Alhambra asks for residents' take on biking

Alhambra officials, working with local bike advocacy organizations and Alta Planning and Design, is developing a bicycle master plan. The next step for public outreach is planned for Saturday evening's Hot Spot cultural event at Renaissance Plaza on Main Street and Garfield Avenue. The city will host a booth where residents can share their ideas and concerns about biking in the city. 

Cycling enthusiasts and city officials alike are optimistic about the future of biking, with an ambitious vision of one where biking is as much a part of Alhambra's culture as is its food. "It's not just about looking at the infrastructure, but it's about building a culture," said Bret Hondorp of Alta Planning & Design, the company Alhambra has contracted to develop the project. "We have the toolbox, so it can be as innovative as you want to go," he told city officials and members of Bike SGV during a meeting last Thursday. The company, which has previously designed plans for leading bike-friendly cities such as Portland and Long Beach, is currently researching to determine what kind of system will work best with Alhambra's roads.

Administrative Analyst Chris Paulson, who has been a proponent of the project for the City, said that they will soon begin working "in the field" — in other words riding their bikes around Alhambra — to review the city's layout, traffic patterns, and other programmatic elements. Alta has also taken all of the feedback collected during the Community Open House that was held at Almansor Court last October, and will incorporate it into their research.

Alta Planning, city officials, & Bike SGV discuss the plan.

Despite challenges in Alhambra's car oriented infrastructure, Bike SGV President Vincent Chang is confident that Alhambra will one day be a place where cars and bikes can share the road. "Hopefully we can teach both sides — drivers and cyclists — that this is something people are doing on a daily basis and they can be courteous towards each other," he said.

Saturday's event is intended to kick off an outreach campaign to listen to and educate residents about biking issues in the coming months. "The event at the Hot Spot will be good for both the bicyclists and the people who maybe have a bike in their garage but don't yet feel safe riding it in the streets," said Hondorp. "We want to reach that part of the population, and not just throw a bunch of signs up, so we're really excited about this event."

The City also plans to launch a website dedicated to the plan, where it will accept input from any member of the community. On November 14, findings and progress on the bike plan will be presented to Alhambra's Transportation Commission in a meeting open to the public. "It's a sign of the times," said Paulson. "We've gotten a lot of feedback, and people are impressed that Alhambra is being proactive and not sitting back and waiting for other cities around us to change."

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