Purpose

To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Thursday, August 9, 2012

You really have to look at this. Do you see yourself in any of these photos?
http://photos.pasadenastarnews.com/2012/08/08/photos-state-route-710-environmental-study-meeting-at-pasadena-scottish-rite-center/#12

Metro sorcerers cast spells over 710 expansion

Panama Canal
Image by whatadqr on Flickr
The story of the 710 expansion is one made possible by what can only be described as modern-day sorcery. This time, the standard issue sorcery we use in our long term transportation planning is rushing us headlong into a sobering collision with reality: increased competition through the expansion of the Panama Canal, a wildly unpredictable fuel market due to peak oil, and capital shortages due to the global financial system collapse of 2008.
Compounding the wand waving and sleeve rustling is a plan to expand a freeway that, even in the best case scenario, sends revenue outside of the bounds of the Los Angeles County while keeping billions in debt piled onto the citizens and business located within the county.
The bottom line for bond buyers looking at Metro 710 Corridor Expansion Project? Metro, even in their best case scenario, will be unable to pay off the bond debt with sales taxes. We are not heading into that best case scenario. Therefore, this project is a non-starter for any bond buyer interested in making money for their clients.

Where the 710 Freeway Begins
Image by Dean Terry on Flickr.
Best Case Scenario Leaves LA County Poor and Sick
Way back in the boom-days of 2005, before the global economy tanked in December of 2008, a group of somebodies at Metro noted a lot of truck and private auto traffic stuffing the 710 freeway full of vehicles and dumping tons of particulate matter into the air nearby.
When a freeway fills with vehicles, our best planners demand the same outcome time and again: build a wider freeway!
Since we are a cash-poor county, unable to come up with a measly $5 to $7 billion in bullion to pay for a freeway widening project, a bunch of “environmental” clearances had to be written to make bond buyers (i.e. the people who would supply the money to build this project) see that these roads were going to allow the county to pay a healthy dividend.
This is how the 710 expansion project, known officially as the “I-710 Corridor Project”, got its start.
At the time, our ports were being flooded with millions more cargo containers than ever before. Metro commissioned a feasibility analysis for the 710 expansion, romantically titled “Technical Memorandum – I-710 EIR/EIS Initial Feasibility Analysis” published December 24, 2008, projecting out to 2035.
The industry measures this flow of goods in TEU’s (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units), basically the amount of 20′ containers that could be filled with all the stuff being brought in.
Metro’s feasibility report proudly announced that container traffic would grow between 87% (“low growth”) to 174% (“high growth”) by 2035. There was no analysis of “no growth” nor one of “negative growth”.
With a growth in container traffic based on boom-time shipping numbers, the analysis projected that population and private automobile traffic would also increase ad infinitum. The result, loudly proclaimed in the feasibility analysis and the official Environmental Impact Report (EIR), was an unstoppable increase in traffic and even more horrible air quality along the 710 (already a zone of increased death, disease, and trauma due to high particulate matter counts from automobile exhaust).
The “solution”? We need to spend billions and build, build, build!
We don’t have the money to build, so what this in turn means is that we borrow, borrow, borrow!
How will we pay for all this building and borrowing? Growth, growth, growth! The 710 expansion is going to bring us growth! But where? How will Metro be able to capture the money it needs to service the debt for the 710 through this “growth”?
You’d think the feasibility analysis would mention that somewhere … since deciding whether something is feasible usually includes the question, “Can we make back enough from this project to pay for the project?”
Well, with all this increased port traffic we’re bound to see lots of new jobs in logistics by 2035.
“[T]he port model and the SCAG model assume that the inland ends of port truck trips will have the same geographic distribution in the future as they do today. This is highly unlikely, since most of these trips today go to or come from warehouse locations in the Gateway Cities and the older warehouse districts in Los Angeles and Orange County. These warehouse locations have limited expansion capability, and future demand for warehouse space is likely to significantly exceed this capacity. The location of new warehouses serving international trade is very uncertain, although what is clear is that it will be some distance inland from the current locations and most likely to the north and/or east of the I-710 study area.
pg. 6 “Technical Memorandum – I-710 EIR/EIS Initial Feasibility Analysis” published December 24, 2008
In this flowery future from the feasibility analysis things don’t look so flowery for the agency footing the bill for all this growth. Metro gets the lions share of its money from sales taxes in Los Angeles County. New warehouse jobs in San Bernardino and Riverside County won’t buoy Metro’s finances at all.
Perhaps the widened freeway will help the 20th century’s common man, the lowly single occupant car driver along the 710? Maybe the 710 widening will help with development in Los Angeles County overall – you know, increased property taxes, permit fee income, payroll taxes, business license fees, etc.?
“The study area is generally a low growth area as compared to the rest of the region. The communities in the study area are largely older built-out areas without much room for growth […] What is, of course, most striking about forecast traffic growth in the study area is the growth in heavy truck trips, driven largely by port growth. This means that trucks are becoming a much larger share of total traffic over time and because they take up much more roadway capacity per vehicle than autos ), the impact on overall traffic congestion levels will be greater than the overall trip growth patterns[…] Also, since trucks are much less likely to seek alternative arterial routes to I-710 than autos, they will take over more and more of the freeway capacity, diverting more autos to the parallel arterials.
pg. 14 “Technical Memorandum – I-710 EIR/EIS Initial Feasibility Analysis” published December 24, 2008
This document is supposed to be selling this project to bond buyers, taxpayers, and policy makers? Let’s get this straight: even in the best case scenario, the 710 expansion will flood our freeway with trucks and send job growth to two counties who aren’t even paying for this thing to get built?!
Looking past Metro’s damning findings would require a seriously disengaged bond buying money manager. In Metro’s rosy scenario of near infinite growth, the 710 project will create growth outside of Metro’s financial base and will materially hurt the lives and health of those living within its boundaries with increased particulate matter and more truck traffic.
Let’s look beyond Metro’s feasibility report; let’s look down south, towards the Panama Canal.
Drydock boat in La Ciotat
Image by Pingouino on Flickr.
Reality Comes Rushing In
At around the same time the port complex in Los Angeles and Long Beach was being flooded with millions more TEU’s of goods, the government of Panama set into motion plans to expand the series of locks, lakes, and channels known as the Panama Canal. A few years later, in 2010 the International Energy Agency (IEA) published its World Energy Outlook, announcing that our supply of conventional oil hit its global peak in 2006. In late 2008 the pyramid of financial industry derivates, credit default swaps, and plain old hustles collapsed under its own weight – taking with it trillions in wealth along with it.
The 710 corridor expansion cannot pay for itself even in the best case scenario. What we are headed for is not the best case scenario.
In order to keep up with projections in Metro’s reports on the 710 corridor, container traffic would have to grow 3% per year until the year 2035. After the global financial system collapse of 2008, container traffic has flat-lined at around 17 million TEU’s, down about 1 million TEU’s from the peak of 18.5 million in 2008. Despite several years of alleged recovery, even the growth hawks at the ports have admitted that this decade will be one of depressed container traffic.
Experts have predicted that the opening of the Panama Canal in 2015 will divert anywhere between 1% to 25% of container traffic from Los Angeles and Long Beach through the canal to ports on the Gulf, East Coast, and ports in Europe and Africa.
We’re way behind the predicted growth numbers that “justified” (if you can call it that) the expansion of the 710. A global crisis of capital has brought growth at the ports to a halt. Now that the Panama Canal is set to open in 2015, any notions of growth seem like something more than sorcery – moving into the territory of fraud and deception.
Compiled on top of these two problems are the wild fluctuations in fuel prices that make doing business and predicting costs an increasingly complicated and difficult task. Our hyper-complex global economy requires a steady input of oil to keep the trucks rolling, the 1,000 mile cob salad cool, and the boiler rooms selling Metro’s bonds hot.
I asked Metro’s representative in charge of advertising the 710 corridor expansion, Ernesto Chavez, about the Panama Canal, global peak oil, and our messed up financial system. Here is how he replied:
Hello Josef,
Thank you for your interest in the I-710 Project. The Project’s traffic projections are based on regional population and employment growth projections and well as port activity projections developed by the Ports prior to the 2008 recession. These projections also already assume the expansion of the Panama Canal. The Ports re-evaluated their growth projections after the recession and made adjustments. The revised projections show slower growth in Port activity in the next decade, but the 2035 total TEU estimate remains the same: 42.7 Million. In other words, the Ports anticipate to handle 42.7 Million TEUs by 2035, even if growth is slower in the next few years. Since the 710 Project horizon year is 2035, we did not revise the traffic projections being used in the analysis. Let me know if you have any other questions.
Thanks again for your interest.
Ernesto
After a decade of zero, or negative, growth, in the year 2022, Metro expects growth in container traffic in an oil depleted, hyper-competitive, broke, world to zoom up at a rate of 13% (or more) per year from 2022 until the year 2035.
It doesn’t really matter if I like the 710 corridor expansion, and it doesn’t matter if the lay reader or every elected official in Los Angeles County likes the 710 corridor project. We can’t afford it, even in its best case scenario.
What matters is that the group of fund managers, who park hundreds of millions in pension and investment dollars in municipal bonds like the ones Metro is going to issue for this project, decide that Metro can pay back their debts with interest.
Let’s pretend we are one of those fund managers. Metro shows up with a glossy folder with pictures of trucks and cargo containers and tells us that they are going to pay us back with sales tax dollars for a project with a net zero or a negative impact on Metro’s ability to collect sales tax revenue on a project that fills demand for truck lane capacity that will never exist.
They had better arrive at our office ready to cast some serious spells if they think we’re going to buy that.
From Flying Pigeon LA

Proposed Highway Stirs Up Highland Park

By Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou, EGP Staff Writer
News of a proposed highway cutting through front yards and entire homes in El Sereno, and Highland Park’s Garvanza and San Rafael neighborhoods generated a flurry of community opposition this month.
“This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in L.A. It’s over a hundred years old. And all of a sudden they want to take it away from us,” Alex Trejo, who has lived in northeast Los Angeles since the 1970s, told EGP on Monday.
He and nearly 300 other Highland Park residents, impatient for answers about the fate of their homes and their neighborhood, flooded the Ramona Hall Community Center on Monday, overwhelming a routine community liaison council meeting for the project, as well as karate and yoga classes taking place there. A karate instructor, dressed in a traditional Gi uniform, was kept busy directing the tangle of cars trying to get into the center’s modest parking lot, while a community center employee said he has never seen quite this many people, even on days they rent out the facility for special events.
Nearly 300 people, many of them residents of Highland Park who oppose a proposed highway route, crammed into Ramona Hall Monday night. (EGP photo by Elizabeth Hsing-Huei Chou)
The proposed highway route stirring up Highland Park residents would widen streets in several residential neighborhoods. One of the widest portions goes through Avenue 64 where the Garvanza and San Rafael neighborhoods, home to numerous historical homes, are located. The route also goes through residential streets in El Sereno, such as Sheffield and Concord, follows commercial streets such as Fremont Avenue and Monterey Road, and connects to the 134 Freeway.
The route through Highland Park is one of twelve possible alternatives being considered for inclusion in an environmental impact study for the proposed 710 Freeway project spearheaded by Metro, Los Angeles County’s transit authority. The technical advisory board for the study had planned to narrow down the list by Aug. 29, but this past Monday revised the deadline to mid-October.
Caltrans “anticipates completing The Alternatives Analysis phase of the SR 710 Study by the fall (2012); circulate the Draft environmental document and conduct public hearings by the winter of 2013 (1st quarter of 2014); and then finalize the environmental document by the winter of 2014 (1st quarter of 2015), according to Michelle Smith, P.E. Project Manager.
Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Planes para una Autopista Agitan a los Residentes de Highland Park
Attempts to connect the 710 freeway from its terminus in Valley Boulevard in Alhambra to the 210 Freeway in Pasadena have failed repeatedly over the last five decades, and this time around, with the list of alternatives making the rounds at technical advisory meetings, residents and activists are again coming out in force to oppose the latest proposed project, which now has an expanded study area that includes the 5 Freeway to 605 Freeway, east to west; and 10 Freeway to 210 Freeway, from south to north.
Efforts to connect the 710 and 210 freeways were revived with the suggestion that a tunnel could be built to close the gap; prompting drilling and geotechnical studies throughout the project area to explore the idea.
But with no guarantee of funding, and the possible high cost of building a tunnel, Metro’s list of twelve alternatives also now includes cheaper highway (widened streets) and freeway options, the very type that have incensed residents in the past. Other alternatives include light rail or bus rapid transit routes, as well as a “no build” alternative in which the roads would remain as they are.
Residents at Monday’s meeting demanded a better justification for the project, all the while ignoring requests by Metro’s community outreach officials to hold their questions until the end. Officials trudged through a presentation on the results of several community meetings held back in May, and showed two videos on possible routes –during which residents continued to ask questions about why the routes were even being proposed. Metro officials said there were no technical staff members present to provide answers to those questions.
In the past month, northeast Los Angeles residents who learned of the possible route have passed out flyers, circulated emails, and gone door-to-door to share the information with their neighbors. They crowded into community and Metro board meetings to protest the project, which would connect the 710 Freeway with the 210 or 134 Freeway. The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council also voted to oppose the project.
Many of the protesters at Monday’s meeting opposed the project outright, and supported the “no build” alternative. Several were also skeptical of Metro’s claims that the project’s main goal is to relieve congestion.
The sentiment to oppose any kind of future construction was so strong at Monday’s meeting that when one Highland Park resident, Antonio Buenrostro, said he felt there was still a need to relieve congestion in the area, he was immediately “booed” by the audience. When he said he was “not for or against” the project, but feels there “needs to be something” done to relieve congestion and prevent truck idling, several in the audience said it sounded like he had already picked a side. Another person in the audience told him “you obviously don’t [understand]” the route would be “coming through the neighborhood.”
Supporters of the “no build” alternative say they want to keep Metro from pitting communities from different parts of the project area against each other. “I think they are trying to balkanize the communities against each other,” said Highland Park resident Gloria Castro.
Several residents accused elected officials, in particular Los Angeles Councilman José Huizar and Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, who have said they oppose “surface routes,” of hiding behind the language. Some of the sub-surface routes, such as the tunnel or covered trenches would still change the character of the streets along the route, they said.
Others accused Metro officials of not providing the traffic and air quality statistics to support the project, and said officials were being dishonest about the purpose of the freeway.
Highland Park resident Peter Bedard said the project would actually be a “toll-way” paid for with tax dollars, and that its main purpose is to transport cargo from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports inland. “Please talk to us from that point of view. You need to have it spoken to us in a way that is clear, authentic and transparent,” he said.
He added that freeways are outdated, “they are a joke… if you are talking about building a path for cargo, then build a damn train line.”
But Caltrans officials, responding to the uproar over the project and the route affecting Highland Park, are continuing to stress that no final decisions have been made and the proposed routes are still only concepts. “The Highway/arterial improvements proposed for Avenue 64 is one of the many SR 710 Study alternative concepts under review,” Project Manager Michelle Smith stated Wednesday in an email to EGP.
“All of the SR 710 Study Alternative Concepts are still under review. No final decision about any alternative or route has been made.” Smith emphasized.
“Metro and Caltrans will consider feedback from stakeholders and evaluate the recommendations from the technical team to determine which alternatives carry forward.”
From Carla Riggs:
These are two different meetings ~ 1. Pasadena Convention Center
  and 2. Meeting in South Pasadena



 Rhonda and I just went down to City Hall, they gave us orange cards, I just got home and find out they are not passing out comment cards today. They will be available at 5:30 p.m. on Monday at the Convention Center and will be a different color than they generally use.  I called to confirm and they changed it on us.  

    *********************************************************

Venue change for today's Metro meeting in South Pasadena - August 9th

New Meeting Location:
South Pasadena Public Library
Community Room
1115 El Centro St.
South Pasadena, CA 91030


The meeting will also begin at 6:45 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m. to allow for any community members who may need to travel from the original meeting location at the Garfield Youth House to the South Pasadena Public Library Community Room.

 

 

 Posted by Peggy Drouet. From the Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch

Metro's Community Liaison Councils a Sham

Metro is touting their outreach efforts, but community members are feeling left out in the cold.
"What you're seeing on this project is just an unparalleled amount of outreach, moreso than I think we've done on any project ever before. In the old days of roadway projects and environmental documents, you would have a scoping meeting, so you would tell everyone that you're going to do scoping. You'd have two meetings, one in the day that public agencies would go to and then one in the evening that citizens would come to. Then the agencies would disappear, there would be no touch with people until you produced an environmental document. That draft environmental document, maybe several years later, would show up in libraries. Nowadays, it'd be online. You'd call people in, you'd have a couple days of public hearings, then you'd disappear again and people wouldn't hear from you until you had the final environmental document.

"In this case we've developed three different series of outreach that are available. We have our stakeholder outreach advisory committee that we're running policy and decision making through. We have technical advisory committee meetings, and we've actually scheduled community liaison council meetings to help us best understand how to best outreach to the community, make sure we're reaching out to all the groups."
Those are the words of Metro's Executive Director of Highway Projects, Doug Failing, speaking to KPCC's Airtalk on Tuesday morning.
As previously reported on Patch, SR-710 opponents have pilloried Metro both online and in public meetings for what they consider to be insufficient communication regarding the potential highway extension.
Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council member Janet Dodson has called Metro's outreach efforts "a sham." Peter Bedard, a local neighborhood watch captain, said during a community meeting on Monday night that Metro's community liaisons were "failing miserably."
During that same meeting, attendees demanded that their Community Liaison Council (CLC) members stand up and make themselves known. Not surprisingly, no one stood, probably for fear of reprisal from a large and increasingly angry audience.
On Tuesday, we asked Metro spokesperson Anne Killefer if she could provide us with the names of the CLC members, and were turned down.
"To protect the privacy of CLC members, I am unable to provide you with a list of their names or their contact information," Killefer wrote in an e-mail to Patch. "I’m sorry I cannot provide you with any more information at this time."
We recognize that Killefer is only following orders, but Metro's refusal to release the names of people who volunteered for the job of community liaison will surely solidify the opinions of those who have criticized the organization's lack of transparency.
The list of CLC responsibilities listed on the Metro website include:
  • Sharing updates with others
  • Providing feedback to the study team
  • Helping shape improvements proposed for the study area
  • Gathering feedback received from others in your community
  • Recommending outreach activities and making suggestions to enhance the public participation program
How can CLC members fulfill any of these responsibilities if they remain anonymous? Ideally, the CLC would provide community members a chance to give unvarnished feedback to their peers, which would then be relayed to Metro staff. Not everyone is comfortable communicating directly to government agencies, especially those with plans to build highways through their neighborhoods.
Sam Burgess, a longtime freeway fighter from South Pasadena, said the reason the CLC has been so ineffective is that many of the volunteers who signed up for the job didn't even realize they had done so.
"How did we become members of the CLC? Easy. Upon arrival at a previous CLC meeting we provided our names and e-mail addresses on the sign-in page. Presto! We were your representatives--without knowing it! This now applies to all of you who signed in on the Metro sign-in sheet. You are now a CLC member and are responsible for notifing your community of all things Metro."
Burgess' comments reveals Metro's CLCs to be little more than a trumped up sham, an effort to disguise gathering names and e-mails as meaningful outreach.
It's unlikely that Metro will ever win over residents of Highland Park or South Pasadena, given the potentially devastating impact a freeway extension would have on homeowners. However, telling the truth might be a good place to start.
We think Metro needs to drop the CLC facade and stop holding community meetings like Monday's, where residents were provided little in the way of technical information about the SR-710 extension.
Instead, it's time that residents were provided access to the engineers and executives who are behind the freeway plans. It's time for Metro to stop touting its outreach efforts, and to start providing real answers.
About this column: Notes from Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch editor David Fonseca
 Posted by Peggy Drouet. From CBS Los Angeles. The cons against the Electric Highway (see post about the Electric Highway posted below. So Caltrans is pushing for it but Metro seems to know nothing about it. But can't they add the Electric Highway without having to expand the number of freeway lanes?

LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Residents attended a public hearing Wednesday night to discuss Caltrans’ proposal to expand the Long Beach (710) Freeway.
“How many thousands of people is that going to affect that can’t afford to move?” Long Beach resident Ben Rockwell asked.
Officials say the goal of the project is to improve public safety, traffic congestion, commerce and public health.
As it stands now, experts say the millions of trucks sitting idle on the freeway give off hazardous pollutants that affect residents.
The area in question is the 18-mile stretch of the freeway between Ocean Boulevard in Long Beach and the 60 Freeway. The proposed plan has five alternatives, including expanding the freeway to 14 lanes and adding trucks-only express lane, as well as a zero-emissions trucks-only corridor.
“That’s where we get into the air quality improvements, where the trucks would be all electric and they would run on what we call a catenary system, which are the cables above the freeway,” Lauren Wonder of Caltrans said.
About 400 homes and businesses would need to be purchased and torn down between the 710 and its junction with the Santa Ana (5) Freeway.
“How could I ever replace my home? Being the fact that I’ve been there for 44 years–the property that I own–I could not qualify to buy it at this particular time,” Long Beach resident John Watts said.
Caltrans says it will not make any decisions until all opinions are considered.
Residents are encouraged to state their opinions through the end of September.
Construction for the project would start in 2020.

 

 Posted by Peggy Drouet, From the Pasadena Weekly

Gridlock on Avenue 64

West Pasadena and Highland Park residents call for a halt to plans for 710 freeway extension

By André Coleman 08/09/2012
One week before the Pasadena City Council was set to discuss a controversial freeway extension that could place a highway through the west side of town, dozens of angry residents from those neighborhoods packed community meetings in both Pasadena and adjacent Highland Park. 
 
Over the past several decades, Caltrans has been planning ways to connect the Long Beach (710) and the Foothill (210) freeways. Since an overland route has been all but scuttled due to a lack of federal funding, officials with Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro or MTA) four years ago came up with plans to build 4.5 miles of twin tunnels connecting the two freeways at the end of the 710 in Alhambra to the 210 in the north. 
 
In the latest plans to build the tunnel, Metro has come up with a number of “alternative” routes for the proposed connector route, one of which includes tunneling underneath parts of Avenue 64 through Highland Park and West Pasadena. Another plan proposes turning the residential street into a six-lane highway. Both options would include the destruction of hundreds of area homes.
 
All of Metro’s ideas so far have been panned by the powerful West Pasadena Residents Association — whose members have vowed to fight any proposal that would destroy their neighborhood — as well as Nat Read, a longtime supporter of the freeway connector.
 
West Pasadena residents have placed signs in yards and contacted elected officials, including US Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Glendale, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, a member of the MTA board of directors whose supervisorial district includes Pasadena. 
 
The council, which has been silent on the issue to date, was unable to take any action on the proposals at its meeting Monday because the matter was not on the council’s agenda. The council is expected to take up the issue at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Conference Center of the Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St.
 
“I encourage and challenge every one of you to come over to District 6 and walk around, not drive,” area resident Lori Mushigon told the council at its meeting last Monday. “And ask your constituents to do the same thing, so you can all see how you are destroying our city by not acting. While you are there, imagine if you were in our shoes and your home was being destroyed and your families were being uprooted.”
 
“I have been a resident for 12 years and I support the city in many ways, and so do thousands and thousands of others,” said Josh Siegel during the public comment portion of the council’s weekly session. “Now it is time for the city to support us. The 710 extension issue is disturbing for many reasons, but most disturbing is my fear that the city of Pasadena will not find a way to support its residents in opposition to these routes. The Pasadena we know and love will forever be changed by many of these alternatives.” 
 
In Pasadena, residents were focused primarily on the well-being of their homes and neighborhoods. 
 
In Highland Park, however, where about 250 people on Monday packed the Ramona Center around the same time the council was meeting in Pasadena, residents questioned the safety of the cargo coming through their neighborhoods as it headed to and from Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles. 
 
Metro, which sponsored the event in Highland Park, will host another meeting on the proposals on Aug. 29 in Pasadena.
 
“Once they have that meeting, that’s it,” said Pasadena resident Dean Stringfellow. “They plan to cover the five plans they have, and that means for the next three years, I can’t sell or borrow on my house. Once that meeting happens, it is over, the damage will be done, and our homes will be ruined.”
 
This isn’t the first time residents in West Pasadena have banded together to protect their neighborhood. In 2003, residents from that area opposed a proposal that would have allowed the National Football League to seize control of the Rose Bowl and build retail facilities around the stadium. The proposal was defeated after the residents threatened to recall Councilman Steve Madison, who cast the deciding vote against the NFL. 
 
Almost 50 years ago, Caltrans seized hundreds of properties in Pasadena, South Pasadena and the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles through eminent domain to connect the freeways, but residents in South Pasadena fought back and were able to stop the plans. After funding fell apart, officials decided a 4.5-mile long tunnel underneath South Pasadena and Pasadena was the best idea. 
 
Even after plans to build the surface route fell apart, Caltrans hung onto the homes and refuses even today to sell them. Earlier this year, the South Pasadena City Council demanded the sale of the properties in a letter to the Southern California Association of Governments.
 
But there may be some wiggle room. Measure A — which passed in 2001 — provided city support for a surface street extension, but not a tunnel. Further, that measure supported a connection between the 710 and the 210 freeways, not Route 134, which Metro’s proposal connects with in all of its plans along Avenue 64.
 
“Although Measure A precludes the council from adopting formal opposition to a surface freeway that extends from the 710 to 210, whether the same constraint applies to a tunnel alternative is a question that requires further study,” said Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard. “There is no doubt in my mind that the council would be free to direct opposition to the alternatives that connect with route 134,” Bogaard said.
 
Nonetheless, residents want to see more action.
 
“Imagine if you ended up being hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt because you have a worthless home, and not because you purchased something outside of your means, but because the government came in and took it away from you,” said Mushigon. “I have to be here to protect my home and protect my family and my neighborhood because, as I see it, you’re not doing anything right now.”
If you plan to speak during "public comment" at the August 13 meeting it is recommended that you drive to City Hall today and fill out a speaker card today.

Pasadena City Hall is closed tomorrow.

Advance speaker cards for the Monday meeting will be accepted by the city clerk's office until 5:30 this afternoon, Thursday, August 9.

There is a real concern that PRO 710 advocates may attempt to fill out all the cards to keep Anti 710 people from speaking

Sylvia
By Peggy Drouet: At the Metro/Caltrans meeting last night, I asked the Metro study representative if they have considered being the first city in the world to build an electric highway for trucks. She said she hadn't heard about it, which is quite surprising as it was introduced to the world at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles this May. Doesn't anyone from Metro/Caltrans go to these symposiums? Try to picture what an electric highway could mean for LA and also for us: a dedicated so much less polluting truck route from the Long Beach/LA ports all the way to the high desert using already existing freeways, thereby negating the need to extend the 710. The link:

http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/05/the_710_could_become_the_worlds_first_electric_ehighway.php

Google Siemens Electric Highway and you will come up with more articles. One I had read is that federal funds would pay for the highway, which would increase the amount of money left from Measure R for public transportation.
By Peggy Drouet. Has everyone noticed that in the literature from our Congressman Adam Schiff he did not take a position on the extension of the 710 through our neighborhood. Does anyone know where he stands on this issue?
By Peggy Drouet. It appears that the City of Pasadena has known about the possibility that our neighborhood was being investigated as early as March 2009 as part of their tunnel project, when the soil was tested at W. Colorado Blvd. and Avenue 64. Link: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/710study/pdfs/710%20TTS%20BN--0016%20Z3-B1%20W.%20Colorado%20Blvd%20and%20Avenue%2064%20CH2MHILL%203.pdf

Which brings up the name CH2MHill, which has been awarded the environmental study for our area. There has been questions about the business ethics, such as kickbacks, about this company. See

http://southpasadena.patch.com/articles/710-freeway-gap-closure-caltrans-metro-
environmental-study-south-pasadena-transit
>>
 
http://www.aim.org/special-report/the-case-of-ch2m-hill-2-billion-in-crony-stimulation/
 
Can we have faith that this company will give our area an impartial environmental review? 
By Peggy Drouet. In case you haven't seen a copy of this e-mail that I sent to our elected representatives and to the SR-710 Study group and to the Metro board, I am posting it here:


To: SR-710 Study, One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012
From: Peggy Drouet, 187 San Miguel Road, Pasadena, CA 91105; e-mail: pdrouet@earthlink.net
Re: The two proposed routes, the F-5 North Portal and the H-2 Plan Along Ave 64, through the San Rafael neighborhood.
From viewing these proposed routes, I have come to the conclusion that the designers of these routes have little knowledge of the unique and sensitive geology of the San Rafael neighborhood. I cannot fault you for not discovering it as the information is hard to find, and, additionally, as the City of Pasadena has been seen to be mystified about it whenever I have asked (for the last 38 years) for help with my storm drainage problems, except for one city engineer who took interest in it about 15 years ago, who informed me, after he researched the drainage problems in the area, that I had opened up a whole can of worms with my questions, one problem being discovered were a number of , at that time, 50-year old, 50-inch cast iron drainage pipes that were deteriorating. However, I also had the Los Angeles County storm drainage people come to my house. They were so relieved to hear that what they thought were their responsibilities in our area as to drainage problems were really the City of Pasadena’s problems. They had recently spent a great deal of money and time fixing a huge drainage problem on Laguna Road near the back of the San Rafael School.
The San Rafael neighborhood has a very high water table, in fact, it is so high that many houses in the neighborhood were built with full basements, needed because of the water collecting under the houses during even moderate rain falls. Most of us with basements have installed sump pumps to pump out the water coming into our basements. Other homeowners without basements have installed sump pumps in their crawl space under their houses to keep water from entering their houses from below.
There are underground streams and underground springs in the San Rafael neighborhood, some already located and some not. One of the underground streams is named the Annandale Stream. It is mostly, but not entirely, contained in the storm drain, built in 1958, running down the middle of Annandale Road. What is not contained comes down along the back walls of both San Miguel Avenue and Annandale Road and which has been nicknamed the Annandale Creek. If this absolutely necessary storm drain is covered over by 6 lanes of traffic, how will it be able to be repaired if need be?
Another stream is under Avenue 64. It is not contained but runs naturally into Johnston’s Lake, which is located between Laguna Road and Burleigh. Additional storm runoff into Johnston’s Lake drains into it from a storm drain running from the Annandale Country Club. One of the natural springs is located near the intersection of Nithsdale and Avenue 64. The City of Pasadena recently beautified Avenue 64 by putting telephone and electric lines underground. What they found out was that pumps had to be installed to pump out the ground water that was seeping in the underground trenches. I have seen the water resulting from this pumping in the street near the east end of the street in front of the San Rafael Library EVEN ON DAYS WHEN THERE WAS NO RAIN OR RAIN FOR A VERY LONG TIME.
There is also an extensive underground pipe system throughout the San Rafael neighborhood. Whether this pipe system was originally an irrigation system for the original San Rafael farmland or a system of pipes installed when this neighborhood was built is not known. However, my three underground gutters plus a pipe in my basement were connected to this drain via a well in my backyard (none still connected), indicating that this drain system was being used in 1928 when my house was built. These pipes are less than a foot underground. I have access to this pipe system through a clean-out near the back wall of my yard and use it to help drain my backyard during rain storms (along with three sumps pumps that drain water into San Miguel Road).  The pipe from my backyard enters into the storm drain on Annandale Road, one of the 12 connectors to this pipe, none of the other connectors being known as to what they attach to. However, whenever the storm drains full up, my pipe no longer drains, indicating a serious lack of capacity of the neighborhood’s storm drains. 
A 480-foot tunnel was built in the San Rafael neighborhood around 1876, called the Beaudry Tunnel. It was between Clubhouse Drive and Brenthal Drive, close to where your proposed tunnel will be built.                  The result of the displacement of underground water from this tunnel, only the width of a horse cart, either resulted in the creation of Johnston’s Lake or to a great enlargement of it.  Note that the lake is above where the Beaudry Tunnel was built.
Another lake in the San Rafael neighborhood was formed during a flood in the 1930s. It still exists at the south end of Glen Summer Road (though I have been informed that it has pretty much dried up, perhaps from the pumping near that area for the beautification of Avenue 64). It is believed that a bog was originally there.
Any disturbance to the storm drainage system in the San Rafael Neighborhood can easily result in catastrophe. The City of Pasadena allowed a downstream homeowner from me to raise his property level so he could install a swimming pool. His neighbors were not informed of his plan, but we discovered it when the water in our backyards would not drain. The City of Pasadena was complicit in blocking a natural storm drain path. Please look at the photo attached as to drainage problems during a rain storm in my backyard. The water comes through a hole in my north backyard wall, which I have to leave open due to the California Rule, which states that access must be allowed from an uphill property into a downhill property.
So, how can you find out about the unique geology of the San Rafael Neighborhood The best source is Don W. Crocker’s (of the Crocker Bank family) “Within the Vale of Annandale.” Copies are available at the Pasadena libraries and other libraries in the Pasadena area. It is no longer being sold but I saw a copy of it available for $63 on e-Bay.
The other source of the drainage problems in the area will be from the present residents themselves. How many people have to pump water out of basements or from under their house during rain storms? How many backyards flood? How many residences still drain into the old underground pipes and how many of these pipes will be destroyed by either one of your plans.  Another source of information is the City of Pasadena: How old and in what condition is the City of Pasadena’s storm water drainage system and how much disturbance can it take?
Additional questions are, how will the displacement of drainage areas (i.e., the building of roads over ground now absorbing water) or of ground water (if a tunnel is built), considering the delicate condition of our high water table, streams, and springs plus all the streams and springs left to be located in the San Rafael neighborhood affect the remaining areas of the San Rafael neighborhood after the demolition of a good deal of the neighborhood.
It appears to me that either of your projects will very probably result in a disaster waiting to happen. I strongly recommend that both of your proposals be removed from consideration immediately. You must know that you and any engineers, etc., who okay this project would be totally responsible for any resulting damage to already sensitive drainage problems in San Rafael Neighborhood now that you have been made aware of this unique geological area.