The City Council voted unanimously on Monday to end a controversial traffic calming plan that critics feared would have diverted traffic into residential neighborhoods.
As part of the $2.3 million “road diet,” a 1.8 mile stretch of East Orange Grove Boulevard between Allen and Sierra Madre Villa avenues would have been reduced from two lanes to one in each direction.
“It is clear that any project that would remove travel lanes along Orange Grove is not supported by a significant number of residents along the corridor, possibly the majority,” said City Manager Steve Mermell.
“Unfortunately,” Mermell concluded, “given what has transpired to date, any further process is likely to be met with a lack of trust and suspicion that is not conducive to achieving buy-in and consensus from the community.”
From 2008 to 2017 there were 418 collisions in that area of Orange Grove resulting in 309 injuries and three fatalities, 2017, according to the city.
A survey presented in March noted that 73 percent of Orange Grove Boulevard residents thought traffic was too fast, and 47 percent said that they felt unsafe crossing the street.
City officials claimed the reconfiguration would have improved the street environment for residents by calming traffic, reducing the number and severity of traffic collisions, and celebrating the history of an iconic Pasadena street.
Residents feared the project would only benefit bicyclists due to the added bike lanes on the street.
“The traffic that your road diet will calm away from Orange Grove will end up on neighborhood streets,” Virginia Reynolds wrote in a letter to City Clerk Mark Jomsky.
The plan was controversial from the beginning. Mermell canceled a March 28 meeting after local residents registered massive complaints at a meeting six days prior at Pasadena City College.
“It’s clear that while all residents want to enhance safety, the proposed road diet is likely too drastic of a change,” Mermell said at the time. “Accordingly, city staff will be reassessing what approach we should pursue to address the safety concerns that have been raised as part of the conversations. This will involve further dialogue with residents of the area.”
More than 150 people at Monday’s City Council meeting filled out cards requesting to speak about the plan.