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Posts from the "Pasadena" Category

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When the Justice System Failed Alan Deane, It Failed Us All


The music in this time-lapse video by William Campbell captures the solemn mood of the bike community following Deane’s death. This ride was completed on September 27, 2011. Five days after Deane’s death.

On September 22, 2011 Alan Deane was riding his bicycle on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, perhaps on his way to the Crawford Family Forum for a public event. While crossing Terrace Drive, Siddhartha Misra struck Deane with his car. Deane was rushed to the hospital where he died form injuries sustained in the crash. Deane had turned 61 that day.

KPCC wrote a heartfelt farewell to Deane, a regular attendee of events at their Crawford Family Forum, after his passing.

On Tuesday, after pleading guilty to reckless driving, Mirsa received his sentence. Judge Steven Monette sentenced Mirsa to 10 days of community labor, 400 hours of community service and $4000 in restitution and other fines. At Biking In L.A., Ted Rogers referred to the judgement as a “gentle caress on wrist.”

Cyclists and safe street advocates were outraged, not just at Mirsa who appeared by all accounts genuinely contrite; but by a system that treats driving as a right and not a privilege  The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s Colin Bogart, who shared the Streetsblog 2011 advocate of the year award, was quoted in the Pasadena Star News, KPCC and other outlets giving a variation of a statement that said that the punnishment for killing a person through negligence should at least include loss of driver’s license.

There have been a lot of eulogies for Deane, a man who chose to eschew most personal possessions, played music, rode his bike and participated in civic life. But it’s not just his life and personality that make this a tragedy, but that the justice system and society as a whole too often look the other way when it comes to the carnage that occurs on our streets.

As Streetsblog worked on this euology, our inbox has been active. One reader writes asking how many tickets and reckless driving infractions is it going to take before Justin Bieber has his toys taken away. Another reader sends a “Roadshow” column that appeared in the Daily News featuring both a traffic columnist and a letter from an insurance investigator who blame cyclists, especially children, for crashes when a car driver can’t be bothered to look both ways before running them down while exiting their driveway.

On Tuesday, Mirsa apologized to Deane’s friends and families. But after the sentence was handed down, apologies were also needed from Monette and society itself.

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Divide and Conquer on the 710 Big Dig

A packed house at a June public meeting on I-710 alternatives in Pasadena. Photo:Dan McGuire/Metro

Last week, Metro finished its most recent public meetings outlining twelve proposals to fill the so-called 4.5 mile “gap” on the I-710 between Alhambra and Pasadena at the I-210. The public response to the twelve alternatives presented was near-uniformly negative. Anger was particularly high at new proposals to connect the I-710 to the I-210 including, a tunnel connecting the 10 Freeway to the 134 Freeway, a surface route that would widen Avenue 64 and a highway route along Huntington Drive, Fair Oaks Avenue and Pasadena Avenue.

The newer proposals were viewed by many communities, including Alhambra, East Los Angeles, La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena as so ludicrous that it pushed the proposal to build a tunnel underneath several San Gabriel Valley Communities off the front pages.

Maybe that was the point. No media coverage of the Big Dig option. No media coverage of the flood of trucks that would dominate San Gabriel Valley Streets. Little mention of that any expansion of the I-710 or surrounding freeways is a giant subsidy to the port and shipping industries.

On August 29, a Metro Technical Advisory Committee will meet to pair down the list of twelve alternatives to just a “handful.” The smaller list could be presented to the full Metro Board of Directors next month or the month after. Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-Pasadena) firmly believes that the fix is already in for a certain route, despite protests from Metro that it’s totally not. He tells the Daily News, “I think the folks in downtown L.A. are going to try to put on a show to justify a predetermined conclusion…Fundamentally, this is a flawed process.”

If the agency wishes people to believe that the short list of projects that will be studied in a full environmental impact report hasn’t been pre-determined, it would do well to not present the alternatives next month. Read more…

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After Oregon Woman Is Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver in Pasadena, a Ghost Bike Is Planted

There are few things more moving and powerful than a ghost bike planting.  Last night, the Eastside Bike Club, cooks from the Bike Oven and other cyclists made the somber ride to the spot where Jocelyn Young was struck by a hit and run driver in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Photo: Carlos Morales/Eastside Bike Club

Young’s tragic story was picked up by Bike Portland, because she graduated from University of Oregon and lived in Portland.  Bike Portland adds the life details to the story missed by the local press and shows how much the world has lost from Young’s passing.

Andrew Plambeck attended UO with Young and reacted to her death today. “We had a lot of close mutual friends. She was such an always-on wonderful presence. Always warm and cheerful. So, so sad. Another wonderful, unique person killed senselessly in the road.”

Meanwhile, Nicholas Avila, who was booked on suspicion of hit-and-run and driving under the influence and was released from the Pasadena Police Jail yesterday pending charges.  Unless charges are filed, the police cannot hold a suspect and the Pasadena Star-News reports that the police are making sure their case is airtight before presenting their case to the District Attorney’s office.  There’s no stated reason why Avilia isn’t charged with vehicular manslaughter.  The police are currently interviewing witnesses and collecting video information.

Young was riding with her boyfriend when she “fell off her bike” for unknown reasons.  Avila then allegedly ran over Young, causing injuries that would kill her in the hospital.  While Young lay dieing in the street, Avila fled to his house in Alhambra, where he was arrested after another driver followed him to his residence.

Last night, Young’s memory was memorialized with a ghost bike.  While the bikes are a powerful reminder that we still have a long way to go to make our roads safe for all road users, I think we can all agree it’s a type of traffic calming that we could do with less of.

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Pasadena May Be More Bike Friendly Than L.A., But It Needs More Parking!

(This is the last part of our Bike Week 2011 Series on people’s biking experiences in different corners of L.A. County.  Our last entrant is from our “Pasadena Correspondent” Brigham Yen, who is a little different than our other writers this week in that he doesn’t represent a formal biking organization but still brings a wealth of information to his writings. – DN)

I rode my bike over to US Bank, located at Colorado and Oak Knoll, the other day and found myself scrambling to find a place to lock my bike as there were no bike racks on the block. I wasn’t alone. There were numerous other bikes haphazardly locked against anything resembling something solid, such as tree trunks and lamp posts. I assume most of these bikes belonged to people who were patronizing Sabor² Cafe adjacent to US Bank.

Because there are few places to lock one's bike on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena, this person locked his/her bike to a tree. Photo: Brigham Yen

I eventually found a bike rack inconveniently around the corner in the back on Oak Knoll (by the entrance to a parking garage) and had to walk back to the bank, which made me wonder why there weren’t bike racks in front of the building to begin with (where the businesses were located). Read more…

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Streetfilms Rocks Pasadena. Click Through for a Bike Week Film Fest

For the second time this year Streetsblog rolled in to Pasadena to take to a stage and talk Livable Streets.  We didn’t quite pack the house as we did back in January, but we did have a fun night showing Streetfilms to roughly 50 people with CICLE, New Belgium Brewing, and REI as part of Bike Week Pasadena.  Thanks to a raffle, we even made a couple of bucks off the fun.

Unfortunately, due to some technical difficulties we ended up bouncing between a couple of DVD’s to sho          w a series of the best bike Streetfilms.  Since we jumped off script, I’m embedding all of the films we were scheduled to show with a brief comment after the jump. Read more…

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Join Streetsblog for Our Bike Week Events – May 14 and 16th

It seems as though everyone is releasing their calendars for Bike Week, it’s time for Streetsblog to release ours.  In addition to our regular coverage throughout Bike Week, Streetsblog will actively taking part in two events.

The first is actually a pre-Bike Week ride for the Westside.  Over the years we noticed that there were no Bike Week events for West Los Angeles outside of a handful of stations on Bike to Work Day.  Thus, Streetsblog will be hosting the first annual Westside Ride to the Pier on Saturday, May 14.  We’ll start at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church at 11555 National Boulevard and ride down Barrington to Venice Boulevard.  From there, we’ll head east to Abbot Kinney and turn left down to Washington Boulevard.  From there it’s a straight shot to the ocean.

We’ll meet at 10:30 at St. Andrews.  Anyone who is interested in returning back to the Westside instead of hanging out at the beach, there will be a return ride that leaves about a half hour after we arrive at the Pier.  At the start of the ride, we’ll have some goodies from Clif Bar, Luna Bar and Trader Joe’s.  There’s no charge for the ride, but I certainly won’t stop someone from donating for Streetsblog.

Our second event is a night of Streetfilms hosted by C.I.C.L.E., REI and the Pasadena Playhouse District as part of Bike Week Pasadena on Monday, May 16 at 6:30 P.M. The DVD’s for the event arrived last week, and I watched through the series this weekend.  Join us at the Boston Court Performing Arts Center, 70 North Mentor Avenue in Pasadena at 6:30.  You bring the streets, I’ll bring the films.

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How Can We Increase Pedestrian Activity on South Lake Avenue in Pasadena?

Most of South Lake Avenue functions like a strip mall, with parking in the back and stores with "convenient" back door entrances that siphon pedestrian activity away from the actual South Lake Avenue itself. There's many more pictures of South Lake after the jump.

For awhile now, I’ve contemplated the perplexing question of “What can improve South Lake Avenue (an underperforming shopping district)?” and I’ve come up with my own conclusions as to why the moribund district performs so poorly.

Let me also start off by saying “Thank you” to those who took the time yesterday to email me their thoughts expressing their very valid concerns over the unfortunate news that Borders will be closing their location on South Lake Avenue due to their recent bankruptcy and reorganization (a Borders store associate on South Lake Avenue told me “one to two months”).

I was just as bummed about the news, and as a result of those emails I received, I felt compelled to go out and “exam” South Lake Avenue today by doing my own little research. I asked myself the obvious question as I walked up and down the street: “Why are there so few people walking on South Lake Avenue?”

The answer in my opinion is quite “simple” and boils down to two major drawbacks that hamper South Lake Avenue: 1) The tenant/business mix is uninteresting in its current configuration, and 2) the back entrances to the businesses from the Shoppers Lane parking lot is insidiously harmful to South Lake Avenue in the front. Read more…

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Fair Oaks Corridor Improvement Project Begins in South Pasadena

To see a full-size version of this image, ##http://la.streetsblog.org/?attachment_id=60007##click here.##

To see a full-size version of this image, click here.

I have been saying for years that Pasadena needs to give Fair Oaks Ave an extreme pedestrian-cyclist make-over along the street from at least the South Pasadena border (by the Raymond Restaurant) to Old Pasadena. The need for this make-over seems obvious when you consider: 1) Fair Oaks Ave looks like a mini-highway as you drive or, god forbid, walk down it, and 2) that the Huntington Hospital (a huge employer) adds a substantial presence to the built environment in Downtown Pasadena, but is tenuously connected at best to the area for pedestrians and cyclists, diluting if not completely negating its potential positive effects on the urban environment. In other words, the synergy is lost.

That’s why I am particularly excited to learn that South Pasadena (actually a separate municipality but closely tied to Pasadena both historically and culturally) will hopefully jump start the process for Pasadena (by giving us an inspirational nudge) as construction begins this week on a major revamp project along Fair Oaks Ave, called the “Fair Oaks Corridor Improvement Project,” that goes right through South Pasadena’s downtown district. The improvement plans entail the following: Read more…

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A Smashing Success: Pasadena’s Streets and Sidewalks in the Hands of the People

Visit the ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/29300710@N08/sets/72157625858266436/with/5369497068/##Streetsblog Flickr Page## for more images from last night.

Visit the Streetsblog Flickr Page for more images from last night.

Last night’s event, “Planning the Future of Our Streets” was a smashing success.  Over 100 people packed the Crenshaw Family Forum for a symposium and interactive planning session.  Our thanks go to all the presenters, Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, James Rojas, Mayor Bill Bogaard, Mark Gangi, Linda Immediato, Felicia Williams, and Erlinda Romo, the staff of KPCC that handled the logistics and CICLE, Pasadena Magazine, KPCC and the American Institute of Architects for bringing out such a great crowd.

James Rojas took much better notes than me, and his review of last night can be found directly below this sentence.

Pasadena’s Streets and Sidewalks in the Hands of the People.

Last night dozens of participants created new ways to use and design Pasadena’s streets and sidewalks at KPCC’s Crawford Family Forum Radio Station. Read more…

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Pedestrian Friendly Ralphs Needed for Pasadena

Image too small?  ##http://la.streetsblog.org/?attachment_id=59786##Click here.##

Image too small? Click here.

Back in Jan 2010, I wrote about my disdain for the current suburban-styled Ralphs supermarket that sits in the middle of Pasadena’s urban downtown financial district along Lake Ave. This particular Ralphs that many of us Pasadenans shop at is surrounded by anti-pedestrian characteristics that actually harm the built environment as it pertains to pedestrian activity. The potential for creating a better community in this section of Pasadena sits tragically unfulfilled. That’s why I’m still not happy with it.

Along Lake Ave, the market is fronted by a large surface parking lot, which we should all know by now is not the best way to induce pedestrian activity. In fact, surface parking lots are so anti-pedestrian, most drivers would rather circle around and around, wasting time and gas, just to be a few parking spots closer to the store entrance (we have all been guilty of this). Not only that, but the fact that the Lake Ave Gold Line station is just two short blocks north of this Ralphs means that this particular section of Pasadena is “supposed to be” pedestrian oriented, right? But it’s not.

Read more…