Circulation Element

Form Transportation Engineering & Planning

"That there exists an intimate relationship between transportation and land development has been understood for centuries."
-C.S. Papacostas and P.D. Prevedouros


An old adage states, "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line." In Los Angeles County, where freeways connect cities and points in between, this adage does not always hold true. During peak travel hours, when commuters clog the freeways, surface streets often provide the shortest route (in terms of time) between two points. In Monterey Park, this applies particularly to Garvey Avenue, Atlantic Boulevard, and Garfield Avenue. Drivers often use these roadways to avoid freeway delays and travel frustration, and to minimize driving time.

Certainly Monterey Park benefits from easy access to three freeways, Interstate 10, Interstate 710, and State Route 60, that link residents and businesses to destinations in Los Angeles County and beyond, and that bring people into the city. Although Atlantic Boulevard, Garvey Avenue, and Garfield Avenue act, in part, as relief valves to the freeways, they also serve an important function as part of the regional arterial road network by providing good alternative travel routes to destinations throughout the San Gabriel Valley. The city's circulation system offers varied, convenient routes for local and regional trips. Monterey Park residents also take advantage of bus and rail service to travel to work, commercial centers, schools, etc.

The ease with which people can move within and through Monterey Park over time depends upon good circulation planning. The Circulation Element addresses anticipated circulation needs and the ability of the road network and alternative transportation modes to meet travel demands into the future.

Scope and Content of the Circulation Element

The broad purpose of the Circulation Element is to define a safe, efficient, and adequate circulation system in Monterey Park that responds to all circulation needs. Circulation means the actual physical circulation system consisting of freeways, streets, bicycle routes, sidewalks, and trails, as well as modes of transportation, including cars, buses, trucks, trains, bicycles, ridesharing, and walking. Because not everyone drives a car, this element examines the transportation requirements of a diverse population and establishes appropriate polices. The state General Plan Guidelines suggest that Circulation Element policies and plans:

  • Coordinate transportation and circulation systems with planned land uses,
  • Promote the safe and efficient transport of goods and the safe and effective movement of all populations, and
  • Make efficient use of existing transportation facilities.

First Key Point

The circulation system should accommodate the level of traffic generated by current and future development, both in terms of distribution and intensity. Thus, this element presents a circulation plan that is based upon land use policy set forth in the Land Use Element.

Circulation Element Discussions

The Circulation Element discusses the city's current and anticipated future transportation and circulation needs in the context of the following topics:

  • Regional Access
  • Local Street Network
  • Public Transportation
  • Bicycle and Pedestrian Circulation
  • Parking

In the discussion of the Local Street Network, a particular focus is made on Garvey Avenue and the important role this roadway plays in creating a new Downtown Monterey Park. The Land Use Element describes the overall vision for Downtown, while this element centers the discussion on physical improvements planned for Garvey Avenue to realize the vision.