John Shaffer gave a presentation to the Downtown Pasadena Residents Association last evening. Here is his report:
Not a large turnout tonight (probably 20 to 25, counting Sarah and me), but a very intelligent group that clearly is focused on our community. They were largely against the tunnel, but asked some good questions and raised some good issues. Sarah asked whether they would formally oppose the tunnel, and they said they would take it up at their next board meeting.
A few points / issues:
1) Joe Cano was there from El Sereno, and he volunteered to do a staged DVD of the program. His email address is email@example.com I am happy to participate, select some slides, talk, etc., but schedule-wise I can’t really do more in terms of the planning for this.
2) I have too many slides for a group that is going to ask questions and engage, which they did, and I ended up going back and forth a few times. Unfortunately, one-size doesn’t fit all perfectly, but I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise. In any event, by skipping a few, we got through fine, I think.
3) There were some important issues raised about induced demand, and whether there are statistics that support the “demand follows capacity” argument. Similarly, we had some discussion about the fundamental policy question of whether it is good to make it easier for people to drive further. It was noted by one person that some people can only afford homes in the Inland Empire. On the other hand, there are societal costs to sprawling cities, and should taxpayers be subsidizing those costs by building highways, when developers aren’t paying all of the societal costs caused by development (for example, what did developers in the Inland Empire pay to fix the traffic problems caused in Pasadena by the 210 extension)?
4) There was confusion about the No 710 Committee’s position on Measure J, not surprisingly. I said the Committee itself had no position, but many individual members opposed Measure J. I said for me it was a mixed bag – I support the funding of transit, but I don’t support the additional funding of highway projects and locking into particular transportation plans that may not make sense in the future. Jonathan Edewards mentioned the moving of money, but I noted that too was a mixed bag because the money could be moved to highways.
5) People were interested in alternatives, and what the No 710 Committee supported. I noted Gold Line improvements, freight-by-rail improvements, and that South Pasadena was working on a low-build model that the 710 Committee would be studying closely.
6) Tim Brick, who served on the Metropolitan Water District Board and is, to say the least, something of an expert on water, disagreed with a statement that I had picked up from the District 7 forum on the 710 – that the tunnel could allow contaminated water from the Pasadena area to flow down into the San Gabriel Water Basin. His view was that most of the Pasadena basin was clean enough to use, and that the San Gabriel Basin had its own contamination issues anyway. He is, however, an opponent of the tunnel for a number of other reasons, including the difficulty of building the tunnel through wet areas. Note that this doesn’t change anything in the Powerpoint slides themselves; they simply mention that the tunnel cuts through two water basins. But he did not agree that would lead to cross-contamination of the water basins.
-- John Shaffer