Orange Grove Boulevard Road Diet Opponents Hold 'Victory Party'

Members of Keep Pasadena Moving celebrate cancellation of pedestrian and bicycle program on Orange Grove Avenue

Published : Monday, November 5, 2018 | 6:32 AM

Scores of Orange Grove area residents in East Pasadena gathered Sunday afternoon at Gwinn Park to celebrate a recent decision by the City Council to drop plans for a 1.8 mile “road diet” on Orange Grove Avenue which would have reduced the number of traffic lanes while adding pedestrian and bicycle lane features.

Group members shared a celebratory cake and posed for a group photo. Two City Councilmembers, Gene Masuda and Victor Gordo, joined the group for the photo.

The group had attracted hundreds of noisy and angry residents last March to an informational meeting at Pasadena City College’s Foothill campus. The Keep Pasadena Moving group protesting the plan vastly outnumbered supporters of the road diet, many of them bicycle commuters, as well as City staff, who tried to explain the proposed changes.

The unfunded proposal has now been eliminated from the future projects section of the City’s Capital Improvement Program, although two new traffic signals from a related plan will still be installed.

The Keep Pasadena Moving group came together quickly primarily through social media, and seemed to surprise and overwhelm City representatives at the March community meeting. The following day, City Manager Steve Mermell announced that there would be no second meeting to discuss the project. It was dead in the water.

Said Councilmember Gordo at a City Council meeting months later, “The plan had unintended, but foreseeable, circumstances.”

Gordo had agreed with opponents to the plan who feared that slowing traffic on Orange Grove would cause traffic to spill onto local streets, creating dangerous conditions in the various neighborhoods.

The Councilmember appeared Sunday at the gathering, and thanked the members, for “bringing just a little more confidence to City Hall and a reminder that we represent people, not plans.”

“This is just closure,” said Frank Duerr, founder of Keep Pasadena Moving. “This is a really nice way to close out the project and also, to bring in the City Council, who helped us get this done. I think this has been a very important process.”

Asked about concerns expressed by some Councilmembers over future attempts to install bike lanes elsewhere in Pasadena, Duerr said, “It’s interesting. First, you have to decide, ‘Why is there a need for a bike lane?’ We know it’s a mandate from the State to put in ‘Complete Streets,’ but,…”

Switching gears, Duerr said, “I don’t think anybody’s against bikes and bike lanes, but I think there are other places to do this sort of thing.”

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