The Monterey Park Environmental and Traffic Commissions hosted the first open house Transportation Summit on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at the George Elder Park Community Center. Regional agencies were invited to present transportation projects that are currently affecting Monterey Park. Approximately 30 community members including the Mayor Sebastian, Mayor Pro Tem Anthony Wong, Councilmember Hans Liang and City Clerk Vincent Chang engaged in question and answer sessions that aroused interesting dialog about each particular project. The projects included:
SGV Bike Master Plan presented by Day One/BikeSGV
Our very own Javier Hernandez kicked off the presentations with the first public introduction to the San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Master Plan. Javier elaborated on the partnership with Day One and their efforts to align a total of 6 cities to apply for and receive a grant award from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Healthy Eating Active Living initiative. Beyond the conceptualization of the project, Javier also explained the goals, timeline, target areas, and informed attendees of potential policies, programs, and infrastructures recommendations that can be expected throughout the development of the Bicycle Master Plan.
Interstate 10 (I-10) Express Lanes presented by Metro
The bike plan project was immediately followed by a thorough breakdown of the I-10 Express Lane project between the 110 freeway and the 605 freeway. The recently implemented Express Lanes project is currently in a 1-yr introductory phase to allow a grace/adjustment period for the general public. The Metro representative introduced the FasTrak transponder, which is an electronic mechanism used to charge Express Lanes usage fees. Unbeknown to the majority of attendees, the transponder is not specific to any one vehicle or license plate. On the contrary, one transponder can be shared within a family, group of friends or office and is designed to promote carpooling. Please visit www.metroexpresslanes.net for detailed information.
Gold Line, Phase 2, Eastside Extension presented by Metro
Metro's Director of Countywide Planning and Development, Laura Cornejo provided a complete update on Phase 2 of the Eastside Gold Line Extension project that will continue beyond the current terminus at Atlantic Blvd. and Cesar Chavez Ave. in East Los Angeles. The project is considering two alternatives; A) a 4 station extension along the 60 Freeway into South El Monte, Whittier Narrows; or B) a 6 station extension through Montebello, Pico Rivera and into Whittier. An Environmental Impact Report is currently be conducted to adequately evaluate each option. More information can be found at www.metro.net.
State Route 710 (SR-710) Freeway Gap Closure presented by Metro
Perhaps the most contentious item on the Summit's agenda was the SR-710 Freeway Gap Closure project. According to Metro's Michelle E. Smith, the project is currently evaluating a series of transportation options to improve mobility and relieve congestion in the Alhambra, East LA, Monterey Park, South Pasadena and Pasadena area. The study considers five-multimodal alternatives:
The Spirit Bus System
Although there was no official presentation on the developments of the Monterey Park Spirit Bus System there was chatter in the room that new routes and amenities are being considered. Among the amenities, are front-load bicycle racks. The Spirit Bus system has not changed for over a decade and improvements are necessary to maintain an effective and efficient transit service, and meet the needs of the community.
BikeSGV and Day One is grateful to be invited to such a significant, regional transportation summit. The turnout was great and allowed for direct and open conversation about very important projects that are ultimately going to affect the future of transportation in the San Gabriel Valley. Needless to say, we look forward to advancing this conversation of multi-modal transportation, especially to incorporate a robust region-wide Bicycle Master Plan.