Message from the President

It is my high honor to serve as the 2017-18 President of the Board of Directors of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, and it is my pleasure to welcome you to our website.  This organization has demonstrated what can be accomplished by developing a consensus among our diverse cities.  The Gateway Cities COG represents twenty-seven cities of southeast Los Angeles County, as well as the County of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach.  This unique organization has its focus on improving the lives of the residents of our region of Los Angeles County in four major areas: transportation, air quality, housing, and economic development.

pinedaAs part of our transportation mission, we have developed the Gateway Cities Strategic Transportation Plan in close cooperation with all of our member cities, as well as the County, resulting in a unified document that will take all of our area’s planned projects in all areas of transportation, ranging from pedestrian and bicycle facilities to mass transit, and put them in position to receive funding from regional, state, and federal agencies.  If you scroll over the “Initiatives & Projects” tab on our home page, you will find the link to the Strategic Transportation Plan where you can view videos and other information related to this important effort.

The Strategic Transportation Plan has served as the impetus to launch the development of plans for the major arterial corridors that cross the Gateway Cities from one end to the next.  The object of these studies is to create “complete streets”, making these corridors highly efficient and safe, not just for cars and trucks, but for transit services, bicycles, and pedestrians as well.  The first of these studies, on the Artesia Boulevard corridor from the west to the east end of the COG boundaries, has recently been completed, and work is continuing on the Lakewood/Rosemead Boulevard corridor.  These plans are being developed with the full cooperation and participation of the cities along the respective corridors.  Soon to follow these studies will be the development of plans for the Atlantic Avenue/Boulevard and Florence Avenue corridors.

We continue to work on plans to improve the I-710 freeway corridor to enhance traffic safety and mobility, especially in light of the importance of that corridor to the goods movement industry on which our region’s economy is so dependent, and most importantly to support another of our key missions, which is to improve the air quality in the region.  After many years of exhaustive study, a revised draft environmental document has been completed and released for public review and comment.

Work is also continuing on improving the “hot spots” of traffic congestion in the SR-91/I-605/I-405 freeway corridors.  These projects rely heavily on major arterial intersection improvements, the use of alternative technologies, and freeway interchange design improvements as an alternative to simply adding lanes to the freeways.  Construction is now underway on the first of several arterial intersection improvements under this program.  Additionally, Caltrans has completed its initial study of improvements to the major freeway interchanges with I-605 and the design of improved interchanges to address the problem of freeway “bottlenecks” has begun.

Thanks to funding from our County Board of Supervisors, the Gateway Cities Homeless Action Plan initiative, which has the goal of finding permanent housing for the homeless in our region of the county, is now in its sixth year of operation.  In its first five years, this very successful program has permanently housed over 1,800 previously homeless individuals.  Working with our partners, the wonderful organization People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), we have served thousands more homeless persons, linking them to medical services, emergency shelters, financial assistance, and veterans’ programs.  With the recent passage of County Measure H, we look forward to having even more resources to deal with the ongoing challenge of homelessness in our region of the county.

A new project that the COG is undertaking this year is the development of a model Climate Action Plan, which will detail strategies to reduce the production of greenhouse gases and can be used by cities as a model for their own plans.  This project is made possible by grant funding received from the California Energy Commission and the Southern California Association of Governments.

The COG’s Economic Development Working Group continues to work on strategies to improve the economy and job opportunities for the residents of the Gateway Cities.  In the past year we engaged the University of Southern California to develop a Gateway Cities Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.  We have an economy largely supported by the trade industry through our local ports, which accounts for 45% of the value of all goods that are shipped to the United States.  We still have a very important manufacturing sector with significant job opportunities in the area of advanced manufacturing.  We are working with our state representatives to develop strategies to support these industries because of the needs of our residents to have access to well-paying jobs that they provide.  We continue to promote the Gateway Cities as a place where businesses would want to locate.  I invite you to explore our website’s “Site Prospector” program by clicking on the “Site Selections Tools” tab on our home page to access a “one stop” database of available buildings and properties throughout the Gateway Cities area where potential employers can locate.

Please feel free to peruse our website for more detailed information on the major initiatives of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments.

Jhonny Pineda
President, Board of Directors
Gateway Cities Council of Governments and
Vice Mayor City of Huntington Park