Thursday, August 22, 2013

City Participates in CMP for Another Year

Traffic in L.A. can be a challenge.  (Tell me something I don’t know, right?)  Home to more than 9.8 million people, Los Angeles County is the most populous in the nation.  Aside from the ability to chant “We’re #1!” and wave those funny foam fingers at people living in other parts of the country, this distinction makes driving around the L.A. area quite a challenge. 

In response to the growing annual gridlock, a majority of cities across L.A. County collaborate in something called the Congestion Management Program, or CMP.  Voted into existence in 1990, the CMP is a slice of the statewide gas tax pie, dedicated to transportation relief efforts.  Handed down from the State to counties then from counties to cities, in football speak cities receive CMP funding by way of a double handoff.  Hut, hut, hike!

Monrovia has participated in the CMP program since its inception.  Earlier this August, City Staff presented a CMP update to City Council as part of an annual public hearing requirement of the program.  Council moved to approve the City’s participation in the CMP program for another year.  Following Council’s approval, the annual reporting documents were sent to Metro, the CMP administrator for Los Angeles County.  Metro also approved the City’s CMP documents, which means that Monrovia is in good standing for another year.  Hooray!  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Planning Commission Update - August 14, 2013

Service Station Sign Ordinance

Planning Commission recommended approval to the City Council for an amendment to the City’s Sign Ordinance for Service Stations.  The amendment will allow Service Stations to have one monument sign that displays electronic fuel prices.  

The Commission also placed the following stipulations:
  • LED prices cannot be changed more than once every 12 hours
  • The prices are only allowed to be adjusted downward in price (just kidding)

Second Hand Store - 925 W. Foothill Blvd.

The Planning Commission considered a request, to allow a secondhand store with a donation center called “Giving Hands,” to locate into the commercial building on the northeast corner of Foothill Boulevard and Lincoln Place.  Discussion took place regarding the pros and cons of such a use, especially with residential homes nearby.  The Planning Commission continued this request to  their next meeting on September 11th  to allow time to investigate some of the concerns expressed at the meeting.  

What a Fun Time at the 2013 MAP Conference!

What a fun time we had at the 2013 MAP Neighborhood Conference last Saturday!  Organized by Community Development Department staff, 250 people attended the fourth annual event.

Hosted at Monrovia High School, the 2013 Map Neighborhood Conference included 23 workshops and 30 information tables.  Some of the workshops offered were:
  • YOU are the Government and Mayor’s Bus Tour - Mary Ann Lutz, Mayor
  • Plan Monrovia - Laurie Lile, City Manager
  • Heart of Great Leadership - Ed Nicholls, Leadership Development Instructor
  • Housing Rights Workshop - Marisol Arzate, Director of Outreach and Education 
  • Good Planning = Good Places - Craig Jimenez, Planning Division Manager

Spanish speaking workshops were introduced this year in an effort to reach out to our Hispanic population in Monrovia. Coordinated in part by Ulises Gutierrez, 20 Spanish speaking members of our community attended the conference. 

Lunch was also a huge success with contributions from Something Healthy, Wendy’s, Jersey Mikes, Athens Services, Flame Broiler, and The Coffee Bean; providing participants with many delicious options to eat. 

A special thanks to Wells Fargo, Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, Monrovia Unified School District, Interior Services and Lunch Salon as our conference sponsors for their generosity and support to our local community.  Our wonderful volunteers that dedicated their time to serving our community that included Monrovia Police Explorers, Youth Commission, Teen Advisory Board and MAP Neighborhood Leaders. 

Our hope is that by the end of the conference, we were able to make a difference in the minds of our participants; encouraging them to reach out and start taking steps to improve their community. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pardon Our Dust While City Unveils New Website

Please pardon our dust.  During the next month or so, Over the Counter Blog links to the City of Monrovia's website may not be working properly. On August 1st, the City unveiled a new, interim website.  Monrovia's website team is hard at work moving all the existing content over to the new site, which means that links to the previous website will gradually phase out over the next month.  The new website is expected to be up and running by September.  Once everything is in good working order, we'll go back through previous Blog posts and update all the links. 

Additionally, if you have the City's website bookmarked, please take a minute to update your bookmark with the new website address:

Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Monrovia Transit - Celebrating 30 Years in Monrovia

We’re not trying to toot our own horn here in the Community Development Department but…Monrovia Transit is celebrating its 30th Anniversary.  Hip, hip, hooray!  Since word has spread about this impressive milestone, Department Staff have been flooded with interview requests from TV, radio, and print media around the nation.  If you’d like to know more about the program, we've included a text version of an interview we gave recently on the Tonight Show.  Or, was it the Today Show? We've given so many interviews lately it's difficult to remember.  (Only's from an interview for a City newsletter.  Enjoy!)   

What is Monrovia Transit?
That’s one of the questions I get asked most frequently.  Often referred to as “dial-a-ride,” Monrovia Transit is a curb-to-curb service that does not follow fixed routes or schedules.  Operating very much like an airport shuttle, you’ll share a ride with multiple passengers and the vehicle may make a few stops before your final location.  In other words, you tell us where to go and we’ll get you there – of course as long as it’s within our service area.  

Also, I’d like to mention that there isn’t a formal sign up process to use Monrovia Transit.  Passengers just need to call (626) 358-3538 to schedule a ride, which they can do 24-hours a day.  Monrovia Transit is open seven days a week, with the exception of a few holidays.  Monday through Friday the hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.  On Saturday and Sunday the hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  For more information I’d encourage people to check out our website at:

What year did the Monrovia Transit start?  Why was it implemented?
It’s funny you should ask, this year marks Monrovia Transit’s 30th Anniversary.  Hey, wait a second…is that why we’re being interviewed?  Now I’m connecting the dots.  All joking aside, Monrovia Transit began in 1983 as a way to help seniors and disabled get around town.  Later the service expanded to include the general public as a way to improve the City’s public transportation offerings.  Since the City does not have control over the Metro and Foothill Transit bus lines, it filled in the gaps by opening up Monrovia Transit to the general public.  The only group we don’t provide service to is school aged children – at least not during the school year between the hours of 8:00 and 4:00 p.m.  The reason for that is school transportation would greatly impact the quality of our service, and could jeopardize our funding as well.

What’s Monrovia Transit’s Service Area?
Our service area includes the City of Monrovia, Bradbury, unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County adjacent to Monrovia, and Target in Duarte (a designated transfer point to Duarte Transit). With 24-hour notice, we’ll also take passengers to medical appointments at physician’s offices within three miles of City Limits, as well as the City of Hope.  While we won’t be taking people to the beach or Disneyland anytime soon, our service area is comprehensive.

The numbers. How many riders does it serve annually?  Can you estimate how many riders over the 30 years?
We’re averaging about 50,000 rides a year right now.  Or, more than 4,000 trips a month, depending how you’d like to break down the numbers.  The figures going back over the last 30 years would be difficult to say since the service has changed some over the years.  I’d need to dig into the files a bit to come up with that total.

Has the program changed over the 30 year history?
Yes.  We’re constantly looking for ways improve our service so changes are going to occur over time.  I mentioned two of our biggest changes earlier, becoming a general public service and the expansion of our service area.  We also get a lot of helpful feedback and new ideas through community outreach and customer comment cards that we’ve placed inside all of our Monrovia Transit vehicles.

Where does the funding come from?
Monrovia Transit is primarily funded by the City’s Proposition A Local Return, which is ½ cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 1980.  Additional money comes from farebox revenue, reimbursements from service contracts with the County of Los Angeles and City of Bradbury, and something called an Incentive Grant which we’re eligible for as a result of our contract with the County.  

Is there any interesting fact or tidbit that you think people will want to know?
Sure, there are a few I can think of off the top of my head.  One is that although our costs grow each year (due to personnel, fuel, and other expenses), our fare has not changed in some time. A one-way trip for our general public passenger is $1.00.  Seniors and disabled pay only $0.75.  Another fun fact is that we serve the public about 360 days a year, which is pretty impressive.  The final fact is that we transport over 50,000 passengers per year, which is the equivalent of over 4,000 riders per month.  In other words, we keep pretty busy.