City Council Decides To Pass on Metro’s Open Streets Event

Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

The Glendora City Council voted 3-2 last week to not apply for grant funding to participate in a massive street event with four other eastern San Gabriel Valley cities.

The Open Streets event, which would occur some time before the end of the 2018 calendar year, was envisioned with the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona and Claremont. Concerns some council members made regarded the short timeframe for the grant application, the cost and the need to speak with the community beforehand.

Applications for Metro’s Open Streets Cycle 2 grant funding are due by midnight May 12, not enough time, Staff said, to hear concerns from the community and plan a route and closures.

City Staff expressed worry over the impact posed on residents and businesses, which could experience up to 10 hours of limited access with roughly 16 hard closures of city intersections and 11 soft closures.

It is not even known if the Glendora Police Department has the staffing available to manage the street closures, City Staff said.

One potential route would start near the Citrus College/APU Station, follow Foothill Boulevard east, south on Glendora Avenue, west on Ada Avenue, South on Vermont Avenue and east on Route 66.

Open Streets

“Given the scope of route, we strongly believe that engaging the community prior to committing to other communities and Metro is the best course of action,” staff said.

City Staff was also unsure of the benefits of the Open Streets event compared to the “significant inconveniences” to residents and businesses on a chosen route.

Open Streets is an initiative by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority that temporarily closes streets to automobile traffic, allowing cyclists, pedestrians and others to promote the livable cities movement.

The city would have to match 20 percent of the final grant amount, which would likely be in-kind through staff hours involved in planning and implementing the event.

While total costs remain unknown, they may exceed any grant amount given, said City Manager Chris Jeffers.

Mayor Gene Murabito supported approving the grant application, given that an event coming to nearby cities this June will provide the city a window into how Open Streets events impact neighboring communities.

Metro will hold 626 Golden Streets on June 26, winding on an 18-mile route through South Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa.

If Glendora entered into the grant, the city would have up to five months to see what other cities have done and develop a plan, Murabito said.

Council member Mendel Thompson said he would rather spend funding the city would have to contribute if awarded the grant on other matters affecting the city.

“The capacity for our city to manage this in my view exceeds what we currently have and I don’t think that that’s wise,” Thompson said.

Council members Boyer, Nelson and Davis all agreed that while the event would be a great addition to the city, the timing is too soon to prepare staff, speak with other cities and formulate a plan.