San Gabriel adopts regional bike plan, Alhambra could be 'large gap' in area biking infrastructure

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."

5 thoughts on “San Gabriel adopts regional bike plan, Alhambra could be 'large gap' in area biking infrastructure”

  1. There is an op-ed on Monday Oct 19’s Chinese Daily News (World Journal) that commented on Temple City’s newly constructed dedicated bike path: A lot of money was spent but few use it.

  2. i agree with many of the other comments, i had attended meetings with ABC, Alhambra beyond cars, was excited that finally my city would move into this century and have bike paths connecting to other bike paths,…then the plan came up against APW, and the comment from their fearless leader was “Not WhileI’m in Charge” so the bike path has died, bike riders are hit and asked to bike ‘in the gutter’ rather than the lane they are entitled to. Cars whiz by unimpeded by stop signs or lights, or pedestrians in crosswalks, also ignoring speed limits posted.Alhambra has grown but this healthy growth is ignored, as are the shops on main street, who has time to glance to see what a fascinating changing area main street when you fly past in your car. Alhambra is NOT inviting for pedestrians, bike riders, strollers, or wheelchairs, you are more of a moving target. Business as usual- focus on the 710, a non issue, waste more time more money…that’s alhambra, it could be a better city

  3. How embarrassing for the Alhambra City Council to have several of Alhambra city residents in San Gabriel’s council meeting supporting the plan. Many of them told the city council that this is an opportunity for San Gabriel to do something great for their community and hopefully it would shame their own city council enough that they would do something.

  4. Since the bike plan doesn’t directly benefit the city council in anyway they don’t care about it.

  5. There is no doubt in my mind that Alhambra has suffered from inept, opportunistic leadership for quite sometime. While other cities have embraced progressive ideas and policies that benefit its residents, Alhambra (specifically its political makeup) has been stuck in the 1950’s with its “vision” of commercial sprawl, strip malls galore, multi-unit densification, and giving away the heart and “Key to the City” to developers—all on the backs of its residents.

    Alhambra residents should think long and hard about bringing change to city hall. It seems the names and faces haven’t changed very much even creating a culture of nepotism and family dynasties.

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