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SGV Connect 117: Damien Newton interviews Councilmember Adele Andrade-Stadler

Damien Newton 0:04
So as we mentioned in the intro, I'm here with Councilmember Adel Andrade-Stadler with the city of Alhambra. You are this year's I don't remember the title we would call an elected official of the year they might call a public servant to the or something along those lines from ActiveSGV and their Noche de las Luminarias event. All the details are in the text that accompanies the podcast, as we mentioned earlier. First off, congratulations. Thank you. Second, why don't you tell us a little bit about your background just so that listeners that aren't familiar with you, or maybe not familiar with what's going on and Alhambra will just get an idea of what's going on.

Adel Andrade-Stadler 0:44
I was raised in Monterey Park and moved to Alhambra. I eventually moved to Alhambra and settled there for a while with my family. And my husband and I started our family. And at that time, I had gone through all the schools within the district, including East LA and Cal State, Los Angeles, and worked in early childhood education. After that, I went into working in nonprofits and found myself working in state government, because I wanted to help a particular candidate who I thought was just a wonderful, very progressive candidate. Her name was Hilda Solis and she was a state senator at the time. I went on to be in her congressional office and serve as her second highest ranking official, as a district director for her for many years. She won the Profiles in Courage for her work on environmental justice. And that was the focus of our district office was making sure the environmental justice issues were very important to all our communities, especially those who have lower income. That being said I left her office and ran for school board wanting to make a better community in my own community. And quickly did 14 years…while it wasn't quickly…but 14 years on Alhambra Unified School District where I had an impact on monies being, through tax to increase our green space, of course, for our students, and other issues and ran for office (for City Council) in 2018 was successful. And again, in 2022. Open streets was my first introduction in 2018, to ActiveSGV. I knew some of the people who were the bike riders have part of BikeSGV just in the past, but I really really got more entrenched in and the love of the of their work on sustainability when it was our turn in the city of Alhambra to partner with San Gabriel, San Marino and South Pas. to create our own Open Streets for one day. We loved it.

Damien Newton 3:14
While that was a pretty amazing event, I have a theory I want to run by you, which is: a lot of people that I meet that are not a bike commuter, or really into weekend bike riding or that who become advocates for it in their personal lives or, or government lives or whatever. A lot of them seem to have backgrounds in education. And I have a theory that being around kids as an adult, somewhere in your head, it just sort of clicks that, "hey, this is an important thing. The kids, they don't want to ride around in a car, for the most part, they want to be free." And the way to do that unless you're a long distance runner or a hiker is to have a bicycle.

Adele Andrade-Stadler 3:58
Exactly. When I was a child in Monterey Park, I lived on the Hill on William Street. And the only way to get down onto Garvey was to take your bike because mom was working; she was a single parent, she was a surgical registered nurse and was always at work. There are four of us, we all had our bikes. And that's how we got to our parks to school in the morning. And so…I'm going to date myself here, but I had my little Stingray, which was pink. I had a basket; so if I had to bring home groceries to the family, I could do that. And you know, darn, we're just watching our students now using their bikes and getting to and from…it's great shared memories. And and it's clean and it's healthy and all those other good things too.

Damien Newton 4:49
I pretty much didn't ride a bike much at all from when I got my car when I was 16 until I got here started working on Streetsblog… got to LA. I was like a transit nerd, you know, pushing for more trains and stuff like that. But the bike thing I didn't really get. But as I started riding and I sort of remember how much fun it was, you know, it wasn't just practical, it was fun. And now, so I said, a lot of the people that I see that Are sort of converts back have some connection to kids. And I think it's seeing them again, we remember how much fun we used to have. And then we want to do it again. So anyway, transitioning from that, perfectly right to some of the issues with BikeSGV and ActiveSGV that you've been involved with. Let's call it our pre-interview,. In our pre interview, I talked about ActiveSGV. And you said actually, "I want to take it back to when it was BikeSGV." So you've been sort of involved with them in some way, shape, or form since about 2018. So why don't we talk a little bit about that, and some of the projects that you've worked on together with them.

Adel Andrade-Stadler 5:54
So one of the things that aside from you know, being the mayor, when we had open streets, and I was able to kick off the event;m one of the things that I realized that they were also working on was making our streets safer and making our our streets more conducive for bike riding. And one of the things they did was we had dollars…we had applied for grant dollars and got money for a specific, temporary, and that's a sad, sad thing to say, but it was temporary street, creating a safe bike lanes and whatever we had to do to make sure that bikes could get through. And then through that, we had all kinds of outreach to families to see how many of them were utilizing it either on foot or on on bike. And we were so surprised to see that we have this one street, that at some point was just taking all the traffic, all the big axle trucks down at two, actually reducing that, because we identified them coming in and reducing that completely putting them on Huntington Drive, making sure they stayed there. And we created this, this great street that we were sorry to see go when it did. But we had an opportunity to reach out to a lot of students at Alhambra High who were actually riding their bikes from the west end of Alhambra. And so we got information, right? We got about outreach that we that BikeSGV needed. And I say "we" because it became it was "them," and then it became us. Right? As part of the data that we needed to collect to make our streets safer.

Damien Newton 7:54
And I think as a nonprofit, one of their strengths has been their ability to find partners in local government and work with them as opposed to advocacy groups that for whatever reason, aren't able to find them and continue to have to advocate from the outside. I know there's a lot of cities in the San Gabriel Valley that they've been working with, but it takes a little time for that relationship to develop and said you go my back with them until they were BikeSGV. I don't think I've said those two words together in like two years. So is there anything coming up for Alhambra that you're really excited about?

Speaker 2 8:31
Yeah, and I think this is part in part why they said, "Adele you're gonna be there for a while you just got reelected. You're a crucial part and critical part to continue this this major goal of sustainability with it in Alhambra." And what do I mean by that? As we are creating our safe streets for pedestrians as well as bike riders, we went ahead and a contracted with not only Alta Planning, which was a recommendation, a good strong recommendation, but also utilizing the nonprofit ActiveSGV to make sure their component their part, their grassroots part, which is critical to to this creation of our sustainability plan for the entire city. I'm excited about it. We're rolling it out in October, just the first part of it. But you and I know things take a little time. So we're going to be reaching out to more of our communities to get more information and give them more information so they can give us you know, a little bit of their, their opinions on on what they think about our plan. I'm excited.

Damien Newton 9:45
So that you mean the plan is going to be public in October and then we'll be back. so you're a little bit along the road already. Yeah, absolutely. You have my email address so you can let me know when it's out there.

Adel Andrade-Stadler 9:58

Damien Newton 10:00
Great, well, this, it is exciting to see because it's a definite shift in the time since we've been doing Streetsblog. This is our 15th year of Streetsblog LA. We've really been working more in the, in the San Gabriel Valley area, the last eight or so years, thanks to our collaboration with Foothill Transit. So it's been a, there's been a lot of changes in how cities are thinking about transportation, and I think we can see something like that, and the collaboration that you're talking about.

Adel Andrade-Stadler 10:24
So yeah, and you know, I'm, I sit as a representative to SCAG. And I'm on the Transportation Committee there. And you and I know, when you talk about SCAG, you're talking about cement… the old SCAG I should say, you know, it's the, it's the freeways and, you know, how do we get our commuters back and forth quickly. It's important to have folks like myself, who want to take us away from that a little bit, or just open the doors a little bit. So we're thinking outside that. SCAG, I don't mean to criticize them, but, you know, they come from a long line of, you know, creating these freeways and making things commuters get to their site their places faster. But there's another side to that, too, right? There's their need for us to keep our, our air clean while we're doing that. And if people don't have to jet across every day, and they just have to get to school or that 15 minute job we're talking about, then, you know, we could we could take public transportation for that most definitely.

Damien Newton 11:36
Yeah. All right. Well, thank you so much for your time. Someone either Chris or I will probably be in touch in October so we can talk about the plan as it's getting rolled out because it's

Adel Andrade-Stadler 11:54
Absolutely it's going to be exciting. Have a good day. Have a good afternoon.

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