County Public Works Hosts Virtual Community Meeting for San Jose Creek Regional Access Multi-Use Path
Los Angeles County Department of Public Works hosted their first virtual community input meeting last week about the San Jose Creek Regional Access, a project connecting the San Jose Creek bike path to the San Gabriel Valley River trail. The San Jose Creek path currently ends in the unincorporated L.A. County community of Avocado Heights, nestled in the midst of Whittier, El Monte, South El Monte, and the City of Industry.
The project currently is in planning and development and has no funding to start design, construction or conducting broader outreach, said Shirley Lai, Associate Civil Engineer at Los Angeles County Public Works. The meeting was meant to give residents an update on the general concept and to field questions.
Lai said the County is trying to hold different community outreach events for this project and is experimenting with virtual meetings like the meeting last week to adhere to the Safer at Home Order. But, Lai said, “it is going to be a little bit of a challenge for us given the circumstances.”
There is also no website for the public to learn more about the project. If the County gets funding, a website will be created, Lai said.
The San Jose Creek Regional Access is a planned 2.5-mile bike path and a 1.8-mile multi-use trail, plus two new multi-use bike/walk/equestrian bridges, one over San Jose Creek and one over the San Gabriel River. The project connects to an existing equestrian trail along the creek, as well as to creek and river bikeways.
The existing San Jose Creek path currently ends at Workman Mill Road. From there, the new path will extend west along the southern bank of the creek, then cross the creek on a new bridge sending travelers further west along the northern bank. After crossing under the I-605 Freeway, travelers can head north on the multi-use trail along the eastern bank of the San Gabriel River into the future Duck Farm River Park – or can cross a second new bridge over the river, then proceed north or south on the San Gabriel River trail, located on the west side of the river.
The project would also include new wayfinding signage and a pedestrian overlook and rest area.
The County’s initial concept is based on the Emerald Necklace Master Plan, a 17-mile multi-use path connecting the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel Rivers and passes through Avocado Heights, Arcadia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bassett, El Monte, Irwindale, La Puente, Monrovia, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Rosemead, South El Monte, Temple City, and Whittier.
More than 15 participants attended the virtual town hall. In response to a question from a resident in Pellissier Village concerned about homeless encampments currently on the San Gabriel River trail, Lai said County staff is aware of them and is working with law enforcement on the issue. Once the bikeway project is built, it being a part of the county bikeway system would give it access to the County’s safety and enforcement measures.
David Diaz, Executive Director of Active SGV, said that with impacts of the Safer at Home Order, the County should start early on reaching out to residents around the project area in more dynamic ways to survey residents’ preferences and attitudes. Strategies could include mailing residents project feedback forms and calling residents to gather their comments verbally.
Reflecting on Active SGV’s involvement in another LACDPW project, the Puente Creek bike trail, Diaz said that outreach should start early before it’s too late. In the Puente Creek trail project, residents who lived next to the project backlashed against it after learning about it late and then advocated for safety measures to respond to the homeless encampments there.
“They were not so animated to find out from the County in advance that this was going on,” Diaz said of the Puente Creek project.
If community groups want the County to present the project in an online format to them, or if they want to submit a comment about the project, they can contact Andrew Ross, LACDPW civil engineer, at AROSS@dpw.lacounty.gov.
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