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!
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 a spot 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" for its 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.
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