Live Oak Avenue: The 210 Alternative

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View of the newly repaved, re-opened Live Oak Avenue in Irwindale just east of Peck Road.

It’s been a long time coming. In fact, it’s been almost two years before motorists could take Live Oak Avenue in Baldwin Park, passed the Santa Fe Dam entrance, over the 605 Freeway, and into Irwindale, Arcadia and Temple City.

A storm drain project along Live Oak Avenue is complete. The east-west route in the San Gabriel Valley, once closed or reduced to one-lane and heavy congestion, is now two, sometimes three lanes.

As the picture above shows, the roadway is fantastic. But was the wait and the new plants and palm-trees median worth it? In a way, this reminds me of the federal stimulus debate. All the median tiles, all the median palm trees and flowers can’t pretty up the street all that much. Because on both sides, there are junkyards, rusting cars, and gravel pits that are in clear view. There was little landscaping to shield those businesses from view.

Government can take a street and hopefully, stop it from flooding in the future. And also, plant trees and flowers in the median. But the nature of the street doesn’t really change. That takes small businesses to thrive and an influx of private cash. It takes code enforcement. It takes requiring junkyards and gravel pits to clean up their operations or leave.

That hasn’t happened.

But as the following pictures taken a few weeks ago show, this roadway is important as a relief valve for the busy Foothill (210) Freeway. Whenever there’s a closure, due to a jackknifed truck or some jumper on a bridge, Live Oak and Arrow Highway get jammed. I’ve seen them backed up for miles during an “incident” on the 210. When Live Oak was unavailable (basically the last 2 years), I had to take the 10 Freeway or Los Angeles Street (which has stop signs and goes through residential neighborhoods of Baldwin Park) to go home or reach the San Gabriel Valley Tribune office where I work.

So, I’m glad Live Oak has opened. I hesistated to post these photos because after I shot them, more orange cones sprung up on Peck Road and on Live Oak Avenue west of Peck Road. The roads were narrowed to one lane for some additional construction.

I hope the cities leave this crucial avenue open and construction free for a while.

The true test will come in the winter when the rains fall. Will it flood or was that problem finally solved?

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A driver’s side view of newly finished and opened LIve Oak Avenue looking east.

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This entry was posted in environment, land use, Pasadena by Steve Scauzillo. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steve Scauzillo

I love journalism. I've been working in journalism for 32 years. I love communicating and now, that includes writing about environment, transportation and the foothill/Puente Hills communities of Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar. I write a couple of columns, one on fridays in Opinion and the other, The Green Way, in the main news section. Send me ideas for stories. Or comments. I was opinion page editor for 12 years so I enjoy a good opinion now and then.

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