Pomona City’s First Bike and Pedestrian Plan Approved

Pomona cyclists celebrate the passage of the city's first Active Transportation Plan. photo: Twitter @PVBike
Pomona cyclists celebrate the passage of the city’s first Active Transportation Plan. photo: Twitter @PVBike

The Pomona City Council was pretty busy last Monday night, March 3rd 2013. According to the Daily Bulletin, the council passed a General Plan amendment, a Corridors Specific Plan, an Active Transportation Plan (ATP), and a Green Plan. Pomona cyclists celebrated the passage of the Active Transportation Plan, a plan to make the city of Pomona a safe and convenient place to walk and bike.

Streetsblog wasn’t there on Monday night, so this interview with Eve Sanford will tell some of the story. Sanford is a cyclist, a self-professed “infrastructure enthusiast” and is studying planning at Cal Poly Pomona. She interns at the city of Los Angeles Transportation Department, where her duties include writing for the LADOT Bike Blog.

What’s the Pomona Active Transportation Plan? Bikes? Peds? Facilities? Programs? other stuff?

The Pomona Active Transportation Plan evaluates existing conditions and proposes key bicycle and pedestrian improvements for Pomona. The plan also overviews the types of programs that can support active travel in the city (community resources, bicycle parking) and identifies potential funding sources.

Is there a project in the plan that you’re especially excited about?

The most ambitious project in the plan, and the project that I would most like to see happen, is the bike path along the San Jose Creek. The creek is channelized and there is a right of way that runs parallel to it. The planned bike path there would connect neighboring communities of La Verne and Claremont, through North Pomona and south to connect to the Cal Poly Pomona campus. It would also connect to the future Metro Gold Line station. Unfortunately, it’s expensive to get the path around the 71 freeway that bisects Pomona.

It’s also exciting just because the city, by adopting this plan, took the first big step towards acknowledging cyclists and the need to support Active Transportation.

Tell Streetsblog readers about what it was like at Monday’s Pomona City Council meeting. Who showed up? How did it go?

At least 30 people showed up to voice support for the bike plan. There were 3-4 speakers who voiced opposition. Opposition expressed concerns that “planting trees in the middle of the road won’t help the city.” Multiple people seemed fixated on this one point. Opponents also stated their concerns about whether bicyclists are liable in accidents or carry insurance, and about city funds being spent on bikeways that could be put to use on other projects like widening the roads.

However, support for the bike plan largely overwhelmed opposition. Many supporters were Cal Poly students who expressed personal stories about the unsafe conditions they experience bicycling to school despite taking safety precautions (light, reflective gear, helmets.) A group of students met on campus to ride to the meeting and speak on the subject. Supporters commented on the unsafe conditions and the dispraportionaltely high amount of people who have died bicycling in Pomona (3 deaths in 2013, 1 death in 2014).

Supporters were present from the Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition, Regenerative Housing Cooperative of Pomona, University Cycling Coalition at Cal Poly Pomona, and a number of other residents. The Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition, especially Danielle Alcedo and I, has been present throughout the entire bicycle plan outreach process, organizing people to provide input on the plan at community meetings and gathering supporters to speak on behalf of the plan since the process of drafting the plan began in April of 2012.

The Active Transportation Plan was passed unanimously by the mayor and all members of City Council. Mayor Elliot Rothman acknowledged the amount of support from community members in favor of the bike plan. I ended my personal public comment by expressing that the plan should be adopted immediately so that they may apply for funding in the upcoming ATP cycle. At the end of the comment, Mayor called me back to stage and asked me to go speak with the planning director about potential funding sources.

Who do you give the credit for this plan getting going?

Matt Pilarz, the transportation engineer for the City of Pomona and Daryl Grisgby, former public works director of Pomona. Grigsby, who is currently Public Works director in San Luis Obispo, deserves a lot of credit for pushing for the plan to be made, engaging the public, and helping the plan progress.

What’s next? What do you think will look different in Pomona sooner? later?

This is the city’s first-ever bicycle or active transit plan so it’s great that Pomona is acknowledging bicyclists and the need to provide infrastructure for bicyclists in their city. That’s a big step forward.

The city passed it along with a very forward-thinking General Plan and Specific Corridor Plan, so, hopefully, this means that staff are thinking big-picture- how land-use, development, and transportation will evolve in the community and what steps can be taken to make sure that the progress works together.

I would like to see the Mayor and members of the City Council direct planning staff to pursue funding these projects. Unfortunately, despite the adoption of the ATP, Pomona does not have the funds to dedicate to some of these bicycle projects yet.  The city needs to aggressively pursue funding for the projects listed in the ATP (especially some of the more ambitious projects including the San Jose Creek bikeway.)

Pomona has the potential to be extremely competitive in the grant application process because it demonstrates such need for infrastructure, has a history of bike-ped collisions due to existing unsafe conditions and has very little existing infrastructure. I would like to see a local tax introduced to specifically improve transit projects including ATP in Pomona and creative funding solutions, for example AB 2766 funds. The City needs to focus on building routes to destination centers including Cal Poly Pomona and the downtown area.

More long-range, I would also like to see the city develop bicycle and pedestrian first-mile/last-mile connections to its future Metro Gold Line Station.

Streetsblog congratulates people who bike, walk, do business and breathe in the city of Pomona.

  • Elaine Griffin

    GENTRIFICATION is taking place in Pomona. A lot of the First Families of Pomona will be displaced.

    Kudos to the cyclists. Thank you for showing those in attendance, who had never been to a city council meeting, how it’s done!

    However, they (the bicyclists) weren’t the only ones present at that meeting on Monday night, March 3rd. There were 23 families, from a dilapidated trailer park owned by the SLUM-LORD CITY OF POMONA, also in attendance; patiently waiting their turn to speak public and in front of the entire community.

    The Pomona City Council made those people and their children wait until after 1:00am on Tuesday, March 4th, to even address the city council. This was only after Arturo Jimenez, president of the Democratic Club in Pomona, who is representing them, as an advocate, got up unannounced and unrecognized and demanded that they be heard.

    Mayor Moochie Rothman excused himself before the discussion started, stating that it was a conflict of interest for him to stay. Anyone wondering why?!!

    Now, realize that most of the community had gone home by 1:00am the next day, March 4th. The Pomona City Council argued for another 30 to 45 minutes as to whether or not to even allow these people, residents of Pomona, to speak!

    Promises were made to allow them to be first on the agenda at the next city council meeting on March 17th. That remains to be seen!!

  • calwatch

    I was there for the entire meeting as well and the reason the trailer park item was bumped to the end was that this was a second reading of a consent calendar item to approve the closure of the trailer park and replacement with transitional and affordable permanent housing. By City Council rule, consent calendar items go to the end of the agenda if they are not acted upon within five minutes.

    Also in public comment at the previous meeting I had urged the City Council to clear the agenda that day, and they largely did with the exception of the trailer park item. What you misrepresented is that Jimenez told the city council that he wanted all of the residents present to speak, not just the ones who made it to 1 AM in the morning. Also Jimenez had a stage-worthy performance of “just finding out” that the Pomona Housing Authority owns the project at the last meeting.

    Anyone who follows city politics knows that I am no fan of Quimby. But the fact is that your comments about “gentrification” ring hollow when this has been going on literally for the last 18 years. http://t.co/3PbDP7rHUz Were some of the people that moved in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, who are being priced out, “gentrified”? There also was little concern when home prices zoomed up to unsustainable numbers in the 2006-2008 period. Lincoln Park homes like my mom’s reached over $450,000. Even today, six years after the bubble, they are at best two thirds that.

    I’d be happy to discuss this with you further. You can catch me at many Pomona city council meetings tweeting away, as I’ve done for the last decade or so.

  • Elaine Griffin

    I happen to be well aware of the city council procedures thank you!! I am also aware of Mr. Jimenez’ theatrics and they he did this for the benefit of those present, who may not have known. I misrepresent nothing sir. I too have been around for quite a long time in Pomona. I grew up here and am well aware of the nonsense and corruption that has been going on in city politics for decades and decades. So don’t attempt to minimize what I’ve said here……GENTRIFICATION is taking place in Pomona, and yes it has been going on for quite some time now. Many of the residents have been asleep at the wheel. TIME TO WAKE UP!! (excuse the run-on, I’m on my phone)

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