, or attending the meeting in person and doing so via public comment.
Attend the Meeting
Better Buses: Metro to Host NextGen Meetings in the SGV
Making buses more comfortable, convenient, and frequent is critical to making public transit more appealing and accessible in Los Angeles County. In 2018, Metro began taking a step in that direction by reimagining its bus system to better meet the needs of current and future riders through the NextGen Bus Study. After nearly 300 meetings, events, presentations, and workshops, the Draft Plan has been released for review. If implemented, the NextGen Plan would be the most comprehensive overhaul of Metro bus service in decades.
Over the course of 2020 the public with have an opportunity to help shape and refine the final plan. Your first opportunity to do so is in February-March, when Metro will host a series of public input meetings across the County. Each meeting will cover the same material, so attend whichever is most convenient for you. Here's the list of SGV-area meetings:
Gold Line Eastside Extension
As construction is underway to extend the Gold Line to Pomona, planning continues for an east-side extension from the southern terminus at Atlantic Blvd in Monterey Park. Two route options are still under consideration:
Which do you prefer? Metro is conducting a round of community meetings to share the latest information on the project. Learn more and share your feedback at one of these meetings.
Want to learn more? Check out ActiveSGV's new podcast, ActiveLab