El Monte: Crossroads of Progress?

That title isn’t as sarcastic as it may sound, as it seems our much-neglected San Gabriel Valley has been quietly moving ahead with a bit of progressive transportation infrastructure.

Last week, I rode from Long Beach to Arcadia along the Los Angeles River and Rio Hondo bike paths, running a little handlebar-mounted videocamera the whole time. I was filming the paths and the river for the GRID Consortium, a project I’m involved in that has its own plans for progressive transportation in that corridor. In the process, I rode the Rio Hondo trail for the first time, and in El Monte I came upon the scene in the photo below:

Metrolink Viaduct and El Monte Busway cross over the Rio Hondo bike path
That’s the bike path in the foreground, of course, while the horizon is defined by a Metrolink train on its viaduct–below which is a span of the El Monte Busway!

And for good measure, a little airport a mile or two beyond.

In other words, a wealth of transportation options besides the car. Far better than in most parts of the Mighty Megalopolis of LA.

This extends beyond El Monte. While Arcadia, where I left the bikepath, can be pretty bleak–Peck Road is an insult to the soul–Temple City, a little ways west, was full of people walking from local store to local store. And that same Temple City has just passed a bike plan that includes what will probably be the county’s second separated bike lanes (after the ones in Long Beach).

Another few miles of pedaling takes you to South Pasadena, which also just passed a bike plan and is starting to lay paint on the ground.

Furthermore, the Rio Hondo isn’t the only local watercourse sporting a bicycle freeway: the San Gabriel and Santa Anita rivers also do–and the former will take you all the way to Seal Beach if you want.

Tired of pedaling? No problem: the Metro Gold Line extension is a-building already, reaching eastward from Sierra Madre, and of course you can take your bike on any of its trains. (Which can drop you off a block from the Pigeon if you need a bike fixed…or a bike fix!)

So all hail El Monte and the San Gabriel Valley!

While we’re thinking about it, check out the BikeSGV website.

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I use to bike through SGV and really enjoyed the bicycle infrastructure there. People are rather surprised how well developed some of these bike paths are. I’ve done the ride along these same paths to Seal Beach a couple of times and it was fantastic. Thanks for representing!

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