20 Aug 2014
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Planned Myrtle Avenue Closure Shortened to Four Months

The closure is set for Jan. 20.

Planned Myrtle Avenue Closure Shortened to Four Months
The section of Myrtle Avenue north of Duarte Road and south of Railroad Avenue will close for four months, down from the previous five Gold Line officials said they needed for construction of the project.

Last month, Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority officials announced plans for the closure.  City officials and local business owners responded with concerns about the economic impacts of a five-month closure.  The City Council asked that staff and representatives from the authority meet and see if that time could be reduced.

Chris Burner, chief project officer, said that construction authority staff members are optimistic that with good weather and no major complications with digging, the Myrtle Avenue portion of the project could be done in four months or sooner.

Outreach to the school district and the business community is underway to see what can be done to minimize the inconvenience, he said.

"We are open to ideas from the business community," he said. "We are working with them."

The closure is scheduled for Jan. 20.

Brenda Trainor, co-owner of Wonder Dog Ranch, said the closure will negatively affect her business, but she is glad the time has been shortened a bit.

"Four months is better than five months, but it is still four months of restricted access to my business," she said. "It's really going to require a lot of creative thinking."

Trainor said the Old Town Merchants Association has agreed to work with the businesses affected by the closure to help drive customers to that area.

Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said that she and City Manager have spoken to the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce and the organization has agreed to assist with coming up with a plan to help the affected businesses keep their profits up.

She urged the public to navigate around the construction and make a special effort to patronize those businesses affected.

"We've got progress with fingers crossed that if everything goes well, it could be less," she said.  "It's going to be painful, but it will be worth it."

Burner attributed the length of the closure to utilities, as well as plans to add a traffic signal at the intersection of Pomona and Myrtle.

The north median, north of the railroad tracks, will be extended 200 feet, which will prohibit left-hand turns on to and out of Railroad Avenue. That's a safety requirement by the California Public Utilities Commission, he said last month.

Burner told the council members Tuesday night that the Gold Line spoke to commission representatives about shortening the median some to enable left turns but the "initial response was not favorable."

He suggested the city draft a letter to send to the commission to see if that might help. Construction to that median can be delayed until 2015, he said.

Councilman Alexander Blackburn said that since it appears that the 76 service station at the corner of Myrtle and Pomona Avenue, the city should buy its gas for its fleet of cars and trucks there.

"This is a project that benefits the community as a whole, and the impact to that station is disproportionate," he said. "The comunity as a whole should bear the cost of this project rather than disproportionately placng it on that one business."

City Manager Francis Delach said the city has fuel it has purchased in bulk but could look into buying at the 76. He said he will return to the council with figures on the fiscal impact.

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