On Saturday December 2, 2017, BikeSGV will host its annual party - 'Noche de las Luminarias' - to celebrate the progress towards a more pedestrian-, bicycle-, and transit-friendly SGV. This profile is one of a series of posts highlighting some of the people at the forefront of this movement. Tickets and event information can be found here
The City of South El Monte is located in the south central part of the San Gabriel Valley. Home to approximately 20,100 residents over a total area of 2.8 square miles, South El Monte is bordered by Rosemead to the west, El Monte to the north and east, and the Whittier Narrows Recreational Area along the southern boundary. Bicyclists, walkers, runners, and other recreation groups are drawn to Whittier Narrows and both the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel River bike paths for recreational activities.
In 2011, the City of South El Monte submitted a proposal to receive Metro Call for Projects funds for several bicycle infrastructure projects. The application included a Bicycle Master Plan map highlighting proposed bikeways. The impetus for the Bicycle Master Plan and subsequent funding application was a need to create regional non-motorized transportation connections between the City of South El Monte, the El Monte Transit Center, and the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area. The three primary corridors proposed to receive bicycle facilities were Merced Avenue, Tyler Avenue/Santa Anita Avenue, and Thienes Avenue. Merced Avenue would become a Class III bicycle route, while Tyler Avenue/Santa Anita Avenue and Thienes Avenue would receive Class II bike lanes.
In 2012, the City of South El Monte brought forth the Revitalization Plan for the Santa Anita/Tyler Avenue Corridor, with community input focuses improvements on the Durfee Avenue/Peck Road in the southern portion of the City. In addition to the primary corridor, the planning effort also focused on the adjoining portions of East Rush Street and Thienes Avenue.
In December 2014, the City unanimously adopted the San Gabriel Valley Regional Bicycle Master Plan, which was developed through a comprehensive, community driven outreach process. Local non-profit organizations Day One and BikeSGV were responsible for conducting focus groups with local stakeholders, data collection, community outreach and engagement leading to the adoption of the plan. The City also adopted a Vision Zero Resolution and Complete Streets Policy.
In June 2017 South El Monte successfully completed development of the San Gabriel Valley’s second protected bikeway on Durfee Ave, going above-and-beyond the standard Class II bike lane proposed in the 2014 City bicycle master plan, and thereby creating a much safer connection for people on bikes to access Whittier Narrows, the San Gabriel River, the City's commercial corridor. The Complete Streets project also included stormwater capture elements, including a permeable center median, native plants, and bicycle lane protected by stormwater capture bioswales.
Looking forward the City has partnered with Day One, the Council for Watershed Health, and Climate Resolve to implement best management practices for the construction of a 1.1 mile protected, ‘green’ street on Merced Ave. The integrated planning approach and design will implement strategies to increase physical activity, improve safety, capture stormwater and mitigate the urban heat island effect. The City has also submitted a letter of interest to Metro to explore the feasibility of a local bike share program, received funding to host another ciclovia, and partnered with the City of El Monte to launch a local bike-friendly business district program.