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When All Is Said And Dunn
By Bill Dunn
The workers and the construction gear have left the battle scene on Rosemead Boulevard. The City leaders have had their little dog and pony show telling us just how fast they completed their task and how our lives have been vastly improved by the unwanted changes they have shoved down our throats.
Now that we are no longer choking on dust and asphalt fumes that had been kicked up over the last year, it is now time for those of us who live on the front lines, and those who must use Rosemead on a regular basis, to formulate an opinion on how effective it is. From my view point, which is right in the front row on Rosemead, I can say without hesitation that it is far worse than I imagined it would be.
I had raised some of my concerns before the assault began, but was summarily blown off by Carl Blum who was the head of the “Beautification and Safety” project task force at the time. I feel somewhat vindicated now that I see what we are left with. Every time the “B and S” project is brought up as the topic of conversation I have yet to hear anyone say anything positive about the end results.
The general consensus is that it is neither more beautiful or safer. The two things we were being promised from the get go. Unfortunately there aren’t enough pages in this fine publication to list all of the problems associated with this project. So let’s just focus on a few of the more glaring mistakes.
First there is the “beautification” aspect or lack of it. When the call went out to “bring me shrubbery!” they must not have been too specific, because what they came back with was some of the most pathetic ground cover and trees I have ever seen.
The ground cover that was used in the little planters on the sides of the street have looked like they were dead since they were put in and have gradually got worse. The best that can be said is that they were almost green when they put them in, but now are a disgusting shade of tan. If any city saw these next to your home you would be cited and forced to clear them away because they would pose a fire hazard.
Then there are the trees. At the “entrance” to Temple City to the South they start off good and then quickly stumble. We start with the grandeur of some beautiful palm trees that in one blink of an eye are gone and are replaced for the duration with rows of perhaps the ugliest and most annoying trees that god ever created, the liquid amber trees or Liquidambar styraciflua to all of you botanists out there.
If you are having a hard time picturing this irritating species they are the ones that produce a useless “fruit” that are spiky little spheres that don’t do anything but make a mess. Slang terms for them are “sticker balls”, “space balls”, “gum balls”, or my personal favorite “monkey balls.” When walking you need to avoid them, oh and when you are riding a bike you should definitely stay away from them if you want a smooth ride.
That last part is particularly ironic considering these trees are planted right next to the newly installed bike path. We haven’t reached the point where these trees are producing massive amounts of their useless fruit yet, just wait, it is only a matter of time. At this point the only thing that the bike riders need to contend with is the stench of the unpicked up dog poop in the planters that don’t have plants in them just wood chips. Good planning Carl & Company.
I wouldn’t really worry about the bike riders on the new paths. Why? Well because there aren’t any bike riders. Again why? Probably because nobody has enough of a death wish to climb on a bike and go pedaling on what is now one of the most dangerous thoroughfares in the San Gabriel Valley. At least for cyclists and pedestrians. Let’s add drivers to that list as well.
Obviously the planning committee and their consultants thought Disneyland’s Autopia ride was the perfect layout for this section of Rosemead. I think they thought the scale was correct as well. They have made the lanes so small that people drift into one another’s lane freely without thinking about it. Heaven help you if you try to make a right turn off Rosemead in the midst of 40 mph traffic and not get rear ended. By the same token heaven help you if you are in the right lane behind that driver. Or how about being to the left of the last driver when he decides to change lanes to avoid the driver in front of him.
Fun times, fun times….
With the addition of the misplaced side planters the circus like atmosphere is complete. People have been hitting these planters on a regular basis. How does Bill know this? Well in addition to seeing it firsthand I have been told by reliable sources at the local Pep Boys that since the planters went in they have had a sizable increase in the number of tire and rim replacements due to people not seeing or expecting the planters and clipping them. They are only one of many tire stores locally so I am sure this tale is being told elsewhere as well. They just happen to be fortunate enough to be in the middle of the war zone.
I’m sure my editor is reading this and saying wrap it up Dunn , wrap it up, but there is one more point that needs to be addressed. That would be the addition of a traffic light between Las Tunas Drive and Broadway. Just a quick word of advice to all of the drivers out there. Unless you have unlimited amounts of time on your hands do not attempt to make a left or right turn off of Las Tunas to go down Rosemead going South. Especially on a … hell, let’s just say never. The chances are you are going to get caught in the middle of the intersection regardless of when it is.
These problems for most of you are avoidable. Simply stay off of this section of Rosemead Boulevard. For the rest of us we just need to send our auto repair bills to the attention of the Temple City City Council.