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Metro Staff Recommends Cutting 710 Surface Route Proposals

The Metro recommendation is to eliminate a surface route completion of the 710 Freeway and focus on a tunnel, no build, or public transit solution.

Following a over the possibility of new surface construction along the 710 Freeway corridor, the Metropolitan Transportation Agency is recommending that its board kill off the idea of a surface freeway extension that would connect the 710 to the 210 or 134 freeways.

According to Metro's blog, The Source, the agency's staff is recommending that the board vote to consider the following possibilities for future projects in the 710 corridor:

Bus rapid transit, light rail, a freeway tunnel, an alternative focused on expanded bus service, intersection and hot spot improvements, ridesharing and telecommuting and intelligent technology system improvements, and a no build option.

The Metro board next meets in September to consider whether or not to accept the staff recommendation - until the board has done so, there is still the possibility that the agency could choose to pursue a surface route.

The surface routes which Metro staff are recommending to be eliminated from consideration include surface routes that would have gone through Highland Park, Glassell Park and Mount Washington, Garvanza and San Rafael, and South Pasadena and El Sereno.

Opposition to those alternatives came from various sources including the Pasadena City Council, South Pasadena and the Highland Park Neighborhood Council.

All the alternatives have come up as Metro has been working on completing an Environmental Impact Report statement, which would allow them to build the project. In the past, the agencies' efforts to extend the SR-710 by surface route have been thwarted by the Federal Highway Administration, which has prompted Metro and Caltrans to consider several above and underground options in this latest round. 

The next State Route 710 EIR meeting will held 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the Board Room. See the agenda and staff recommendation attached.

Sandra Walker August 24, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Surface routes through Highland Park, Glassell Park and Mount Washington, Garvanza and San Rafael, and South Pasadena and El Sereno are absolutely unacceptable! Sandy Walker.
jaclyn jones August 24, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Thank goodness for 710 reconsideration by Metro. I'm going to remain vigilant and go to the next Metro board meeting in Sept.?(date)? jjones
Kristen Lepore (Editor) August 24, 2012 at 06:02 PM
The next State Route 710 EIR meeting will held 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the Board Room. I've attached the agenda and staff recommendation to this article.
David August 24, 2012 at 06:38 PM
How do any of the public transit options unclog freight traffic leaving the port? I thought that was the purpose of any 710 extension.
Jan SooHoo August 24, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Kristen, The Aug. 29th meeting is a meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee, or TAC. The public may attend, but may not speak. The TAC is made up of representatives from various agencies and cities within the study area. I recommend that people attend. You will hear presentations by CH2MHill, the engineering firm under contract to Metro. They are the ones conducting the Environmental Impact Study and will produce the Draft Environmental Impact Report. If you come, be prepared to listen, but understand that if it is conducted like previous TAC meetings, you won't be able to ask questions or make comments.
Kristen Lepore (Editor) August 24, 2012 at 08:26 PM
@Jan: Thanks for the clarification. If anyone goes, feel free to blog your thoughts: http://southpasadena.patch.com/blog/apply
Jan SooHoo August 24, 2012 at 08:37 PM
You are spot on in noting that none of the transit options remaining in the study address goods movement. The only remaining alternative under study that can achieve that goal is the tunnel. Remarkably, even in the face of continued public ridicule, Metro and Caltrans continue to deny that goods movement is a motivation for the project. The tunnel has always been the preferred outcome of the Environmental Impact Study. I've quoted Glendale resident Bill Weisman from a comment he made in response to a post on my FB page today: "Ever since the USC Keston 710 Financing Planning Charrette in 2007, the goal has remained the same: a 4.5 mile bored highway tunnel along the meridian route whose primary purpose is to facilitate goods movement from the ports. The politic ians, tunnel borers, Wall Street financiers and Metro and Caltrans staff got together and decided on their desired outcome almost 5 years ago. Everything else that has happened along the way has just been window dressing - their eyes are, and have always been, on the prize first articulated in this document: http://www.usc.edu/schools/price/keston/documents/710FinancingCharretteFinalReport_001.pdf" Equally remarkable in the face of all the evidence that goods movement is what is driving the project, none of the 42 original alternatives addressed goods movement. They ignored freight-to-rail, or more specifically, freight-to-electrified rail --- a desirable option that is being used all over the world.
Margaret August 24, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Expanding/extending the SR-710 goes hand in hand with the widening of the I-710. In other words, the fight does not stop here. If they successfully widen the I-710, the pressure on the SR-710 (and the communities surrounding it) will be enormous.
Marino August 25, 2012 at 02:05 AM
This thing about "it only serves the port" is the pinnacle of ignorance/arrogance/head in the sand. When I stand on a bridge over the 5 I see a lot of trucks but mostly cars. Just because YOU don't know anybody who lives/works in Bellflower, Downey, Norwalk, Lakewood, Orange County that needs to get to the San Fernando Valley and Santa Clarita Valley and beyond it doesn't mean these people don't exist. There are millions of people who live in these areas and a few hundred thousand make the trip every day. Right now there are only two freeways to connect north and south Los Angeles. The 5 FWY and the 405 FWY and each one carries 300,000 cars a day and they are considered two of the most congested freeways in the country. The completion of 710/210 would give us a third option, one that goes outside of downtown. Look at the map: http://tinyurl.com/la-north-south A city of 10 million could use 3 freeways instead of 2 going north/south. The beauty of it is that we have one 97% built. We just need to finish the last 3-4 miles. Statistics source: ( http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0931285.html )
stuart rapeport August 25, 2012 at 04:41 PM
The best thing about extending the 710 was the image showing Garcetti's office under a free interchange on Eagle Rock Blvd.
Joanne Nuckols August 25, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Jan is correct that no public comment is allowed. But, you could have your representative ask questions and comment for you. Public comment and participation in the EIR/S process has been stifled and this is one way to let our views be known. Please attend and be part of the process. The more public in the audience the better to send a message to Metro. The hundreds of citizens protesting at the meetings in the last few weeks has not gone unnoticed by Metro and the press.
Jae Rand August 26, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Building a tunnel won't solve the congestion. Connecting the 710 and 210 won't solve the congestion. There is not a freeway in Los Angeles County that is not congested at rush hour and frequently at most other times. Whenever a new freeway is built it becomes congested in a very short period of time.
Marino August 26, 2012 at 09:51 PM
And having a paycheck won't do anything because by the end of the month you'll have spent it all. And living is pointless because in the end we all die. Why do anything? What a dumb argument. The anti-710 people on one hand argue that NOBODY needs the freeway except the truckers (who work for some fat cats in China) on the other hand if the freeway is built it will be so popular that will be congested from day one.
Jeff Groseth August 27, 2012 at 04:12 PM
If we take this defeatist and self centered NIMBY attitude to its illogical conclusion we will never build anything ever again. That should serve our grandchildren well.
Jan SooHoo August 27, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I think your post reflects a defeatist attitude. I, am one of a multitude of people who don't want to see the 710 tunnel built, but not because I don't want anything to ever be built. What I DO want to see is our officials demonstrate with transparency to the public that the proposed project will, in fact, solve the problem it is targeting. What I DO want to see first is a complete description of the project prior to the initiation of expensive EIR/EIS process. What I DO want to see first is a meaningful public participation process that isn't just in place so that the agency can check that obligation off their "to do" list, and acknowledges that the public, which has to live with the consequences -- good or bad -- of any project, just might have some valuable insight to offer. What I DO want to see is a cost-benefit analysis prior to spending megamillions on EIR/EIS. What I DO want to see is a comprehensive, regional approach to solving our transportation issues. What I DO want to see is the agencies looking long and hard at advanced technologies to incorporate into their plans -- especially when it comes to moving freight.

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