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626 Golden Streets POSTPONED Due to San Gabriel Fires

PicturePerhaps the conflation of area code and date were just too good to be true. The 626 Golden Streets open streets event has been postponed due to the air quality issues caused by wildfires in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Team SBLA is disappointed that we will not get to ride and skate the route this Sunday. We will keep a tear-laden eye out for the reschedule date and make sure to get the word out to our readers. In the meantime, check the 626 Golden Streets website for updates.

As of press time, SBLA was unable to confirm any rumors that the fires had actually burned up the tree where the elusive Golden Streets Sasquatch is known to reside. Another wild hunch we were not able to confirm was whether the now-saddened striding Sisyphean Sasquatch may be genetically related to the zippy zany Zozo.

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Ten Things to Check Out at 626 Golden Streets – UPDATE 626 HAS BEEN POSTPONED

UPDATE VIA BIKE SGV, JUNE 23 : BREAKING NEWS: ‪#‎626GoldenStreets‬ POSTPONED for a future date given unfavorable conditions due to San Gabriel Valley Complex Fire 🔥😭😭 Please be advised: Openstreets and all activities planned for #626GoldenStreets will no longer be held this Sunday.

Thank You to all those who ALMOST made this truly special event possible. We thank sponsors, volunteers, vendors, performers and city staff for your commitment and continued support. #626GoldenStreets will be back, stay tuned!

626 Golden Streets is this Sunday. Click here for detailed route map.

626 Golden Streets is this Sunday. Click here for detailed route map.

In case you haven’t heard, this Sunday the CicLAvia-style 626 Golden Streets event will finally arrive to the San Gabriel Valley. The 626 open streets route, from South Pasadena to downtown Azusa, will close 18+ miles of roadway to walk, bike, dance, skate, and explore. The event features seven cities and eight planned activity hubs offering an array of activities, plus food trucks, water, restrooms, maps, t-shirts, and lots of smiling faces. Activities include live music, arts and crafts, Rams players and cheerleaders, lawn sports, bicycle repair, a Cyclo Cross competition, lion dances, chalk art, selfie spots, Zumba, and much, much more.

Check out 626’s website here to learn more detail about the event route, activities and services at each hub, points of interest, feeder rides, and answers to any questions you may have.

For added high-tech convenience there is even a 626 event app you can find here.

We at Streetsblog were so excited about this massive open-streets event we compiled a list of our own highlighting some restaurants, shops, and points of interest alongside the route. There will be lots and lots of official activities at the hubs, but we found some off the beaten path neighborhood attractions that can give participants some taste of the surrounding San Gabriel Valley neighborhoods.

Streetsblog created a Google map for easy visual reference. If you have any other points of interest feel free to include them in the comments below!

Videoteque

Videoteque

Vidéothèque

Vidéothèque is a local video rental store located in South Pasadena’s downtown, nearby the Gold Line station hub. The store, according to its website here, offers some 25,000 international, independent, classic, and cult titles to satisfy any film enthusiast – young and old, new and experienced. DVDS line the store and are organized by genre, director and country. It is like a candy store for movies, and many of the DVDs offered can’t be found online. Whatever kind of movie experience you’re looking for, Vidéothèque will almost certainly have it.

Vidéothèque is located right near the route’s western terminus at 1020 Mission Street, South Pasadena, CA 91030.

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Bhanu’s and Why Thirsty

Bhanu’s Indian Grocery & Cuisine and Why Thirsty

The San Gabriel Valley is known for a great variety of Asian food restaurants and markets. Though these are mostly somewhat south of the route, there are many close at hand. Why patronize food trucks when there are so many good bricks-and-mortar restaurants to choose from?

Bhanu’s is both a sit-down restaurant and a store stocked with Indian groceries and ingredients. I’d recommend the chicken tikki masala, which was close to perfect, but the whole menu looked incredibly appetizing and featured some dishes with some serious spice.

If you’re feeling in need of a cold drink or shaved ice while traveling the route, check out Why Thirsty for all kinds of boba tea and shaved ice flavors.

Bhanu’s and Why Thirsty are located at the south end of the Trader Joes strip mall at Rosemead Boulevard and Huntington Drive – a block west of the Michillinda Park L.A. County Hub. The address is 7248 N Rosemead Blvd San Gabriel, CA 91775.  Read more…

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#DamienTalksSGV 11 – Metro, Cacciotti and 626 Golden Streets

UPDATE VIA BIKE SGV, JUNE 23 : BREAKING NEWS: ‪#‎626GoldenStreets‬ POSTPONED for a future date given unfavorable conditions due to San Gabriel Valley Complex Fire 🔥😭😭 Please be advised: Openstreets and all activities planned for #626GoldenStreets will no longer be held this Sunday.

Thank You to all those who ALMOST made this truly special event possible. We thank sponsors, volunteers, vendors, performers and city staff for your commitment and continued support. #626GoldenStreets will be back, stay tuned!

June 26 San Gabriel Valley open streets map!

June 26 San Gabriel Valley open streets map!

This week, #DamienTalks with Laura Cornejo, the sustainability officer for Metro and the lead for Metro’s Open Streets events program. Metro has been funding numerous Open Streets events throughout L.A. County. Metro’s initial open streets funding cycle finishes up this weekend with 626 – an amazing 18-mile long multi-jurisdictional car-free party.

Damien Talks SGV logo626 Golden Streets will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Sunday, June 26. Metro, Bike SGV, seven cities and a host of other organizations invite you to explore ​18+ miles of open streets linking six Metro Gold Line stations and seven San Gabriel Valley cities ​stretching from South Pasadena to Azusa. Participants do not need to ride all 18 miles, but can start and finish wherever you like. Participants can walk, run, bike, skate, wheelchair, or crawl. Take breaks, stop for lunch, listen to music, shop, hang out, and generally enjoy streets open to all. The event is free, family-friendly, fun, and, of course, very easily accessible via the Metro Gold Line.

For more information, visit 626GoldenStreets.com.

After the talk with Cornejo, we are replaying our #DamienTalks from April 7 with South Pasadena Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Cacciotti. Cacciotti has been a critical figure in the effort to create the 626 both as an elected official and an advocate. As a fun bonus, the interview takes place on the Gold Line itself as Michael is heading home from work.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of Downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit foothilltransit.org. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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Viva SGV Open Streets El Monte & South El Monte Open Thread

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Yesterday Viva SGV arrived to the cities of El Monte and South El Monte. Sponsored by Metro, Viva SGV was the longest open street event in the San Gabriel Valley, for a couple weeks at least until 626 Golden Streets. The 5-mile loop brought a buzz of activity to city parks, wide lane boulevards, and the Rio Hondo Bike Path.

Despite the morning being slightly overcast, families and children filled major community hubs while enjoying the plentiful food trucks, live concerts and bounce houses among other neighborhood activities. The event showcased a variety of street-side scenery ranging from the Rio Hondo river corridor, El Monte Valley Mall shops, community churches, and wholesale supply storefronts.

The open streets event, as expected, was friendly and welcoming to cyclists with free bicycle valet service and bicycle check-up service courtesy of Bike SGV.

As a newcomer to L.A. open street events, the neighborhood street activity and scenery across delighted me at every turn. It was a common sight to see families enjoying popsicles and ice cream curbside outside many storefronts. The route was a 5-minute walk from the El Monte Metrolink station. Streets were clear of car traffic due the diligence of friendly traffic officials staffing each of the 8 intersection crossing points.

Just one 5-mile loop brought a pleasant blend of bustling community hubs, wide-open boulevards, and snaking Rio Hondo bikeways – diverse scenery that accentuated the civic and familial benefits of bicycle-friendly streets across the San Gabriel Valley’s multiple land-uses and landscapes.

On a more personal note, (and a shout out to eager parents!) seeing the route’s many children enjoy the open-streets on a warm overcast afternoon was a pleasant reminder of my past parent-led Sunday excursions to New England bike paths, memories that I still cherish and am grateful for today.

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Food trucks lined Arceo Park, providing plenty of appetizing lunch options. Photos by Doug Lewis

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Route 66 As A Complete Street? Claremont Is Planning On It

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Before and after: planned new bicycle lanes and bioswales for a portion of Claremont’s Foothill Blvd

Immortalized by John Steinbeck as “The Mother Road,” the decommissioned Route 66, now known as Foothill Boulevard in East Los Angeles cities La Verne and Claremont, often draws nostalgic visions of America’s golden age of the automobiles. First established in 1926, Route 66’s creation marked the development of transcontinental highway systems in mid-century America.

As one might expect, much of Route 66’s bordering development in eastern Los Angeles County reflects the automobile-centric planning logic of a bygone era. Auto-centric strip malls, restaurants, and services still surround intimidatingly wide Foothill Boulevard and serve as a reminder that Southern California still has a ways to go to overcome its overwhelming dependence on automobiles.

However, a recently approved $9.7 million complete-street project proposal in Claremont challenges the car centered-design of Foothill Boulevard, the former Route 66.

Approved in October of 2015, Claremont’s Foothill Boulevard Improvement Project aims to improve the street’s accessibility, safety, and multi-modal additions with a complete-street approach to road planning.

The highlighted section here is the total area of Claremont's Foothill Improvement Project proposal

The highlighted section here is the total length of Claremont’s Foothill Improvement Project proposal

Currently, Claremont’s section of Foothill Boulevard features dated Route 66 size proportions, including travel lane widths ranging from 17-23 feet. Typical surface street lanes would be 10-11 feet wide. Foothill’s unholy combination of over-sized lanes and absence of multi-modal transit features creates an intimidating atmosphere for pedestrians and cyclist. In addition to their impractical width, these Route-66 era lane widths, Claremont Senior Planner Chris Veirs noted, provoke faster driving speeds through speed creep and endanger all users of the road. In response, the Foothill Improvement Project calls for a series of “road dieting” measures and complete-street accommodations.  Read more…

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City of Duarte’s Free Rails-to-Trails Gold Line Shuttle Open Saturdays in June

Los Angeles’s surrounding mountain ranges are often overlooked in the county’s popularized image as a smog-ridden, freeway megalopolis with admired Pacific beaches.

However, between the Santa Monica and San Gabriel mountain ranges, Los Angeles has plenty of rich outdoor hiking to offer newcomers and native Angelenos alike. Unfortunately many of these mountain trailheads are nestled within wilderness roads and nearly inaccessible to those without a car. The looming mountain ranges that characterize Los Angeles and provide water resources to the region are often unfamiliar to many long-time residents.

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The Fish Canyon falls is known for its triple-tiered waterfall canyon, a former popular vacation site now open to hikers. All photos: Doug Lewis/Streetsblog L.A.

Fortunately, one San Gabriel Mountains trailhead is finally accessible to car-less Angelenos eager to explore the region’s mountains. Since April, running through the end of June, a free city of Duarte shuttle takes riders from the Duarte/City of Hope Gold Line station parking lot to the historic Fish Canyon trailhead every Saturday between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. The Fish Canyon trail, a 4.8-mile round trip hike through a San Gabriel canyon, traverses a lush landscape and ends at the triple-tiered Fish Canyon falls. The shuttle runs every thirty minutes and takes around fifteen minutes one way. Shuttles depart from Duarte on the hour and half-hour, and from the trailhead on the 15- and 45-minute marks.

The Fish Canyon Falls shuttle was implemented by the City of Duarte, and has been promoted by the San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition.

The shuttle, financed by local-return Measure R funds, takes advantage of the newly completed Gold Line Extension to increase access to public wilderness areas for non-car-owning residents and travelers alike. Officials spoke of environmental and social justice benefits that public transit to outdoor recreation offered Angelenos. Read more…

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Bike Hub To Open At Covina Metrolink Station This Thursday

Covina BikeHub is located in the parking lot of the Covina Metrolink Station. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Covina BikeHub is located in the parking lot of the Covina Metrolink Station. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

One thing great about Bike To Work Day is that some cities open bike facilities just in time to lure new folks to try bike-commuting. This year, the city of Covina has done just that. The Covina BikeHub opens for business this Thursday. The new hub is a secure bike-parking facility at the Covina Metrolink Station at 600 North Citrus Avenue. One-year membership is free for riders who sign up in person this month.

Streetsblog got an advance facility tour with Covina Mayor Pro-Tem Jorge Marquez. Marquez expressed his excitement for the new hub, and expressed his interest in Covina attracting and retaining millennials who are less inclined to drive, and more amenable to bicycling, walking, and transit. Marquez is interested in Covina building more transit-oriented development, and hopes to bring bike-share to Covina some day.

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Covina BikeHub has secure parking for 40 bicycles

The Covina BikeHub is operated by BikeHub, the same company that runs the El Monte BikeHub. The look is similar to El Monte, though the Covina version is a simpler model, which does not include the small bike shop on premises. The Covina hub is secure single-room parking facility with space for 40 bicycles. Users need to sign up in advance to obtain a membership that enables one to access the automated door using one’s drivers license or other identification. Hub bike parking access is available 24/7. Members can also access a separate bathroom and washroom located at the east end of the parking lot.

The Covina BikeHub will host its opening day celebration on Bike To Work Day, this Thursday May 19. From 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 to 7 p.m. hub staff will be on hand to give bilingual Spanish/English tours of the facility. BikeHub is giving free one-year passes with in-person registration. Passes generally cost $5 for seven days, $12 for 30 days, or $60 for one year. To contact BikeHub, check its website or email covina [at] bikehub.com

Additional facility photos after the jump.  Read more…

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Metro Opens Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa

The Metro Gold Line has arrived in Azusa. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A. except where noted

The Metro Gold Line now extends east to Azusa. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A. except where noted

Last Saturday, Metro extended its growing rail network, celebrating the grand opening of the 11-mile Gold Line Foothill Extension. The initial phase of the Foothill Extension includes six new stations in five San Gabriel Valley cities: Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, and Azusa. Additional future phases would extend the Gold Line to Ontario Airport.

The Foothill Gold Line will extend from Pasadena to Azusa, with six new stations slated to open in September 2015. Image via Metro

The Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa. Image via Metro

Kick-off festivities began at the Duarte/City of Hope station, where a crowd of more than a thousand gathered to hear remarks from Metro board members, numerous representatives of the cities along the route, Metro’s CEO Phil Washington, and other luminaries.

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County Supervisor and Metro board chair Mark Ridley Thomas hosting the Gold Line opening festivities, proclaiming “Teamwork makes the dream work.”

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#DamienTalksSGV 5 – Gold Line Opening and Women on Wheels

Today, #DamienTalks to Habib Balian, the CEO of the Gold Line Foothills Construction Authority and Amy Wong with Women on Wheels a project of Bike SGV.

Damien Talks SGV logoThis weekend, the long-awaited extension of the Gold Line to the San Gabriel Valley Foothills will finally open. Balian discusses the advocacy and work that led to the extension and the excitement that the line will be open soon. It is likely that any sales tax on the fall ballot will include another extension of the Gold Line, so Balian and his team are preparing in the eventuality that funding becomes available in 2017 for an extension all the way to Montclair.

Our second segment features an interview with Amy Wong of Women on Wheels, a project program of Bike SGV (WoW.) WoW works to create safe spaces and events for female bicycle riders to meet, have fun, and improve their bicycle skills. Wow has a couple of events coming up, a social on Sunday, March 13, and the LA to SGV: Sister Cities Ride & Mechanics Class with the Ovarian Psycos on Saturday, March 19.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of Downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit foothilltransit.org. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”

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#DamienTalksSGV 4 – Mural History and Bicycle Education in El Monte

Welcome to episode 4 of #DamienTalksSGV, an episode that focuses primarily on two projects in El Monte. We didn’t plan it that way, but sometimes these things happen.

Damien Talks SGV logoFirst, #DamienTalks with David Diaz Avelar about Historia de los Monteros, a collaborative effort between a handful of groups to explore the lost history of El Monte’s mural culture. Day One, East of East, and the South El Monte Arts Posse have programmed six events featuring discussions, bike rides, and lectures all focused on this topic. The next event is March 5; find event details at the Historia’s webpage or the event poster.

If David’s name (or voice) sound familiar, that is because he is the same person we interviewed in the last #DamienTalksSGV for another project: advocacy for the Las Tunas complete streets project in Temple City for Bike SGV.

Speaking of BikeSGV, our second guest is Jose Jimenez, who runs Bike SGV’s bicycle education center in El Monte. Jose discusses the brief history of the center, upcoming programs and invites everyone to come visit to learn how to ride, fix or improve their bicycle. The education center schedule can be found at the Bike SGV website.

#DamienTalks is supported by Foothill Transit, offering car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations across the Foothills and Commuter Express lines traveling into the heart of Downtown L.A. To plan your trip, visit foothilltransit.org. “Foothill Transit. Going Good Places.”