Youth Voices is working with students from Mountain View High School to explore El Monte/South El Monte and the surrounding communities. The students have formed teams to explore and investigate their communities, map assets, collect and share stories, data and community input for their projects. All the while they are learning and expanding their knowledge of digital media and civic engagement. Follow their work here and on Instagram and Twitter by using #kcetyv.
We are The Streets, a pair of students who have partnered with KCET Youth Voices to explore some of the dangers along Parkway Drive in El Monte. We are determined to make Parkway Drive a safe place where residents, students, and bicyclists aren't afraid traveling down this street. Danger is clearly experienced by everyone who has had to cross Parkway, or in the case of bicyclists, just ridden through it.
The safety of Parkway Drive needs to be improved.
The Complete Streets plan was recently approved by the El Monte City Council. The plan's goal is to make streets safer by reducing the number of lanes -- causing traffic to slow down -- and implementing bike lanes and improving pedestrian access and safety with new curbs, signage and crosswalks. All this would be done and still allow traffic to flow smoothly. We think this should be done on Parkway Drive.
Parkway Drive is already included in the San Gabriel Valley Bike Master Plan with a Class Three proposed bike path. The plan includes a bike lane network in the City of El Monte and will eventually connect with paths throughout the San Gabriel Valley.
Why not dedicate more resources to a street that includes a high school and connects to an elementary and intermediate school? This includes specific changes to the intersection in front of Mountain View High School; traffic signs and crosswalks in one part, and visible ones in another -- meaning that when cars go through they can see the crossing area and stop. As it is now, during the busy hours of the day, one can see the madness that plays itself out. When students are dropped off, and later picked up, the street becomes a road with no rules, because the cars just want to go in and out -- simply because of the lack of proper direction.
Recently we became involved with Day One, a community organization dedicated to providing effective, high quality, and culturally-sensitive public health education, intervention, and policy development. They also have a club on campus that has worked on collecting evidence and increasing public support for the complete streets plan. We attended a rally at the El Monte City Hall in late November to support and encourage the city to adopt the plan. The council unanimously approved the plan.
This was one of the ways we have begun the process of making our community a safer place. To move forward we're going to continue working with Day One and work even more to ensure that Parkway Drive becomes a safe place.
Once these critical changes are made to Parkway Drive, community residents and students won't have as much to fear walking or biking down the street. It's imperative that Parkway becomes a street for all users of the road because if it doesn't, things will only get worse.