After a social media outcry from passionate residents, a plan that might have prompted the closure of a near century-old dairy in the San Gabriel Valley is being reconsidered.
Just a week ago, Broguiere's Dairy was said to be threatened by a city construction project. The project would lower the roadway the Montebello business sat on, cutting off some accessibility to the dairy.
City officials say some sort of roadway changes are necessary to stem a growing number of car crashes and pedestrian injuries at the busy intersection of Maple Avenue and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.
The plan that caused the backlash called for a roadway underpass, which would limit how customers could access Broguiere's.
After the protests, City Councilman Jack Hadjinian unveiled a second option that calls for the creation of a pedestrian overpass for the more than 520 people crossing the road each day. Most of those people are students at nearby schools, Hadjinian said.
Hadjinian said he developed the plan to both still create a safe pass for pedestrians and also address backlash from the public and business owners following the original proposal.
"[We] can't seem to get property owners, specifically the dairy, on board, to meet their concerns at this time," said Hadjinian.
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Hadjinian said the city council received no calls about community issues with the grade separation project, and that instead the public "turned to the media and Facebook" to voice their concerns.
He conceded that this new proposal only addresses the issue of pedestrians crossing the railroad tracks, but still would not help with the issue of vehicle crashes in the intersection.
"Because the community is so concerned about the fate of the dairy, we are unable to address the problem of cars," Hadjinian said.
Ray Broguiere, owner of Broguiere's Bakery, approved of the current plan, though he says he is skeptical.
"[The city council] was pushing for this underpass and all of a sudden dropped it over night? It makes so sense," he said.
Broguiere said that residents all over the area have been calling the dairy and taking to social media to show their support for his family business. He said that customers don't want to see the business, once even featured on Huell Howser's "California's Gold," disappear.
Hadjinian believes people are getting ahead of themselves with talk that the dairy would close because of any road changes.
"No one is condemning the dairy," he said. "They are just spreading this propaganda that the dairy is going to close, which isn't necessarily true."
Hadjinian explained that in order to get approval for a project, the city council must get approval from a judge. He said that judges don't approve most projects that call for the relocation or closure of local businesses without the business owner's approval.
And despite his willingness to develop an alternative plan, Hadjinian said the local businesses are not his top concern.
"My biggest concern is that I need to stop students from running across the train tracks," Hadjinian said. "I'm not going to compromise the life of a student to save a business."
Hadjinian will introduce his alternative proposal at a council meeting July 13. If passed, the council will then turn to the local businesses for input.
The councilman said he believes this is the solution that Broguiere wants.
Broguiere agreed, but remained dubious until something happens.
"When I see it in writing, I'll believe it," he said.