As five other cities in the San Gabriel Valley are pushing forward to improve biking infrastructure in the region by the end of the year, Alhambra has not moved forward with its own bike plan.
San Gabriel City Council was the first of five cities to adopt on Sept. 16 the San Gabriel Valley Bike Master Plan, a regional bike plan that includes 33.6 miles of bikeways, bicycle parking facilities, and bike safety programs to create a shared bicycle network in the region. South El Monte, Monterey Park, Baldwin Park, and El Monte will also vote by the end of the year whether to participate. While not part of the SGV Bike Master Plan, South Pasadena approved a bike plan in 2011 and Pasadena is improving its biking infrastructure to better connect their bikeways to neighboring cities.
San Gabriel City Manager Steven Preston said during the Sept. 16 City Council meeting that he was concerned Alhambra was not participating. Alhambra staff did not respond to a letter from San Gabriel staff asking for input in the city's bike plan process, said San Gabriel Assistant Planner Fang-Zhou Zhou.
"We did mail a copy of our plan to Alhambra as a courtesy to see if they had any comments," Zhou told the Alhambra Source. "We did not receive a response."
The SGV Bike Master Plan aims to create a way to cycle across the San Gabriel Valley safely while improving biking accommodations in each city. Non-profit organizations Day One and BikeSGV developed the plans along with the five participating cities. San Gabriel's bike plan includes 4.8 miles of class I bike lanes, which are lanes that are separated from traffic. The plan also includes 9.6 miles of class II bike lanes — lanes that are painted and marked off on the street — and 19.2 miles of class III bike routes, lanes marked by signage that identifies routes for bikers and encourages vehicle drivers to share the road.
Alhambra staff developed a Master Bike Plan in 2012, working with Alta Planning and Design to propose 44 miles of bikeways and routes. While it was the first time the city was investing in biking infrastructure in the city, bike enthusiasts were disappointed that the plan only included 3.43 miles of class II lanes. The remaining 40.75 miles of bike routes in the design were class III routes, which include markings like sharrows and "bike route" signs. The design also did not include bike routes on major streets such as Valley Boulevard and Fremont Avenue.
Despite the design and publication of the draft, the Master Bike Plan has not moved forward. Staff postponed in March 2013 a presentation of a revised draft of the plan to Alhambra City Council, and there is no update regarding the bike plan at this time, according to Director of Administrative Services Chris Paulson.
While BikeSGV Program Director Javier Hernandez is disappointed Alhambra does not have a plan, he says it was a good decision for the city to not move forward on the draft. "That plan was never adopted and we feel that was a good thing because they didn’t do enough to address some of the major intersections," he said. "We do look forward to the day that Alhambra does have a bike plan and becomes a more bike friendly city…We don’t want to have such a large gap in the region."