Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Open Letter to the Pasadena City Council on Hahamongna Athletic Fields

Dear Mr. Mayor and City Council Members:

Please support the Hahamongna Advisory Committee's request to reconsider current city plans to build an athletic field and parking lot in the Hahamonga Watershed Park.

As a resident and constituent, I am voicing support for this reconsideration in light of numerous changed conditions since the Council's initial approval of plans in 2003.

These include:

1. environmental, climate, and political factors that have negatively affected the security of our local water supply and water quality.

Pasadena's current heavy reliance on imported water at a time of protracted water shortage creates tremendous vulnerability for our City's ability to provide reliable domestic water for local businesses and residents. The recent Station Fire, which devastated the upper Arroyo Seco watershed, has caused increased run-off and groundwater toxins into this already vulnerable water basin. A healthy natural habitat is essential to supporting a clean local water supply, and the building of any new infrastructure, including those planned, will destroy key elements of one of Southern California's last remaining allevial canyons where five habitat zones intersect. The City's inability to provide for local long-term water storage, treatment, and distribution will have a wide ranging effect, including negative consequences for the City's very important tourism economic engine.

2. mobility barriers that make it difficult to reach the proposed fields.

The Hahamongna Watershed Park currently has access from a two-lane street which is already experiencing heavy traffic congestion. Further, the Park itself has narrow lanes for vehicular traffic. Because of the park's location and current natural/passive recreation atmosphere, it is not easily accessible by bicycle, walking, or bus/shuttle transit. This Council is already on record stating that there will be no new roads in the Hahamongna without direct Council approval. This means that in addition to the cost of building parking lots in the Hahamongna, which will both disturb rare and sensitive natural habitat as well as prevent vital groundwater percolation, it is highly likely that 'overflow' of cars and vans will end up creating their own 'roads' and parking on non-parking surfaces, as I have witnessed at other sports recreation complexes. As a soccer mom, I can personally attest to the amount of equipment, water, first aid, chairs, umbrellas and other 'entourage' materials that regularly are part of organized youth athletic activities. I fear that the end result of any field/parking lot construction will overburden already taxed mobility access and available surface parking.

3. lack of consistency between the Hahamongna Master Plan and Pasadena's Green City Action Plan.

Since City Council passed the Green City Action Plan in 2006, almost three years after the Hahamongna Master Plan was approved, there has been no formal effort to reconcile the Green City elements with the Hahamongna Plan. Given Pasadena's leadership within the US Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and the 2006 United Nations Green Cities Declaration and Urban Environmental Accords, any final plans for the Hahamongna, including but not limited to athletic fields, would be flawed without coordination and reconcilitation of differences between these two important initiatives of the City, which prides itself as a sustainable community.

Your vote on July 12th to support reconsideration of the current city plan for athletic field construction in the Hahamongna will give our community and city staff a full opportunity to review and weigh the merits of current plans in light of the critical factors set forth above.

Thank you very much for your serious reflection on this request for reconsideration of plans for Hahamongna athletic fields. I look forward to your affirmative vote to support the reconsideration process.


Meredith McKenzie
The Arroyo Lover

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