A green future for Rosemead Blvd.
Before a crowd of dignitaries, stakeholders, Metro/Caltrans staff, local residents, and BikeSGV organizers, the Temple City Council and other elected leaders officially broke ground on the $20 million dollar overhaul of a two mile stretch of Rosemead Boulevard in Temple City on Friday, March 1st.
Made possible by 14 different funding sources - county, state and federal - the Rosemead Boulevard Project will include the San Gabriel Valley's first "protected" bicycle lane, or cycletrack, as well as wider sidewalks, public art, way-finding signage, new street trees, drought tolerant plants, transit stops, and improved pedestrian crossings.
Congresswoman Judy Chu hailed the project as "state of the art" in presenting the Council a Congressional Certificate of Recognition. Newly elected State Senator Ed Chau proclaimed that the new Rosemead Boulevard would be a "catalyst for economic growth," thanks in part to 500 new trees, 6,000 plants, and other sustainable elements such as asphalt made from recycled tires and the city's first bicycle lanes.
Representatives from State Senators Carol Liu and Ed Hernandez and Supervisor Antonovich were also on hand to present the Council with commendations, as was Alhambra City Council Member and current San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (COG) President Barbara Messina, who underlined that the new project was "exactly the type of collaboration" she and the COG wanted to see more of in the future.
For local bicyclists, the completed cycletrack will provide welcome refuge from automobile traffic which averages north of 40mph along this major corridor. The on-street Class I Bicycle Lane will be physically separated from traffic along portions of Rosemead by planters, in stark contrast to the Class III Bicycle route signage recently installed by Los Angeles County directly north of the City.
BikeSGV President Vincent Chang was confident Temple City's leadership in adopting bicycle infrastructure best practices will encourage other cities in the region to follow-suit, including neighboring communities such as the Cities of San Gabriel and Rosemead, the latter of which adopted a Bicycle Master Plan in 2012. Temple City Mayor Yu appeared to echo this sentiment, noting that local leaders were "not doing it just for Temple City, but for the region."
Project completion is slated for late 2014. Until then local cyclists would do well to steer clear of the construction zone, which has narrowed shoulder space and travel lanes, and subsequently reduced the amount of passing space for automobiles (i.e., be prepared to "take the lane" with motorists unaware of 25mph construction zone speed restrictions).
For more information and updates on the project, visit the Rosemead Boulevard Project webpage.