Metro, in conjunction with Caltrans, kicked off its Thursday, with an interactive meeting where about 100 locals came out to obtain information and share ideas regarding closing the gap between the 210 and 710 freeways.
“I don’t want a freeway,” said longtime Mt. Washington resident, Gloria Schneider. “I think we need to get rapid transit. We need to get out of our cars. I’m very much interested in the environment.”
This meeting was the first of many in a process that Metro says will consist of collecting data, gathering public comments and evaluating all multi-modal alternatives—from advanced technology to street improvements, among others.
The most viable options will then be researched in-depth through an environmental study The study is expected to be completed in the fall of 2014.
“We want to start fresh. ... I know we have heard about the goods movement wherever it may be, but ultimately it comes down to the impacts of the congestion and the impacts of the neighborhood,” Metro’s Executive Officer Frank Quon told Patch Thursday night.
South Pas resident remains skeptical, and says he would like to see traffic origin destination studies, to prove where there is a problem to be fixed.
“The reality is they want to build this to move containers from the ports, and that’s intuitively obvious. … I’m not convinced freeways are the answer. What I think is we need is to have a robust rail system to move these containers,” he said wearing a no-710 baseball cap.
But Quon insists there is a traffic problem throughout the region that “affects everybody’s daily lives. It affects every person in L.A. County,” he said, pointing to Measure R as proof.
In November 2008, Measure R was approved by two-thirds majority, committing a projected $40 billion to traffic relief and transportation upgrades throughout the county over the next 30 years.
“This area was identified as an area that needed attention,” he said of that traffic relief.
William Schenewerk, who has lived in Highland Park since 1984, is in favor of a 710 extension whether it be a surface route or tunnel through South Pasadena.
“If the 210, 710 connection is built, instead of the trucks being on the 5 and us breathing dirty air from the trucks, the trucks will be down wind and we won’t be breathing the dirty air,” he said.
“[The air in South Pasadena] may actually get cleaner too because the trucks will be going at full throttle …,” he continued.
As for how any gap closure project(s) would be funded, Quon said $780 million of the Measure S funds have been allocated.
“I think we all recognize that the project is probably going to cost more—whatever the alternatives are. We will then recognize if we need to seek additional funding … and there are various options that we can seek,” he said.
Want to join in the conversation? The next (or join the live broadcast HERE.The Alternative Analysis process is slated to end in Fall of 2014.
Patch Asks: Where do you stand on the 710 Gap Closure? What alternatives would you like to see evaluated in the environmental study?