New Bus Route Connects City to Scenery

 Hikers from the Sierra Club and CAA (Creative Artists Agency) Foundation take newly opened Route 88 Pasadena Transit from downtown Pasadena to the Sam Merrill Trailhead on North Lake Avenue in Altadena.Roberto Morales from the Sierra Club explains the different trails at the Cobb EstateRoberto Morales from the Sierra Club points out poison oak to his hikers.Roberto Morales from the Sierra Club leads his hikers on a short hike through the San Gabriel MountainsHikers from the Sierra Club and CAA (Creative Artists Agency) Foundation start the Sam Merrill trail.Hikers take in the view of the San Gabriel ValleyThe newly opened Route 88 Pasadena Transit waits for hikers at the Memorial Park Station on North Raymond Ave in Pasadena.Roberto Morales from the Sierra Club takes the newly opened Route 88 Pasadena Transit at the Memorial Park StationRoberto Morales from the Sierra Club leads his hikers on a short hike through the San Gabriel MountainsThe newly opened Route 88 Pasadena Transit waits for hikers at the Cobb Estates on North Lake in Altadena

By BRIAN DAY | Photography by JAMES CARBONE

3:04 pm | April 8, 2018


Agents and staff from the Creative Artists Agency joined with the Sierra Club on Sunday to be among the first groups to take a ride on Pasadena Transit’s brand new Route 88, connecting the Memorial Park Gold Line Station in bustling Pasadena to the tranquility of the Sam Merrill Trail in Altadena, at the entrance to the Angeles National Forest, in 23 minutes.

The new route, designed to help give more people access to nature, kicked off a 6-month trial run this weekend, offering free rides between the Memorial Park Station and the trailhead, near Lake Avenue and Loma Alta Drive.

Following a launch ceremony on Saturday, the Sierra Club and the CAA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the sports and entertainment agency, both longtime advocates of such so-called “transit-to-trails” projects, gathered a group of two-dozen hikers Sunday morning to try it out for a trail hike and picnic.

“Pasadena is one of the key cities because they have a lot of trailheads,” said Sierra Club San Gabriel Mountains Lead Organizer and Nature For All Chairman Roberto Morales, who led the hike, pointing out poison oak and “cowboy cologne” California sagebrush shrubs.

The forest makes up two-thirds of L.A. County’s open space, attracting nearly as many visitors as Yosemite National Park, despite having far fewer resources, he said. “It’s a huge recreational resource.”

And the Sam Merrill Trail is a prime example, Morales said. The area, which includes the Cobb Estate once owned by the Marks Brothers, is rich in both history and natural habitats.

Andy Garland, a CAA I.T. executive, took the bus ride and hike with his 7-year-old daughter, Lily.

“This is great for us. We live nearby and I think we’re going to take advantage of it,” he said.

“It’s a good bridge between the natural elements and what you’d consider more urban elements,” Garland said. “I hope a lot of people is it and maybe it becomes permanent. Anything that makes it easier for most people to get to the outdoors is phenomenal.”

CAA Foundation Co-Director Rachel Kropa said Sunday’s outing was part of a series of planned projects and excursions planned by the foundation for “Earth Month.”

“Through the month of April, we’re doing a lot of advocacy,” she said.

The foundation has long been primarily involved in public education projects, but began shifting to a more active role in the community over the past 18 months or so, Kropa said.

Route 88 was initially funded for a two-month test run, but Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and her colleagues elected to extend the test run to six months, Morales said.

Buses on the new route between the station and trailhead will run every 30 minutes between 7:05 a.m. and 4:35 p.m., with the last bus departing the trailhead at 5 p.m., city officials said. The cost to ride will be standard Pasadena Transit fare of 75 cents for adults, 50 cents for kids, 35 cents for seniors and 35 cents for the disabled.

Additional sponsors of the Route 88 project include the Trust for Public Land, Edison International, the Wilderness Society, Metro, Nature for All and the U.S. Forest Service.

 

Additional Reference:  Nature Lover? Hiker? Get Your Kicks On Route 88, the New Transit-to-Trails Bus Service