Temple submits signal proposal

By Shirley Hsu, Whittier Daily News, March 16, 2006

ROWLAND HEIGHTS, CA (USA) -- Members of the Pathfinder Asian American Seniors Association can participate in line dancing, ballroom dancing and karaoke - if they can manage to get in and out of Pathfinder Park, where they meet.

"It is hard, because the traffic speed on Pathfinder is so high during rush hour," said David Liu, a member of the seniors club. "The average speed is 45 to 55."

That may change if attempts to get a traffic signal built in front of the park are successful.

The Yuan Yung Buddhist Center will present a proposal to homeowners in the Vantage Pointe community Wednesday to buy a thin strip of land on the north side of Pathfinder Road, which would allow the Buddhist temple to build a driveway on to Pathfinder across from the park entrance. If that driveway is built, the temple and Los Angeles County have agreed to pay for a traffic signal at what would be a four-way intersection in front of the park.

Two senior groups based at Pathfinder Park have sent letters supporting the project, according to Mike Lewis, a consultant to the project.

After the Buddhist Center received county approval last April, they voluntarily offered to remove dormitories and add parking spaces to the project to improve relations with community members, some of whom protested against the temple.

Community members then suggested the temple add another driveway on Pathfinder Road to create a four-way intersection that would justify a traffic signal, Lewis said.

"The community thought this would be a great safety improvement," Lewis said.

The temple would contribute $25,000 toward the traffic signal installation; the county has agreed to pay for the rest.

The temple has offered about $200,000 for the land. Vantage Pointe homeowners will vote on whether to approve the sale, Lewis said. The homeowners association now pays to maintain the strip of land, about four acres, which is not contiguous with the homes.

"So many people use the Pathfinder Park facility," said Charles Liu of the Rowland Heights Community Coordinating Council. "It's dangerous. During busy hours, there's a constant stream of traffic. People can't find a chance to exit."