Councilmember Huizar joined the community for a Pumpkin Patch Ribbon Cutting celebration of a $20 million improvement project on Soto Street & Mission Road – removing an outdated and dangerous bridge first built to carry trains in 1936 - with two at-grade-intersections, greenspace and a stainless steel butterfly art display, as well as a piece of the old bridge to honor the area’s history
Councilmember José Huizar, the City’s Bureau of Engineering, Department of Transportation & CALTRANS officials joined El Sereno, Rose Hills and Hillside Village residents Saturday, October 28, to unveil the $20 million Soto Street and Mission Road Project upgrade. The project broke ground in August 2014, and included the removal of the Soto Street Bridge, which was first built to separate trains from vehicles in 1936 for the Pacific Electric Railroad, which first ran trains at that intersection in 1909.
It was converted into an automobile-only bridge in the 1960s, but its design created dangerous blind crossings and entrance and exit points in and around the bridge. The bridge gets high use from local traffic and commuters who use it to travel to and from Pasadena to Downtown L.A. and beyond.
The reconfigured streets, which lessen the impacts of three major streets converging at that site, has greatly increased safety with a level grade design with two signalized intersections at Mission Road and Soto Street, and another at Huntington Drive North and Huntington Drive South to provide smoother traffic movement.
The bridge gets high use from local traffic and commuters who use it to travel to and from Pasadena to Downtown L.A. and beyond. The improvements also include 60 new trees on 54,000 square feet of landscaping, lighting, as well as art by Michael Amescua showcasing the public space with stainless steel butterflies. A small section of the old bridge is also part of the landscapes design.
Councilmember Huizar’s El Sereno Office also hosted a Pumpkin Patch and pass out free pumpkins to children.
The Soto/Mission project is the first of multiple projects coming to the Soto Street corridor totaling $40 million in all. In 2018, the Soto Street/Valley Boulevard Bridge project will widen the bridge, which passes over Valley Boulevard, to allow for bike lanes and safer sidewalks. Then, starting in 2019, the Soto Widening and Complete Street Project will widen Soto Street, from Mission Road to Multnomah Street, widen and add sidewalks on both sides, add a bike lane and an additional southbound traffic lane.
“This improvement replaces a dangerous bridge that was not designed to handle hundreds of thousands of commuters in today’s modern traffic flow,” said Councilmember Huizar. “Beyond the major safety upgrades, the public art component and landscaping make it an attractive amenity for our local El Sereno, Rose Hills and Hillside Village residents to enjoy. And our plan to upgrade an even larger stretch of Soto Street will further enhance pedestrian, bicyclist and motorists’ safety and access with widened streets, sidewalks, and added bike and traffic lanes. In all, with the community’s support, we will bring more than $40 million of street upgrades to the area.”