Boyonabike!

Life beyond the automobile in Southern California

New Headquarters for BikeSGV

BikeSGV director Javier Hernandez reports on the need for a regional bike plan at BikeSGV's new headquarters in El Monte.

Javier Hernandez reports on the regional bike plan at BikeSGV’s new headquarters in El Monte.

Friday evening, BikeSGV, the local bike advocacy organization in the San Gabriel Valley, celebrated the grand opening of its new headquarters in El Monte and gave an update on the area’s regional bike master plan.  About 60 people attended the event despite Friday’s heavy rain.  The event offered an opportunity to celebrate progress on the SGV’s regional bike master plan and provide the community with an opportunity to hear about the ambitious plans for the new headquarters.

BikeSGV members bid on silent auction items.

BikeSGV members bid on silent auction items.

The open house included food, music, and a silent auction to raise money for the new headquarters.  BikeSGV director Javier Hernandez touted plans for the new headquarters, housed at the former site of Mulhall elementary in El Monte, for bike safety classes, bike maintenance workshops, a new bike co-op at Fletcher Park, as well as the continuation of BikeSGV’s regular Bike Train community rides and its Women on Wheels (WoW) group rides.   The superintendent of the El Monte school district was on hand, as well as staff representatives from the office of County Supervisor Hilda Solis.  The new headquarters, located less than a block from the Rio Hondo Bikeway, has the potential to be a center of bike culture in the region.

Phase 1 of SGV regional bike master plan.

Phase 1 of SGV regional bike master plan.

Hernandez also reported on the progress of the regional bike master plan for the San Gabriel Valley.  The bike master plan is absolutely crucial to the efforts to build safer streets in the region and make bicycle transportation a more realistic possibility for more people.  Central to this effort has been a push by BikeSGV to get city governments to support the first phase of this plan.  I attended the Baldwin Park city council meeting where the bike plan was approved last month and I was impressed with BikeSGV’s ability to bring people from the community—especially youth—to attend the meeting and speak on behalf of the plan.  Four of the five cities involved in phase 1 of the plan have officially signed on (Baldwin Park, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, and El Monte), and the remaining city (South El Monte) will vote on whether to support the plan in early 2015.  I hope they do.

Daniella Alcedo (L) of the Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition, and Cuong Phu Trinh look over BikeSGV's plans at the open house.

Daniella Alcedo (L) of the Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition, and Cuong Phu Trinh look over BikeSGV’s plans at the open house.

There are also plans for a “Phase 2” of the regional bike plan that includes five cities along the corridor of the Gold Line extension from Pasadena to Azusa.  In addition, BikeSGV is working with Metro to schedule two CicLAvia-style open streets events for 2015 and 2016 in the San Gabriel Valley.

Let’s face it, the San Gabriel Valley has been a backwater when it comes to bike-friendly infrastructure.  As someone who lives and bikes in this mostly bike-unfriendly zone, I look with envy on what other SoCal communities are doing.  Despite opposition from anti-bike troglodytes like LA council member Gil Cedillo, LA is making strides toward multimodal transportation, Santa Monica has seen its bike mode share grow by leaps and bounds, and Long Beach aspires to be America’s most bike-friendly city with its impressive network of bike lanes.  By comparison, it has been frustrating to see the San Gabriel Valley, with a few small exceptions, lag behind these other areas of the Southland in making the streets safer for people on bikes.  But Friday’s event is an indication that things may be changing.

I’ll admit I’m impatient for change.  We need more bike infrastructure, better bike infrastructure, and we needed it yesterday.  But it’s gratifying to see that after so many years of inaction, the San Gabriel Valley may finally become more accommodating for people on bikes.  Getting the various cities to sign on to a regional bike plan has been no small feat, and BikeSGV activists are to be congratulated for their hard work.  I’m hopeful that this new headquarters will enable the group to build on this foundation and grow the bike culture of the region.  Is it too much to hold out hope that we may be on the cusp of real infrastructure changes in the San Gabriel Valley?  As far as I’m concerned, these positive steps BikeSGV is taking to make the region a better, safer place to ride are very good news, indeed.

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7 thoughts on “New Headquarters for BikeSGV

  1. I’m just waiting for them to open that Metro Bike Hub at El Monte Station. What has it been… two years plus since they were supposed to open it?

  2. Congrats on this! Great to see that different cities are getting behind on the plan. Makes it a little easier for the cities sitting on the fence. Getting a CicLAvia thing going can really put you guys on the map too! Hope to see some great things happening in your hood there!

    Now to carry on with my rant………

    “and Long Beach aspires to be America’s most bike-friendly city with its impressive network of bike lanes.”

    You’re talking about LB, California right? I’ve been living here for well over 20 years and I arrived to LB with my bike tied to my bike rack of my van. I live 2 miles from downtown here. So I think I do know a little about the scene here. Every time I look at LB on Goggle maps and click on the “bike” option I get pretty f’ing embarrassed that people believe we’re some kind of nirvana here! Really unless you live downtown LB, there’s really not much in the way of infrastructure. If it wasn’t for LA river and San Gabriel river, it would look even bleaker! You want to see some fairly decent infrastructure? Look at our neighbors south, Huntington Beach. That’s how a city’s infrastructure should look like. Grid pattern and covers the whole city.

    That’s all 🙂

    • Haha! Fair enough. Note that I said LB “aspires” to be bike friendly, which is different than actually having achieved it. It’s all relative. My experience is mostly with the downtown area, which seems almost like Copenhagen when compared to, say Pasadena, or my commute from El Monte through Arcadia—the latter a city that practically seems to dare cyclists to take their chances on its unsafe streets (and has chosen not to be part of the regional bike plan, BTW). No cyclist I know is satisfied with the bike infrastructure in the US. I even hear Portlanders complain about the inadequacy of their city’s bike infrastructure, while it seems like heaven to me, because I’m used to so little. Don’t worry, I’m sure when (not if) the SGV catches up to Long Beach and Huntington Beach, I’ll still find streets that need better treatment for bikes. It’s a process of changing our infrastructure that every city, even Long Beach, needs to continue.

      • You also said, “with its impressive network of bike lanes” and I maintain that there really isn’t anything in the way of an “impressive network of bike lanes if you take away” the LA river trail and the San Gabriel trail. Those two trails are nice to ride on if you’re just some recreational that needs to put in a few miles, but there ain’t nothing on it! Very few if any can use the trail to help them get partly to their favorite shop. It’s there cause there’s a river there. It’s not like anyone blazed a bike lane cause they saw a need.

        Huntington Beach infrastructure isn’t laid out for bringing too much praise to it, but it is a fairly impressive network. The streets are still a race track for the cars there. Doesn’t really give kids or noobies any confidence in hitting the streets. This is why, IMHO, why when there is a car vs bike collision, it very often evolves into a fatality in the OC area. Now if a city was state something like, “no speeding allowed in this city”. They might have a secure road infrastructure for cars, bikes, peds and pretty much anyone that uses the roads if they back up this declaration. You back that up with for anyone getting a ticket for driving 5 mph or higher of the posted speed on any of the streets of that city. You do that and you’ll make a safer city with very little financial input at all. Word gets around with that too!

      • Okay, okay! You’ve convinced me that, despite my own enjoyment of riding on some of its bike lanes and its silver award from the League of American Bicyclists’ bike friendly community program, Long Beach is an anti-bike hell hole. I’d still submit that it’s less of a hell hole than Pasadena or the rest of the SGV.

  3. Correction above: “impressive network of bike lanes” if you take away…………….

    Yeah I agree that it’s less of a hell hole than SGV, it just has nothing that comes close to an “impressive network of bike lanes”………..unless you live in a small area downtown and stay in the area. Then I guess you could rightfully say that. To tell you the truth, it wasn’t that bad getting around before the “improvements”.

    What LB really needs is avenues that a biker can take heading east to west and vice-versa. The planners were made aware of this but it wasn’t an easy plan to accomplish. Plus it didn’t have that pizazz that they were looking for.

    • Yes, you know it seems so simple to ask cities that they provide good east-west as well as north-south routes for bikes. Yet so few do. Thus it becomes a challenge to get around by bike. Then city officials wonder (or maybe they don’t even care) why more people don’t bike. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re making a few positive steps and we’ve got to keep the pressure on all our city officials—even in places like Long Beach.

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