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City of Azusa to Lease 145 Spaces to Metro for Station Parking

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A view from atop the Azusa Intermodal Transit Center on Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. this week. Free Metro spots and Foothill Non-Paid Permit spots were all occupied at this time. Photos by Doug Lewis/Streetsblog L.A.

As per recent city council approval, the city of Azusa will lease 145 parking spaces at the Azusa Intermodal Transit Center to Metro for at least one year to alleviate an overflow of parking demand at the Downtown Azusa Gold Line station stop.

In return, Metro is expected to reimburse the city for 100 percent of its operation and maintenance of the 145 spots, an estimated yearly fee of $31,000. Both parties have the option to extend the agreement a second year, with an additional $32,000 in operations and maintenance fees paid by Metro to the city of Azusa.

Metro also plans to include the leased spaces in the existing parking permit program, with twenty percent of the permits allocated to city of Azusa residents. Originally city staff negotiated for city residents to receive free Metro permits, but that agreement was later rejected due to legal concerns.

The parking lease agreement arrives after the City of Azusa enacted parking restrictions in surrounding neighborhoods and downtown streets because of an overflow of Gold Line riders. City officials hope the new three-hour parking limits will confine Metro parking to the Azusa station garage and incentivize riders arriving by car to instead use the nearby Irwindale and Duarte lots. In a phone interview, Azusa Director of Public Works Daniel Bobadilla noted that though no official analysis on the recent parking measures has been conducted, staff have noticed fewer vehicles on streets and residential neighborhoods in downtown Azusa. Read more…

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L.A. and San Bernardino Inter-County Transit/Rail Planning Meetings Kick Off

SCAG's L.A.-San Bernardino Counties area of study. Source: http://www.scag.ca.gov/programs/Pages/InterCountyTransitRail.aspx

SCAG’s L.A.-San Bernardino Counties area of study. Image via SCAG study fact sheet [PDF]

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) is seeking to develop a comprehensive overview of potential transportation and rail improvement options in the corridor bridging L.A. Counties and San Bernardino counties. Los Angeles and San Bernardino inter-county cooperation could expand transit access to cities near the county border. A number of significant inter-county transportation projects are or have been proposed to increase connectivity in eastern San Gabriel Valley and Western San Bernardino County. Future transportation projects could include:

  • Metrolink San Bernardino Line connection to Ontario Airport
  • Metro Gold Line light rail phase 2-B extension to Montclair
  • Metro Gold Line light rail phase 2-C extension to Ontario Airport
  • Bus Rapid Transit connections
  • 10 Freeway express lanes

SCAG’s study corridor area includes portions of the San Bernardino County cities of Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, and Upland and the Los Angeles County cities of Claremont, La Verne, and Pomona.

SCAG hosted a community meeting in Upland last night for the cross-counties study. A second community meeting will take place tonight from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Palomares Academy of Health Sciences at 211 N. Orange Grove Avenue in Pomona. SCAG will be disseminating project information and gathering community input. Interested folks who cannot attend the meetings can give input via a five-minute interactive online survey.

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One of the presentation boards at last night’s meeting. According to a SCAG representative, PDFs of the presentation will be made available on the study website. Source: Doug Lewis/Streetsblog L.A.

Recently, Gold Line authority officials expressed interest in moving forward with an Ontario airport connection, but with San Bernardino Associated Governments (SanBAG – somewhat analogous to L.A. County’s Metro) approval and oversight. Any future facilities in San Bernardino County, including the planned Montclair station and proposed Ontario Airport extension, would need to be funded by San Bernardino County.

A 2014 report from the Pasadena Star details the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority’s past efforts to gain inter-county authority for a possible San Bernardino extension. The proposed state bill A.B. 2574 was met with vehement opposition from SanBAG for overriding jurisdiction.

Can SCAG, which spans six counties, facilitate a more harmonious cooperation between San Bernardino and L.A. Counties? Will the result be transit service that improves the lives of all southern California residents, regardless of what county they live or work in? Time will tell, and SCAG’s current study appears to be one worthwhile step in the right direction. Attend tonight’s meeting or give your input via the online survey.

Tripthing

Future transit projects could serve some of the 180,000 daily trips between the counties. SCAG’s trip-forecasting model detailed here. Source: Doug Lewis/Streetsblog L.A.

SBLA San Gabriel Valley coverage 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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Monrovia City Council Unanimously Approves New Bicycle Master Plan

City of Monrovia Public Works Manager Sean Sullivan presenting Monrovia's Bicycle Master Plan at last night's council meeting. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

City of Monrovia Public Works Manager Sean Sullivan presenting Monrovia’s Bicycle Master Plan at last night’s council meeting. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

On a unanimous 5-0 vote last night, the Monrovia City Council approved the city’s new bicycle master plan.

Monrovia’s bicycle plan was developed in consultation with Alta Planning + Design. The plan calls for 3.7 miles of bike paths (along the Sawpit and Santa Anita Washes), 5.1 miles of bike lanes, 17.9 miles of sharrowed bike routes, and 7.1 miles for further study for protected bike lanes. The plan also calls for bike parking, bicycle wayfinding, open streets events, bike-share, and education and encouragement programs.

Public testimony was strongly in favor of the plan, with three San Gabriel Valley residents testifying in support of safety, health, environmental, and economic benefits of making Monrovia safer for cycling. Speakers acknowledged the efforts of city staff and Move Monrovia in taking the plan from idea to approval.

Among the elected officials, there was a great deal of support for, in the words of Mayor Tom Adams, taking “the first of many steps in the right direction” to make Monrovia more bicycle-friendly. Councilmember Gloria Crudgington emphasized that, by approving the plan, Monrovia sets a leadership example for the region. The only minor concerns raised regarding the plan were from Mayor Pro Tem Alexander Blackburn who wanted to make certain that the plan would conform with state requirements, thus making Monrovia eligible for state bicycle funding, including California’s statewide Active Transportation Program. Multiple councilmembers expressed interest in working to implement Metro Bike Share to connect downtown Monrovia with the city’s newly opened Metro Gold Line Station.  Read more…

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Monrovia Bicycle Master Plan Expected To Be Approved By City Council July 5

The San Gabriel Valley city of Monrovia may soon have an extensive network of bikeways offering residents and visitors safer streets connecting to many key destinations. Monrovia is expected to approve its new Bicycle Master Plan next month.

The final product. The master plan's overview of recommended bikeway project & studies across Monrovia. Note the proposed linkages to the recently opened Gold line station. Source: City of Monrovia

Map of planned Monrovia bikeways including linkages to the recently opened Gold line station. Source: City of Monrovia

Following recent unanimous planning commission approval, Monrovia’s long awaited bike plan will reach city council for expected approval on July 5.

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Commuter study survey results. The high percentage of commuters who drive alone on commutes less than 20 minutes indicate the potential of an accessible bikeway network to serve Monrovia residents who currently drive alone. Source: City of Monrovia

The final draft of the Monrovia bike plan aims to build a safe and interconnected bicycle transportation network. This will encourage active transportation, healthier lifestyles, and more-accessible connections to public transit options for the largely car-dependent 14-square mile San Gabriel Valley city.

The plan serves as a framework for future potential policies, infrastructure improvements, and programming opportunities all in the service of safe and inclusive bicycle infrastructure.

Quick SUmmary

A brief summary of the total miles of recommended bikeways in the plan. For project details see the plan document. Source: City of Monrovia

If approved, the plan will be integrated within Monrovia’s Capital Improvement Projects and provide opportunities for county-Metro, state, federal, and non-profit funding from numerous active transportation grant opportunities. Some of the planned projects include the implementation of a bicycle wayfinding signage network, bicycle safety education programs, bicycle parking, and, of course, a variety of bikeways, including paths, protected and unprotected bicycle lanes, and bike routes. The plan recommends further feasibility studies for protected bike lanes on portions of Duarte Road, Foothill Boulevard, Huntington Drive, Mayflower Avenue, Myrtle Avenue and Peck Road.

The initiative to create a bicycle master plan arose when city officials and Move Monrovia, a residents’ advocacy group, joined forces to expand transportation infrastructure for easier and safer access to the city’s Metro Gold Line rail station, which opened in March.  Read more…

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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

Read more…

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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…