Phase 1 of the San Gabriel Valley Transit feasibility study is complete. Community workshops were held Tuesday to present concept routes for Bus Rapid Transit — and other “priority transit corridors” where no BRT runways will be developed.
These zero-emission bus routes would have priority at traffic lights, use a number of dedicated priority lanes, make limited stops at upgraded stations, and provide frequent services in both directions throughout the day. They would be in Subways”Equity-oriented communitiesin the lower San Gabriel Valley, which lack high-quality transit.
For short-term implementation (within 10-15 years), two routes are recommended: Valley Boulevard and Rosemead Boulevard. See the red rules below.
East-West – Valley Boulevard
Looking at Valley Blvd’s route, from Union Station to the Pomona Transit Center, you’ll soon see that only the center portion of Valley is marked red for special lanes (phase 1 BRT). West of El Monte it is blue (Rapid Bus Priority Corridor), meaning there will be no bus lanes. Instead, this part of Valley could have “express services with fewer stops and faster speeds”.
The technical project manager of the study, Brent Ogdensaid this is because Valley Blvd in San Gabriel “is being reconfigured to handle higher levels of vehicle traffic. The improvements planned in that area basically preclude bus lane conversion.” […] their focus is on moving cars and moving trucks.”
The Valley Blvd concept was favored by three potential east-west concepts because of the larger expected number of riders (in 2042). However, parts of the other concepts were not completely dropped.
West of the El Monte bus station there are options (marked in pink) for bus lane development en route to Metro Gold Line’s Atlantic Station in East LA (near Monterey Park): either Garvey Avenue to Atlantic Boulevard, or Garvey to Potrero Grande Drive to Pomona Boulevard.
To the east, the valley route leads to Hacienda Boulevard in the Industrie/La Puente area. It’s still not certain whether the study will eventually recommend one east-west path coming from Valley and Hacienda, or several, but there are two options in pink (each route is on either side of the railway in City of Industry):
- The BRT continues on Valley, makes a short detour along Grand Avenue to Temple Avenue, with stops at Mt San Antonio College and Cal Poly Pomona, and rejoins Valley where it becomes Holt Avenue in Pomona and terminates at the Pomona Transit Center.
- At Hacienda, the BRT heads south to Colima Road (past the numerous malls in the Puente Hills and Rowland Heights), then to Golden Springs Drive at Diamond Bar, and back north to Mission Boulevard, ending at the Pomona Transit Center.
It should be noted that the Working Draft Vision Plan card also includes a Rapid Bus Priority Corridor (blue) along the length of Amar Road from Bassett to Mount SAC.
North-South – Rosemead Boulevard
The other red line on the map is Rosemead Blvd, a little north, but mostly south of Garvey. North of Valley, however, the concept changes from a dedicated BRT track to a blue “transit priority” extending to the Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line stations. The map shows four other north-south running “transit priority corridors” terminating at Gold Line stations near the foothills of San Gabriel Mountain. On their south side, they run to the Gateway Cities, East LA and North OC.
Ogden explained why he preferred a short-term BRT project on Rosemead Blvd: “It was by far the most popular service generating the most riders, and then it kind of subsides as you go further east . [Santa Anita/Peck] there’s about two-thirds of Rosemead coming in, and then maybe 50 percent of that with Azusa and Citrus-Grand. The reason the ridership is lower to the east is that the densities are actually lower in terms of population, employment […] land use is decreasing to the east.”
Subway or foot?
During the workshop, some asked how the routes would be distributed per agency. “The Metro service area is basically about the 605, and then the Foothill service area is essentially east of the 605.” said Ogden. “So the North-South services, we would expect the operators to operate the services that fall within their district. The East-West services would require cooperation. One of the two operators could choose to provide the service and the other could potentially enter into a cost-sharing agreement to provide an on-going service, or it’s even possible that there could be a transfer of the service with El Monte can take place. ”
Financing and Cost Forecast
$635.5 million has been allocated from Measure R for improvements in transportation resulting from this study. The website of the UNSG Council of Governments says: “the […] The transit feasibility study was initiated after the Metro Board decision in February 2020 to withdraw the State Route 60 alternative in the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project to extend the Metro L Line (Gold).”
Together, the Valley and Rosemead concepts are valued at $615 million to $905 million. That does not count if several east-west routes are built. With the $635 million, Ogden said, “We can definitely do some east to west segments, and some north to south segments. […] we can certainly afford to develop these types of programs in the San Gabriel Valley.” See the chart below of what’s estimated to be within budget.
Comments on the Study Comments can be submitted at: [email protected] or 888-574-8264
Streetsblog’s San Gabriel Valley coverage is supported by Foothill Transit, which provides car-free travel throughout the San Gabriel Valley with connections to the new Gold Line Stations on the Foothills and Commuter Express lines that travel to the heart of downtown LA. To plan your trip, go to Pedestrian Transit. “Foothill Transit. Getting to Good Places.”
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