April 21 Neighborhood Meeting Summary


E-mail reminders


5 members


Susan brought green seedless grapes


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:30 am

  • Orange Grove Lanes Reduction status
    • Summary:
      • The plans to re-stripe Orange Grove to add buffered bicycle lanes and reduce it to one vehicle lane in each direction have been at least postponed and will be reconsidered.
      • Orange Grove Blvd will not be resurfaced this summer because PWP needs to replace a 90 year old water main first.
    • The fuller story —
    • The City’s Transportation Department wanted to reduce Orange Grove Blvd to one lane for cars in each direction, adding “buffered” bicycle lanes on each side and a center turn lane. Just as was done to Sierra Madre Villa Ave.
    • They wanted to do it this summer as part of re-striping the road after repaving from Lake Ave to Sierra Madre Villa.
    • As a result of the uproar caused by their doing it to Sierra Madre Villa without first informing the public, they promised to have “outreach” before doing it to any other road.
    • An “outreach” meeting was held on March 22 at the PCC Community Education Center on Foothill Blvd.
    • There was a large turnout for the meeting, easily over 200 people.
    • The majority were opposed to reducing vehicle traffic lanes, but there were supporters also.
    • Mayor Terry Tornek and Councilmembers Gene Masuda and Margaret McAustin were present along with the City Manager Steve Mermell and several staff from the Transportation Dept.
    • Also present were several people from “The Arroyo Group”, the consulting firm the Transportation Dept hired to “analyze” the traffic on Orange Grove and advocate for changing the lanes.
    • The Mayor presided over the meeting.
    • At the beginning of the meeting the Mayor:
      • Described the process for the meeting as a 20 minute presentation by the Arroyo Group on what their analysis showed and what they were proposing be done, followed by public comment until everyone who wanted to speak was heard.
      • He requested patience with the presentation and introduced the consultants from the Arroyo Group.
      • He said the genesis for this proposal goes back to 2008 when the City found it wanted to adjust the speed limits lower, but found out that State law requires that a speed limit can only be enforced if it is set no lower then 85% of the average actual speed. (Essentially, the only way to lower the speed limit is to force the cars to go slower either through congestion or more forced stops).
      • He said that no decision has been made yet, and the City Council would have the final say when they would have to approve the contract for resurfacing.
      • He then announced that Pasadena Water & Power wants to replace a 90 year old water line under Orange Grove Blvd. “Sunset Reservoir to Sierra Madre”. So instead of this summer, resurfacing the street, and thus re-painting of lines, will be put off until the water line project is complete. That is expected to take until next year.
    • The presentation by The Arroyo Group consultants:
      • A PDF of their presentation is available online here:  https://citygis.cityofpasadena.net/docs/SaferStreets/OrangeGrove/Livable%20Orange%20Grove%20Blvd%20Resident%20Meeting.pdf
      • The presentation was repeatedly interrupted by unhappy and disbelieving attendees. So it wasn’t fully presented, and what was said could not be heard by everyone who might have been interested.
      • The first portion of the presentation was by Larry Morrison.
        • The Arroyo Group is composed of city planners and urban designers and is based in Pasadena. He has been in Pasadena since 1972.
        • He showed a historic picture of Orange Grove and said it was on of the oldest streets in Pasadena. It served the orange groves.
        • 672 homes between Lake and Sierra Madre Villa. Two schools between Sierra Madre Blvd and Altadena.
        • It is a travel corridor.
      • The next presenter was Phil Burns, a Principal at Arroyo Group and a lifelong resident of Pasadena.
        • Current speed limit is 40 mph due to California state rules for setting the limit. Current measured speeds are high enough that the 85th percentile speed in some stretches is 42 to 43.5 mph.
        • A bill was introduced in the state legislature around 2010 to change how limits are set but it “unfortunately” did not succeed. (That bill’s text was made available in subsequent days. Cannot remember where. It was very strange and seemed to be specific to Pasadena. No wonder it failed).
        • Presented a bunch of statistics about collisions, injuries, and deaths on Orange Grove. (The validity and relevance of these numbers to the proposed road diet are disputed by the opponents).
        • Claimed that “surveyors” knocked on the doors of all 672 homes on Orange Grove. (Of the relatively few who talked to the “surveyors”, there was an impression they were there to sell the proposal to them, not to honestly get their viewpoint).
        • They found that reducing to one vehicle lane in each direction between Sierra Madre Blvd and Altadena Drive had the potential to cause high traffic delays, so they recommended keeping two lanes in that block. They said that is the widest section of the street, so there would still be space for bike lanes. But they would narrow the vehicle lanes.
      • The next presenter was named something like Depak Hazak. He was a sub consultant to Arroyo Group and did the traffic analysis.
        • The traffic counts were taken at signalized intersections on weekday(s) in February during the hours of 7-9, 2-4, and 4-6.
        • The chart he showed claimed the lanes reduction would cause no increased delay eastbound at Sierra Madre Villa during evening rush hour.
    • Public comments
      • The Mayor said there were 150 people who had submitted cards requesting to speak. Speakers were called to the mic in the order in which the cards were submitted.
      • One commenter noted that they used 4 hour averages to determine delays, but the rush hours aren’t four hours long so those averages are very misleading.
      • Merging and transitions from 2 to 1 to 2 lanes is confusing and encourages collisions
      • Essentially extends rush hours
      • Harder to get across or onto street (except at signalized intersections) for all modes of travel because the vehicles are endlessly strung out without a break.
      • Proponents of change feel unsafe now, believe the proposed changes would make it better, and accuse opponents of being non-residents who are just unwilling to spend a little more time on their commutes.
      • Opponents recognize there are safety issues now, but believe the changes will make the overall situation worse.
      • Quite a few people left before their name was called for public comment, most people had left before the final comments.
      • In later comments, some supporters of reducing the traffic lanes said they felt that opponents were trying to intimidate or bully them. Certainly, some opponents were rude to supporters who tried to state their case. It was also stated that one opponent had tried to prevent supporters from filling out and submitting speaker cards.
      • Public comment was completed at 9:45 pm.
    • After public comment finished, the Mayor announced that the second meeting, scheduled for March 28 at Marshall, would be postponed to some future date. He said they clearly need to gather more data and answer many of the questions raised. Because of the water line delay, making a decision is not as urgent as it was thought to be.
    • The following day, City Manager Steve Mermell responded to questions by a resident stating:
      “Based on the large attendance last night, (thank you for being there) and the feedback received, we are going to postpone next week’s scheduled meeting indefinitely. It’s clear that while all residents want to enhance safety, the proposed road diet is likely too drastic of a change. Accordingly, City staff will be reassessing what approach we should pursue to address the safety concerns that have been raised as part of the conversations. This will involve further dialogue with residents of the area. Fortunately, because of the proposed Water Division project, which will delay the street resurfacing, we have additional time to formulate a community consensus.”
    • On March 25, the City distributed this press release:

      MARCH 28  LIVABLE ORANGE GROVE PROJECT MEETING POSTPONEDOn Thursday, March 22, hundreds of Pasadena residents joined Mayor Terry Tornek, Councilmembers Gene Masuda and Margaret McAustin, and City staff to discuss the proposed Orange Grove Boulevard. “Road Diet” project. Over 100 of the attendees provided public comment. There will be time for additional public comment before any decisions are made; however, for the reasons set forth below, the second community meeting that was scheduled for March 28 has been postponed until further notice.As was discussed at the meeting, the proposed timing for the resurfacing of Orange Grove Boulevard, which would necessarily precede any re-striping of the street to implement a “Road Diet”, is expected to be postponed for approximately twelve months to allow time for the Water and Power Department to install a proposed 3.5 mile water transmission line from Sunset Avenue to Sierra Madre Boulevard. In other words, any decision on the “Road Diet” is likewise being postponed.While the intent of the proposed “Road Diet” is to enhance safety, it is clear that there are many concerns regarding the potential impacts of the project as it has been proposed. These concerns have been taken to heart by the City representatives.Given delays caused by the water transmission line project, City staff has an opportunity to develop greater community dialog and to work toward an approach that is more likely to be accepted by the community. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available.

      “We are grateful to all those who participated at the meeting, or made their thoughts known previously. Pasadena’s engaged and informed citizenry is one of things that makes our community so special,” stated City Manager Steve Mermell.

      A copy of the presentation provided at yesterday’s meeting and project updates can be found at the project website located at http://saferstreets.cityofpasadena.net

  • Specific Plan Update Open House Summary
    • There were three “open house” style meetings with identical content to provide education about the Specific Plans. The last of these was at Victory Park on March 29.
    • There were hand outs which basically had the same information as is on the web site set up for the update process: http://www.ourpasadena.org/
    • There were tables set up for each of the Specific Plan areas. A large-scale map showed the area. Post it notes could be filled in with comments and stuck to the maps or on adjacent easels.
    • Consultants from the company the City hired to to public outreach staffed the various tables at the event try to answer question and listen to concerns.
    • You can view all the Specific Plan areas overlaid on google maps here:
    • Presumably the consultants are going to take all the comments and what they heard at the three meetings into consideration as they develop proposed updated details for the Specific Plans. The process is expected to take three years.
    • Councilmember Gene Masuda was present during the last half of the Victory Park open house, conversing with other attendees.
  • Spring Raffle at Hastings Branch Library until May 1
    • Now until May 1, 6:30 pm, the Spring Raffle is up and running at Hastings Branch Library.
    • This is timed for potential Mother’s Day presents, with gifts that might be appropriate.
    • Funds are specifically being raised to match the state MacGyver grant that Hastings staff applied for and won. The grant is paying for designing a plan for better space for holding larger events on the east side of the library and for rearranging existing bookshelves and acquiring movable bookshelves to accomplish a portion of the plan that has now been designed.
    • All the raffle items were donated for this raffle.
    • Raffle Items include:
      • Gift Certificate for your own Savor the Flavor Specialty Gifts and Award Winning Food Private Shopping Party – over $125 value
      • Two Tickets to A Noise Within Playhouse – a $130 value
      • Amazon Fire HD8 – a $90 value
      • Kidspace Family Pass – admission for up to four – a $56 value
      • Two Huntington Library and Gardens One Day Admission Passes – a $58 value
      • Two 2019 Rose Parade official viewing stand tickets – over $200 value
      • Original Artwork of Ecuadorian Child and Guidebook to Ecuador
    • Purchase raffle tickets at the Circulation Desk, put your phone number on them, and drop them in the entry box(es) for the prize(s) you are interested in.
  • 2018 Conference on Healthy Aging – April 28
    • “Adults age 50 and above are invited to enjoy a full slate of workshops, demonstrations, heath screenings and an exhibitor hall.”
    • Saturday April 28, 2018
      8 am – 1:30 pm
      First Church of the Nazarene
      3700 E Sierra Madre Blvd, Pasadena, 91107
    • Registration is required.
    • Here is the website, including the link to register:
  • CA Pizza Kitchen fundraiser for Hastings Branch Library on May 1
    • The California Pizza Kitchen at 99 N. Los Robles Ave in Pasadena (NW corner with Union St) is holding a fundraiser for The Friends of the Pasadena Public Library Hastings Associates to raise funds to match the MacGyver grant won by Hastings Branch Library.
    • The restaurant will donate 20% of the amount of food and beverages in any dine in, take out, online, catering, curbside, or directly placed delivery order on Tuesday May 1 in which the flyer is presented or the fundraiser mentioned at the time of placing the order.
    • The restaurant’s phone number is 626-585-9020.
    • Here is the flyer.
  • Helicopter flight tracking website
    • There has been some complaining about helicopter noise recently and questions as to whose helicopter is making the racket.
    • There is a website which tracks helicopter traffic and can be helpful in determining just where the helicopter(s) are and where they’ve come from.
    • http://heli-noise-la.com/
    • To see where the helicopter is, and has come from, click on the “Investigate with WebTrak”.
    • If you click on the icon of a helicopter, it brings up some information about it, with three little icons.
    • The middle icon, of an airplane, extends its track to show everywhere it has been.
    • If you see that it came from Oak Grove Park in Pasadena, then you know it is a Pasadena police helicopter.
    • You can also use the time control at the bottom left of the page to go back and look at what was happening earlier in the day.
    • Even without the tracking web page, there are a few rules of thumb.
      • If the helicopter is circling, round and round, it is most likely law enforcement.
      • If the helicopter is largely staying in one place, it is most likely filming something.
      • If there are several helicopters not circling, they are likely all from t.v. stations. They may take turns moving into place for the best view of whatever has drawn them.
      • Law enforcement helicopters are allowed to fly much lower then general air traffic.
      • Helicopters flying in a formation (usually a pair) are most likely military passing through.
      • Helicopters with a big tube or bucket dangling below them are most likely going to or from a fire somewhere.
      • Many aircraft use the 210 as a guide for going up/down the coast through congested LA Country. Going through the airspace above Pasadena allows them to avoid going through the large airport take-off/approach traffic control areas.
  • Our meeting schedule for next fiscal year
    • We have to put in our request for meeting room reservations on May 18 at 10 am for the coming July 2018 – June 2019 fiscal year.
    • Question raised as to whether we should request the same 3rd Saturday of each month as we had this year (because the 2nd Saturday was supposedly taken)?
    • Or should we try to return to the schedule of the previous 12 years, the 2nd Saturday of each month?
    • Decided to try for the 3rd Saturday again, at the same time.
    • If 3rd Sat is not available, see about 2nd Sat, and could go later in day but not earlier.
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month in our neighborhood, from crimemapping.com: (note that time is typically when reported, not when it happened)
      • Saturday March 17, 9:29 am, 3200 block La Tierra St (shown toward Sierra Madre Villa), Vehicle Burglary
      • Sunday March 18, 7:24 pm, Foothill Blvd at Santa Paula Ave, Drugs/Alcohol violations
      • Monday March 19, 1:17 pm, 3200 block E. Foothill Blvd (shown about where CAS is), Petty Theft
      • Wednesday March 21, 1:33 am, 3200 block Del Vina St (shown east of Santa Paula), Grand Theft Auto
      • Wednesday March 21, 8:58 am, 300 block Santa Paula Ave (shown near Alameda St), Grand Theft Auto
      • Thursday March 22, 11:43 am, 3200 block E. Foothill Blvd (shown near the bar), Grand Theft
      • Saturday March 24, 4:54 am, 300 block Avocado Ln (shown at Estado intersection), Drugs/Alcohol violations
      • Saturday March 24, 8:45 pm, 300 block Santa Paula Ave (shown just south of Estado St), Assault/Domestic Violence
      • Saturday March 31, 9:27 pm, 3200 block Estado St (shown mid-block), Theft from insecure vehicle
    • At least one unlocked car on Del Vina was ransacked about 2 am on Saturday April 7. Security camera video showed three people involved, including a girl with a pony tail. Apparently a police report was not filed. Note that it is important to file reports on every incident so that patterns may be noticed and the police will devote resources. No report = nothing happening. Reports for non-major crimes can be filed online.
    • There was a residential burglary in the Canyon Wash neighborhood, 3100 block of Jeffery Ct, about 2:45 pm Sunday April 8. Details reported on Nextdoor. Residents were not home. A “tall, lanky man wearing a black hoodie” was seen hopping a fence into the backyard. Sliding glass door was broken. Alarm went off. Police were called. The thief took jewelry and ran out the front door. A bright blue 2017 Chrysler 200 with paper license plates pulled up; the thief jumped in. They took off east on Sierra Madre Blvd. Police arrived shortly thereafter but did not catch the thieves.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss

Next meeting is May 19, 2018 at 11:15 am, in Hastings Branch Library meeting room

Adjourned about 12:30?