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A bike plan for Alhambra gets city support; 9/11 steel remnants headed to Fire Station 71

Alhambra leadership expressed support for implementing a bike plan at a City Council planning meeting on Monday. They also considered a new self-storage space on Hellman Avenue and approved a new memorial for 9/11 victims including steel remnants from the towers. “It’s about time that we do this in the San Gabriel Valley,” Alhambra Mayor Luis Ayala said about creating a bike plan. Ayala, who is also running for the 49th Assembly District, stressed the benefits of a comprehensive plan connecting Alhambra’s bike lanes with Monterey Park, San Gabriel and other adjacent cities.

Planning and Policy Director of the LA County Bicycle Coalition Alexis Lantz said that an ideal bike plan would encourage children, grandparents and people of all backgrounds to ride and "not just the spandex-wearing folks." She argued it would not only contribute to a healthier lifestyle and a more environmentally-conscious community, but could also be good for business. As an example, Lantz noted that the storefronts on Main Street could profit because people would be more inclined to get out and visit them if bike and walk paths were more accessible.

City officials consider a bike plan proposalLantz also cited several state and federal funding sources for bike-friendly infrastructure, such as the Bicycle Transportation Account, which would provide a fund of $7 million a year and which is currently funding Temple City’s $500,000 bike lane project on Rosemead Blvd.Members of the West San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Coalition told city officials that they would be willing to work with the city to develop a more bike-friendly community. “The only time I ride with the family is on very formal planned out events where we drive to somewhere specific to ride our bikes around,” said Peter Komfolio, a resident of San Gabriel who expressed concerns about the current lack of safety for bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers.  "I wish riding could just be a part of our life.”City Manager Julio Fuentes said that the next step would be that "staff will have to bring back options for the council and those options will need to include costs and funding opportunities." While he said that "everyone is supportive" of better commuity transportation, there may be some challenges, such as dense population. The proposal has been received and filed by the city council for consideration.

“This is a very, very exciting prospect for me personally,” said Ayala. “I haven’t ridden a bike probably since I was in elementary school, but I’d like to ride one again at some point when I have a little more time on my hands.”

Other study session items at the council meeting included energy efficiency, noise issues and the approval of purchasing a command vehicle and other firefighting equipment for the Alhambra Fire Department.Representatives from U.S. Storage CentersIn addition, U.S. Storage Centers, a public storage company with 25 units in Southern California and 23 more throughout the nation, has proposed to build a four-story self-storage facility near the 2500 block of Hellman Avenue, a property which the company has recently purchased. “That [area] has been vacant for a while. It would be nice to see something productive and constructive in addition to that neighborhood,” said Councilman Steven Placido. The company will work with the city’s planning commission next to pursue the project further.

The Planning Center, a company that is working with the city to update Alhambra’s General Plan, presented its findings from the community input received at the Envision Alhambra 2035 festival.The City Council also approved the proposal of implementing a monument in honor of September 11, 2011, in front of Alhambra Fire Station #71, the city’s firefighting headquarters located on First Street. The monument will be a piece of steel salvaged from the site of the World Trade Center Twin Towers.

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3 thoughts on “A bike plan for Alhambra gets city support; 9/11 steel remnants headed to Fire Station 71”

  1. High population means there’s more teenage, elderly, and foreign drivers on the road. Alhambras dense population is a huge factor. The DMV, city and local schools need to do better with bicycle awareness. Its hard to imagine the city installing proper bicycle lanes. The streets are narrow and in very poor condition. Get the street surface repaved first. Then start thinking about removing some of the sidewalk.

  2. From the south end

    “City Manager Julio Fuentes said, “…there may be some challenges, such as dense population.”

    And why is that? Because of the city’s aggressive development of multi-unit housing.

    1. @ south end

      I was also thinking why Mr. Fuentes said that. I do see his point given that the city is in a state of transition, in particular the growth on Main St.

      However, I don’t think a dense population would be detrimental to a viable bike plan. When I was deployed to Ramstein AB, Germany several years ago I had the opportunity to visit The Netherlands. In Amsterdam, I saw hundreds (if not thousands) of bikes all over the city. With mixed-use and multi-unit structures all over the place, I found many people using their bikes as part of their daily routine. The things I did notice though was:

      1. Many streets were one-way

      2. There were lots of public transportation (buses, light rail, etc.), even canal boats!

      3. Commercial establishments and housing units in close proximity or mixed-use. I noticed many bicyclists used their bikes for short trips to do daily errands (markets, school, etc.).

      I even read that the local government strongly encourages businesses to participate in ride-share programs.

      Alhambra is not Amsterdam, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from others and learn to see what works and what doesn’t.

      Density is only a part of the picture…