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Could Alhambra become a bike-friendly city?

Cyclists in South Pasadena, which borders Alhambra. The general plan identifies opportunities for South Pasadena's bike infrastructure to connect to Alhambra. Photo by flickr user Umberto Brayj licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Alhambra , CA United States

Alhambra is notorious for not having any bike lanes and routes, but that might change with the general plan update.

The draft general plan includes a map that identifies potential locations for bike travel in Alhambra. This includes bike lanes that are separated from cars on some of the city’s major roads by painted stripes, known as Class II bike lanes. Proposed Class II lanes would link Huntington Drive and West Main Street, and are also located on some parts of Marengo Avenue, according to an environmental impact report that accompanies the general plan.

The plan also identifies potential Class III bike routes where the right-of-way is shared by vehicles and bicycles on Alhambra’s smaller roads. The general plan has also identified a Class I bike path through a proposed linear park on Mission Road.

This aspect of the general plan picks up where a 2013 draft bike plan left off. The plan had proposed adding 44.18 miles of bike lanes and routes in Alhambra, as well as extensive parking facilities for bicycles. Alhambra’s City Council tabled the plan that year.

“They didn’t have the desire to put forth a good plan that would bring about a safer network of bike lanes through the city,” said Efren Moreno, an Alhambra City Council member from 2000-2004 and a champion of biking in the San Gabriel Valley, in an interview with the Alhambra Source last year. Moreno did not return a request for comment on this article.

Local organizations like Bike SGV advocate for cities to build networks of bike lanes for safe cycling, rather than isolated segments for biking, according to Amy J. Wong, Women on Wheels coordinator for Bike SGV, an organization that advocates for bike-friendly transit in the San Gabriel Valley.

“It is encouraging to see Alhambra’s general plan be visionary ‘to move toward consideration and enhancement of alternative transportation modes,'” said Wong in an email. “It is only equitable that the City meet the needs of residents who bike, walk and take transit, particularly for the young and elderly.”

One change from the bike plan to the general plan is fewer proposed bike lanes on major roads. “One of things we had heard from some of the council people was a concern about putting bikes on the heavily traveled roads, the big arterials like Fremont and Valley,” Power said. “So we took the draft bike plan that had been put together and kind of revised it a little bit to reroute some of the bike paths and bike routes onto less heavily traveled roads.”

The general plan emphasizes continuity with existing bike lanes just outside of city limits, connecting with bike lanes in Los Angeles, South Pasadena and Monterey Park.

Power also said that the general plan’s bike map is conceptual and is subject to change depending on whether the city itself adopts a bike plan.

Updated Sept. 6, 2018 with comments from Bike SGV’s Amy J. Wong.

Updated Sept. 7, 2018 to clarify bike lane designations.

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4 thoughts on “Could Alhambra become a bike-friendly city?”

  1. I live in midwick tract and I’m ready to vote against anyone that blocks bike infrastructure improvements. The city could be so much better for its residents if they stopped listening to hysterical people who have no idea how proper city planning works.

  2. Please quit using fantasy and give us real solutions. The current draft of the General Plan needs a lot of work. The “conceptual” that the consultant, Mr. Power uses freely to describe ideas without any solid possibility of becoming reality is used way too much in this draft. The bones of a solid well thought out vision seem to be missing. The bicycle plan put forth has connections shown to our neighbor cities bike lanes but once you arrive in Alhambra the bike lanes disappear. For example the plan shows a Class 1 bike lane running down Mission Street. How is that going to work out you ask? The “conceptual” vision of having it run down the rail tracks is the solution were given. This again is using the fake train park over the Union Pacific Railroad as a solution to all of our problems. The railroad wants nothing to do with this “conceptual” plan. The park can never be built over the rail line and the everyone knows it but Mr. Power. This bicycle portion needs a lot of work and a more realistic approach.

  3. Very contentious issue. Residents don’t want any tax money spent on this. Need to find alternative sources of funding. Need to improve public’s perception of bicycles too. Majority associate bikes with low socioeconomic status and crime. Pedestrian crosswalks don’t work need controlled intersections but there expensive. Best to use Alhambra wash infrastructure already in place.

  4. As someone who grew up and still have the majority of our family investments in the city, this is positive news. For many years it seem that the city council and consequently staff were indifferent if not outright hostile to the idea of biking as a legitimate form of transportation for its residents and visitors. Instead, they focused on extending the 710 freeway-a concept that was, very 20th century. BikeSGV, the pre-eminent cycling advocacy organization in the San Gabriel Valley, was founded out of frustration that SGV cities like Alhambra didnt support alternative forms of transportation such as cycling. Today, many of those same cities are embracing cycling. Although it at a pace slower than BikeSGV would like, bike lanes are being added throughout the SGV. I hope this trend continues in Alhambra. With a new council, I hope it is more than just lip service and bike lanes become a reality in Alhambra.
    Vincent Chang,
    President & Co-founder BikeSGV