"Let them eat cake!"

At the last city council meeting, Paul S. stood up and spoke very eloquently on the issue of the many local residents who take recreational walks in southern Rosemead and South San Gabriel.  The route that Paul has been taking for the past 18 years (I think that's what I heard him say) is the same route I used to take when I lived down there:  north on Delta, east on Rush, west and then south on San Gabriel, east on Rush, then back up Delta.  As I recall, it's about 3 3/4 miles for the whole circuit, and it took just over an hour to complete.  It used to be a nice and safe walk because you didn't have to cross any busy streets in your whole circuit.

Of course, now the east side of Delta and the west side of Walnut Grove are closed to walkers.  The north side of Rush is sometimes also off-limits to walkers.  This forces those who still wish to walk to make at least two and sometimes four crossings of streets that can get very busy.  That increases the risk of this walk, as demonstrated by the recent pedestrian fatality at the corner of Walnut Grove and Rush.  That man, by the way, was crossing in a crosswalk, with the "Walk" sign.

Also, if that Wal-Mart ever opens, even if the sidewalks are restored, this walk will never be the same.  The increased traffic along Rush and Walnut Grove and the many cars entering and exiting the parking lot are going to make this walk a lot more stressful and a lot less pleasant.

I would note that I raised this exact point during the scoping hearing at the Double Tree back in 2003.  Yet, I don't think the effect of construction and operation of a Super Wal-Mart on recreational walkers was ever addressed in the EIR.  That's another shortcoming of the EIR, and an issue to raise another day.

Today, what I'm writing about is the callous disregard that Jay, Gary and Maggie showed for the concerns of a local retiree who can no longer take his afternoon walk because of actions permitted by the aforementioned individuals.  Their response was just appalling.  Gary Taylor responded to Paul's concerns with the nonsensical:  "I have video tape of people walking on the east side of Walnut Grove."

Guess what, Gary?  I have video tape of some friends of mine on a camping trip, sitting on a burning log.  Just 'cause something is on video tape does not mean that it's safe.  And it doesn't mean that it's a substitute.  "Cross Walnut Grove and Rush twice each"?  Why not just say, "Let them eat cake"?

Paul has a valid point:  Why have you allowed Wal-Mart to close off access to these public sidewalks?  And why for so long?  It's apparently been over a month since Walnut Grove and portions of Rush have been affected, and it's been weeks since Wal-Mart stole the easement along Delta.  If they needed to close access for a few days while they poured concrete and paved the entrance way, that's one thing.  The conditions of permission to build says they're supposed to pave the entry ways as soon as feasible (to reduce dust).  But this isn't what they've done.  They've closed off access, they've removed the old sidewalk, but they are definitely NOT replacing that driveway as soon as feasible.  These are just a few more examples of the city council not enforcing the conditions of approval, and of the city council letting Wal-Mart do pretty much what every they darn well please.  Simply appalling.