Claremont Insider: Village Expansion Opinions

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Village Expansion Opinions

David Allen's blog has some responses to his Daily Bulletin column last week concerning Claremont's impending $887,000 trolley proposal.

One of Allen's readers wrote in to say that he thought the Claremont trolley was a bad idea and that the city ought to go back to Mayor Peter Yao's original idea of building a pedestrian bridge across Indian Hill Blvd. to connect the two sides, new and old, of the Claremont Village.

Allen's reader proposed a glass bridge like one he saw in Tacoma at the Museum of Glass there. One of Allen's blog readers had a comment:

Ja! Let us build glass bridge in country of earthquake! We need to give skateboard hoodlums more places to be daredevils and vandals. Gud ideas! I vote you guys for Imperial Court of Claremont! --Vlad

Allen pointed out one obvious problem with the glass bridge idea. The one in Tacoma is 500 feet long, according to Allen. There isn't that much space to work with in downtown Claremont. Which leads us to believe the problem with some of these ideas - trolleys, bridges, roundabouts, maybe the Village Expansion itself - is one of scale. There just might not be enough of a demand to support any of these things in a city of 35,000 facing competition from large-scale shopping centers in Pasadena and Rancho Cucamonga.

RIGHT: The Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma, WA, connecting Tacoma's downtown with the city's waterfront area. The bridge was designed by Tacoma artist Dale Chihuly and architect Arthur Andersson.

PHOTO: Courtesy of

The city and the local Chamber of Commerce have talked up Claremont's changes quite a bit, but the evidence of any success with the Village Expansion seems to be lacking. A reader wrote in earlier this week to say that they'd seen a real estate ad in the LA Times for the Maui Wowie coffee and smoothie franchise:


There was a real estate ad in the Sunday L.A. Times offering the Maui Wowie franchise including equipment for $240K. I bought coffee there many times, but could tell they weren't going to be successful.

Not a good sign for the expansion if this is the first of other business closures to come.

Publius over at the FC Blog recently visited our Village Expansion and thought the city and the developer had built a pretty good project. Publius' post drew a number of comments.

ABOVE: Replica trolley in Altoon, PA. Part of Altoona Metro Transit's bus line. AMTRAN's bus system consists of 35 buses, has 40 drivers and carries 14,000 passengers per week. Claremont's system will consist of one bus, running in a 6-square block loop 3 days a week, 12.5 hours a day and will be considered a success if they carry 562 passengers in a week. PHOTO: Courtesy of