City General Plan on City Council Agenda Tonight

That's Tuesday, February 27th.

There's a big story about the general plan here.

They’ve got a link to a map with various mixed use projects around the city, but the map’s too small to read unless you have a really big screen. And if you blow it up, then the resolution leaves a little to be desired.

The funny thing is if you add up all the restaurants and retail from all seven projects (including the one approved by the previous planning commission and city council majorities, and the ones not yet even considered by the current planning commission and city council majorities), it’s still only about half the retail footage of the Wal-Mart Supercenter, alone.

If you only consider the ones that the current planning commission has approved, the traffic impact of all three of them in a day is less than the traffic impact of the Wal-Mart Supercenter in an hour. And theWal-Mart brings all those trips to one location, rather than spreading them out across the city.

So how can it be that people who ignored concerns over traffic from the Wal-Mart supercenter are suddenly up in arms over the traffic from these much smaller developments? And why is Wal-Mart fronting them the money to raise this ruckus?

Staff given direction on plan

The city council suggested several changes to the draft plan.  It will now go through the EIR process.  The draft EIR is scheduled to be finished in late April/early May, with final adoption of the general plan at the end of May.

There are many, many things I'd like to say about this, but I don't have time to do it all at once.  So I'll start with one today, and periodically post additions.

Councilmember Clark gave the impression that some of the suggestions made by Councilmember Low were being made 'without any study.'  That's completely misleading, because the whole EIR process still lies ahead.  The council didn't adopt a general plan last night.  It directed staff on which "preferred alternative" the council wanted an EIR on.  Nothing that was done last night irreversibly commits the city to anything.

So, incidentally, if you got a mailer recently that said this "might be your last chance" to address the council on this issue, you were lied to.  Just thought you'd like to know.

Racism? In Rosemead? I am shocked

SHOCKED to discover that there is racism in Rosemead.  Yep, interesting blogging from SGVN reporter Jennifer McClain, who attended our 5.5 hour long city council meeting last night.

[And it's not just what they say, but how they say it.  You get the feeling they don't think Asians belong in *their* city]

Incidentally, neither do renters.  Or, maybe they just don't deserve to have a say in the city's general plan.  At least that seemed to be Margaret Clark's point at the start of the meeting.  Or perhaps I misheard?

The Definition of Insanity

I was happy to see my definition of insanity make it on the "Leftovers from City Hall" blog, linked above.  I think this is the real key to understanding the importance of getting a new general plan adopted in our city.

For those not interested in following the link, I gave the working definition for insanity:  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

So many people riled up over the general plan revision are saying these new mixed use projects are going to bring traffic to Rosemead.  But the thing is, the traffic is already here.

Rosemead is a small city--just 5.5 square miles.  The vast majority of the traffic on our major arterials is from people driving through our city--folks from Montebello trying to get to Pasadena, or folks from El Monte trying to get to Alhambra or people from Monterey Park trying to get to San Gabriel, etc., etc.  Most of the rest of the traffic is people from Rosemead leaving our town to get somewhere else, or returning home from a visit to another town.

So here's the deal--right now, we get all of the downside of traffic (congestion, air pollution, noise, wear and tear on our roads that we need to pay to fix), but none of the benefits (jobs, tax revenue, entertainment and dining choices).  And that's because there just aren't a lot of things in Rosemead that either keep many of us in town, or attract people from other towns to spend money in Rosemead.

So if we stay with the current general plan what can we expect to happen?  That's where the definition of insanity comes in.  Under the plan we've had for the past twenty years, we've gotten more traffic, more congestion, more mansionization--but fewer dining choice, fewer shopping choices, and fewer entertainment choices.  So if we keep the plan pretty much just the way it is, it would be insane to think that we'd get anything other than more of the same.

Next up--why don't we "take care of traffic," first?

The Definition of Insanity

I'm going to show my age here... the old Ole's site is always busy with people coming to eat. I wish I knew the real name of the place, but we call it the Old Ole's mall.

It's on Valley, and it's crammed full of Asian restaurants.

My main complaint with this, and the other development at Garvey and San Gabriel (where the K-Mart was, LULZ), is that they put too many stores in without making enough parking. Parking overflows onto the residential streets. High density is fine with me, but they need adequate parking.

Also, the back of the mall on Garvey stinks something nasty. They need to fix that problem too. Other than that, I like going there.

The Definition of Insanity

I have never had a problem with finding parking at the "old Ole's."  My secret is to park on the east side of the mall.  It's often relatively empty even when cars are lining up on the other side of the building.

I'm not sure, but there might also be some parking behind the building.

Parking at the old K-Mart is more of a problem.  But the stink 'behind' this shopping area has more to do with the day laborers relieving themselves than the traffic, I think.

The council is working with the public safety center and the Sheriff's Department to address this situation.  It's a problem that was 20 or 30 years in the making, so you can't expect an overnight solution.

As for parking, I usually have no trouble finding parking there, either (but I don't go there as often as I go to the old Ole's).  It's definitely better than the parking situation in San Gabriel's Great Chinese Mall.  (Incidentally, that's another example of Rosemead keeping density relatively low compared to its neighbors.  My "eyeball test" says the floor area ratio (FAR) of the Garvey/San Gabriel mall is less than .50.  It's probably about .40.  By contrast, the FAR at the Great Chinese Mall is probably over 1.00, which is why, even with underground parking, it's almost impossible to find a space.)

(And, to tie it in to my traffic flow article, that's also why I almost never shop there, and I avoid taking Valley past Del Mar and past New when I can help it).