Over the past couple of days, El Monte and Baldwin Park joined the short list of participating cities in the San Gabriel Valley Regional Bicycle Master Plan initiative.
El Monte's city leadership convened for the regular council meeting on Tuesday, June 18th to vote on a resolution that would ultimately endorse the SGV Bike Plan initiative. The final decision came after a 4-0 unanimous vote with one council member noted as absent.
Helpful to the decision making process, the need for sustainable development was clearly expressed during a presentation by Claire Robinson, the President of Amigos De Los Rios. The presentation served as an update on all projects in the surrounding region along the Emerald Necklace such as Lashbrook Park, Gibson Mariposa Butterfly Park, Peck Water Conservation Park, and Rio Vista Park to name a few. Since the inception of the organization nearly 10 years ago in El Monte, Amigos De Los Rios has fine tuned a vision for natural environment restoration into a concrete "green infrastructure" plan of action to address the many health and environmental disparities that currently ail the San Gabriel Valley. Please visit the Amigos De Los Rios website for more information.
We are happy to note that the council along with city staff are entirely supportive of innovative strategies including a comprehensive bicycle network, which aimes to improve the quality of life of residents throughout the region.
The same resolution was considered by Baldwin Park the following day on Wednesday, June 19th. After a brief presentation and recommendation by Transportation Director Daniel Wall, the council voted unanimously in favor of the project and proceeded to appointing Council Member Marlen Garcia to the Blue Ribbon Bicycle Committee.
Many San Gabriel Valley city councils have recognized that car-centric development has compromised public health and safety resulting in an echoing consensus for improving environmental conditions. Needless to say, the momentum for multi-modal and active transportation is building and the addition of two more cities to the SGV Regional Bike Master Plan initiative is real evidence.
The City of San Gabriel is set to consider the resolution, which is scheduled for Tuesday, July 2, 2013.
After a 5-0 unanimous vote, the City of South El Monte becomes the second city to formally approve a resolution endorsing the San Gabriel Valley Regional Bicycle Master Plan.
The uncontested decision came after an astute observation by Mayor Aguinaga, that his night time bike rides are a bit dangerous due to minimal lighting and tough road conditions. However, the stage was truly set when South Pasadena Council member and Air Quality Management District Board member Michael Cacciotti (also a bicycle advocate) made a brief stop during public comment to present new, green technology.
Mr. Cacciotti was sighted in the hallway as he easily hauled an electric lawnmower, leaf blower and hedge trimmer onto the council chamber floor. The "green" machines captured everyones attention as he invited the Mayor to demonstrate the battery operated, non-polluting, all-electric lawnmower indoor. The audience was astonished by the magic of no fumes, oil, or gas. The demonstration sparked a conversation among the council that reiterated their commitment to pursue green technologies and more sustainable development in South El Monte.
To no avail, the council effortlessly voted to approve the SGV Regional Bike Master Plan Resolution and assigned Mayor Aguinaga and Council member Joseph Gonzales to serve on the Blue Ribbon Committee, which will oversee the development of the bike plan.
June 5, 2013 - Late Wednesday evening the Monterey Park City Council unanimously adopted a resolution officially supporting the City's participation in the San Gabriel Valley Regional Bicycle Master plan.
In doing so, Mayor Teresa Real-Sebastian and Council Members Wong, Ing and Wong underlined their desire to make the community more bicycle-friendly. Mayor Real-Sebastian shared her desire to be able to comfortably bike around town and her poor experience to date trying to navigate City streets on two wheels. Almost sideswiped while riding on Garfield Ave during a weekend family outing to a local eatery, the Mayor stated she now only feels comfortable taking her bike out for special events like the City's Earth Day community ride or for special trips outside the City.
In supporting the project, Council Member Ing highlighted the need to educate motorists about bicycle infrastructure, citing his experience driving alongside the Spring St. buffered green lane in downtown Los Angeles. Council Member Wong noted how he used to ride a bike to school as a youth, and how a more bicycle-friendly Monterey Park would benefit public health and the environment.
The Council's support was prefaced by comments from BikeSGV co-founder and Board President Vincent Chang, who upon the urging of the Mayor, took a respite from his duties as Monterey Park City Clerk to provide comment as a resident of the City. Visibly moved by the gravity of a moment he had worked long to realize, Vincent stressed that the project was an opportunity for the City of Monterey Park to become a leader in the region on the issue.
A copy of the staff report and agenda can be downloaded here or via the City website.
Save the Dates - Upcoming Council Meetings
SGV Cities to Formally Decide on Participation in Regional Plan in Coming Weeks
The Monterey Park Environmental and Traffic Commissions hosted the first open house Transportation Summit on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at the George Elder Park Community Center. Regional agencies were invited to present transportation projects that are currently affecting Monterey Park. Approximately 30 community members including the Mayor Sebastian, Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Wong, Councilmember Hans Liang and City Clerk Vincent Chang engaged in question and answer sessions that aroused interesting dialog about each particular project. The projects included:
SGV Bike Master Plan presented by Day One/BikeSGV
Our very own Javier Hernandez kicked off the presentations with the first public introduction to the San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Master Plan. Javier elaborated on the partnership with Day One and their efforts to align a total of 6 cities to apply for and receive a grant award from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Healthy Eating Active Living initiative. Beyond the conceptualization of the project, Javier also explained the goals, timeline, target areas, and informed attendees of potential policies, programs, and infrastructures recommendations that can be expected throughout the development of the Bicycle Master Plan.
Interstate 10 (I-10) Express Lanes presented by Metro
The bike plan project was immediately followed by a thorough breakdown of the I-10 Express Lane project between the 110 freeway and the 605 freeway. The recently implemented Express Lanes project is currently in a 1-yr introductory phase to allow a grace/adjustment period for the general public. The Metro representative introduced the FasTrak transponder, which is an electronic mechanism used to charge Express Lanes usage fees. Unbeknown to the majority of attendees, the transponder is not specific to any one vehicle or license plate. On the contrary, one transponder can be shared within a family, group of friends or office and is designed to promote carpooling. Please visit www.metroexpresslanes.net for detailed information.
Gold Line, Phase 2, Eastside Extension presented by Metro
Metro's Director of Countywide Planning and Development, Laura Cornejo provided a complete update on Phase 2 of the Eastside Gold Line Extension project that will continue beyond the current terminus at Atlantic Blvd. and Cesar Chavez Ave. in East Los Angeles. The project is considering two alternatives; A) a 4 station extension along the 60 Freeway into South El Monte, Whittier Narrows; or B) a 6 station extension through Montebello, Pico Rivera and into Whittier. An Environmental Impact Report is currently be conducted to adequately evaluate each option. More information can be found at www.metro.net.
State Route 710 (SR-710) Freeway Gap Closure presented by Metro
Perhaps the most contentious item on the Summit's agenda was the SR-710 Freeway Gap Closure project. According to Metro's Michelle E. Smith, the project is currently evaluating a series of transportation options to improve mobility and relieve congestion in the Alhambra, East LA, Monterey Park, South Pasadena and Pasadena area. The study considers five-multimodal alternatives:
The Spirit Bus System
Although there was no official presentation on the developments of the Monterey Park Spirit Bus System there was chatter in the room that new routes and amenities are being considered. Among the amenities, are front-load bicycle racks. The Spirit Bus system has not changed for over a decade and improvements are necessary to maintain an effective and efficient transit service, and meet the needs of the community.
BikeSGV and Day One is grateful to be invited to such a significant, regional transportation summit. The turnout was great and allowed for direct and open conversation about very important projects that are ultimately going to affect the future of transportation in the San Gabriel Valley. Needless to say, we look forward to advancing this conversation of multi-modal transportation, especially to incorporate a robust region-wide Bicycle Master Plan.