Sunday, February 21, 2010

The germ (or more) of truth...

The following started out as a letter to the Editor of the Pasadena Weekly a couple of weeks ago but since it hasn't yet seen the light of day, it can be adapted into a good blog entry as well.

Andre Coleman recently wrote an interesting article [Road to Nowhere, 2/4/2010] about the adoption of the Hahamongna Annex Plan. This article mentioned a rumor of long duration about the use of Hahamongna to provide parking for the Rose Bowl and seemed to suggest that there was no basis for this rumor.

For almost twelve years I have followed the Hahamongna planning process closely. I too wondered why this rumor about Rose Bowl parking in the park was so persistent if it was all just a figment of someone's fevered imagination. Several years ago when I was doing some research on Hahamongna history, I found a document on the subject that I had not seen before the Hahamongna Master Plan was approved in 2003. (The full, weighty and cumbersome title is "Assessment of Travel Management Strategies for the Central Arroyo Master Plan", Linscott Law & Greenspan, Engineers, Appendix G to Appendix F, Traffic Impact Study, Arroyo Seco Master Plan, Arroyo Seco Master Environmental Impact Report, Volume II, Hahamongna Off-Site parking.) Whew!

And, lo and behold, in this obscure document there was indeed a proposal to use Hahamongna as off-site parking for the Rose Bowl. The following is a direct quote:
“Parking facilities identified in the Hahamongna Master Plan would be available for use by employees and/or patrons [of the Rose Bowl].
“The Hahamongna Master Plan indicates the availability of parking facilities as part of arrangements with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and/or as part of the development of a ‘West Arroyo’ parking structure adjacent to the Arroyo. A shuttle service originating at JPL and/or the ‘West Arroyo’ parking facility would reduce the demand for event related parking and vehicular travel in the Central Arroyo.” The report even included an exhibit of the “Hahamongna Off-Site Parking Route.”

The idea never made it into the Hahamongna Master Plan itself as is the case with many recommendations made during the course of a planning process. As far as the rumor is concerned, my guess is that someone on the inside saw this document early on, became alarmed at the idea, and started spreading what turned out to be not such an unfounded rumor after all.

If you are interested in learning more about recent Hahamongna history, there is a brief two page summary on the Friends of Hahamongna website,

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Annex Plan at Last!

The Annex Plan and Initial Study were approved by the Pasadena City Council at its Feb. 2nd meeting -- with the very important addition of recommendations of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee. One of the most significant was that every effort should be made to minimize all tree removal on the Annex, native and non-native. The Committee also responded to the community's concern about a future road across the property by specifying that only a 10 feet wide bikeway be built in the northern corridor where a road had formerly been proposed. A new equestrian/hiking trail was approved at the southern edge of the Annex. The Committee and the Council agreed that the Planned Development zoning should be removed from the Annex and that the Annex and all of Hahamongna should be included under the Arroyo Seco Public Lands Ordinance. Other recommendations concerned the implementation of the long-awaited Environmental Education Center.

A diverse group of over 30 community members addressed the Council. There was a great deal of concern expressed over the possible removal of the 70 non-native trees. A large contingent of MACH 1 supporters spoke to the Council about their desire to move into the area promised on the Annex for a new therapeutic riding center. Other speakers expressed concern over the designation of the existing trail on the property in the Plan as for "bikes only" even though the trail is the only access which JPL employees have out into the park.

The Council directed that staff fine tune the motion and return in several weeks with the final version. Then work on the long-awaited Annex projects can begin!