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

Friday, August 10, 2012

 This is dated February 18, 2011; LA.StreetsBlog.org. I haven't located any future articles on this, but I think LA's Big Dig was chosen. One of the men at Wednesday's Metro/Caltrans meeting used this term. However, I like "The Golden Freight Freeway" the best. Maybe we can have our own contest.

 Friday StreetPoll: 710 Gap Project

First Round: Let's Rename the 710 Gap Project
  • Nuckols: SR 710 LA’s Big Dig (24%, 60 Votes)
  • Dean: The Golden Freight Freeway (24%, 60 Votes)
  • Najarian: 710 Money Pit (20%, 52 Votes)
  • Jones: Toll Hole (13%, 32 Votes)
  • Bergstresser: 710 Freight Truck Corridor (9%, 23 Votes)
  • Parada/Faigrin: 710 Northern Segment Project (6%, 16 Votes)
  • Vallianatos: The 1920's Road Project (3%, 7 Votes)
  • Glub: The Alhambra Corridor Freight Toll Tunnel Project (or maybe a freeway or transit) (1%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 255
As promised, here’s our poll, based on your suggestions, for an “official Streetsblog name” for the I-710 Extension Project.  We’ll do this “L.A. city election style.”  If no project name gets a 50% vote by the time next Friday rolls around, we’ll have a runoff between the top two names.  The winning name will be the one we use on Streetsblog for the rest of the project study.
This explains what the woman who attended the Metro Board meeting was telling us at the Metro/Caltrans meeting Wednesday night:

Metro Board Can Move Measure R Funds with Two-Thirds Vote


Despite near unanimous opposition by a parade of public speakers, the Metro Board of Directors voted with near unanimity. In fact, there was more disagreement among the present Board Members over grammatical changes to the ordinance that will allow voters to vote on extending the Measure R sales tax than there was over Duarte City Councilman John Fasana’s plan to allow the Board to move Measure R funds dedicated towards highway projects to transit projects. You can read the Board
The Metro Board of Directors, led by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, are proposing to extend the Measure R transportation sales tax passed by L.A. County voters in 2008.  Currently, the tax is set to expire in 2039, but under “Measure R+” it would expire in 2069. By extending the tax, Metro can bond against future revenue to build transit and highway projects faster.
The Fasana motion will allow funds to be moved from highway projects to transit projects, and vice versa, within a funding region. This motion will allow funds generated for highway projects in the San Gabriel Valley to be split between the Alameda Corridor East Grade Separation Project and the Gold Line Foothill Extension if two-thirds of the Metro Board of Directors approves the change. The motion was key to earning the endorsement of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments for the sales tax extension on the fall ballot.
A full list of the Metro Measure R project list and current funding plan is available here.
The only Board Member in attendance to vote against the motion was Metro Board Chair Mike Antonovich. Antonovich argued that because the Mayor of Los Angeles controls four votes on the Board of Directors, he could stop any transfer by just getting one more person to vote with him.  Of course, one could also argue that the entire five member Board of Supervisors could veto any swap themselves.
In truth, speakers spoke against pretty much everything on today’s agenda, which was both a continuation of the Board Meeting from 10 days ago and a special hearing on the Fasana motion. Many used the hearing as an opportunity to voice concerns with the proposed sales tax extension. Advocates for a variety of causes argued that the extension will speed up highway projects to the detriment of the region.
The always colorful John Walsh thundered that the tax extension, which would extend the sales tax until 2069, amounted to a “tax on our children’s grandchildren.” Later, he gestured disgustedly at the Metro Board that with the tax, “We are handing them a $135 billion blank check, unparalleled in the history of the world.”
Also testifying against the sales tax extension was the Bus Riders Union and opponents of the I-710 expansion project.  Speaking for the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, Damien Goodmon attacked public documents prepared to “explain” the sales tax extension for listing the Crenshaw Subway as a project that would be accelerated.  In truth, the Crenshaw Light Rail Line will receive no extra funding or accelerated timeline if the sales tax is extended. After Metro staff referred to this error as a “typo,” other Crenshaw advocates asked why South L.A. voters would support a tax that had no benefits for their immediate community.
In total, the Board approved the Fasana Amendment which allowed the swap of Measure R funds, a change to authorizing language to the ballot language for this fall’s extension, and a plan to publicize (not promote) the extension to L.A. County voters.  Measure R+ still needs the support of the State Senate, Governor Jerry Brown and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors just to make the fall ballot. It needs a two-thirds vote to pass.
http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com:  Residents of Sierra Madre should be strongly opposed to Metro and whoever's interests they are working for when it comes to plowing under vast stretches of the Pasadenas in order to add 4 additional miles to the 710 Freeway. By connecting the San Gabriel Valley's 210 Freeway with the 710 "Cancer Alley" Corridor, one of the truly significant ecological disaster areas in the United States, Metro would be endangering the health and quality of life of everyone living here.

What exactly is it that makes this such a danger to Sierra Madre and all of the other communities located along the 210 Freeway? Simply put, connecting the 710 to the 210 would funnel vast quantities of highly toxic diesel truck traffic from the ports in Long Beach and Los Angeles and right into our neighborhoods. And as anyone who is aware of just how bad things are in the 710 Corridor now in this regard, imagine how it will be once the connector is finished. The combined freeways would become the one major conduit connecting these ports to the inland distribution centers of the hundreds billions of dollars in cheap imported goods being shipped into the United States every month. The effects here would be environmentally catastrophic.

In case you are wondering why Metro, Caltrans and the subservient politicians that enable them have suddenly decided that connecting the 710 to the 210 is such a burning priority in these cash-strapped times, the reasons could very well be economic. Those nations currently holding trillions of dollars in U.S. debt want more efficient and cost effective ways of getting their products into the still quite lucrative American market. The result being that their enabling debtors in Washington DC and Sacramento can't move fast enough in the effort to please them.

Could this be possible contributing factor to why Sacramento can find it in their hearts to take away billions of dollars in school funding, yet still come up with the money to build a 710-210 connector tunnel? I suspect so. It is just a matter of figuring out who these people really work for. Certainly it appears that would not be us.

Then there are those who just don't want to see their neighborhoods destroyed so that the freeway extension can be built. The frontline cities in the fight to stop this ruinous boondoggle have very immediate reasons for their opposition, and that is saving their homes and neighborhoods. And as two articles currently up on the Pasadena Star News website show, people are very angry.

Tempers flare in Pasadena over 710 (click here) - Angered residents filled the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple Wednesday evening to voice their opposition to a proposed 710 Freeway route that would carve through the upscale San Rafael neighborhood. The residents jeered a battery of Metropolitan Transit Authority consultants dispatched by the agency to allay fears that the state has immediate plans to transform a portion of their neighborhood into six lanes of asphalt highway.

As the crowd grew agitated, a Metro consultant said they needed to keep quiet or leave. Long-time San Rafael resident nancy Youngblut wanted to turn the request into a political statement. She's right. If you want to save your home, we should get up and walk out now," Youngblut said.

It is rather telling that the somewhat less than courageous folks running Metro did not attend this particular meeting, choosing instead to pay consultants to do that dirty work for them. And what was the message their mercenary test-crash dummies delivered for them?

Metro officials insisted Wednesday that no definite plans for finishing the freeway are being hatched, but the agency is pressing forward with schematics and is bust eliminating the less likely route alternatives, officials said.

In other words, they are working hard to find out which possible routes will cause the greatest amounts of political difficulty for them, which will by inference then indicate where they can possibly get away with building the 710-210 Connector. By floating the idea that surface routes through politically potent places like San Rafael are a possibility, Metro can then propose the 710 Tunnel as the compromise solution to everyone's concern. There is a definite "divide and conquer" aspect in this, and people need to recognize it.

When State Assembly candidate and longtime Pasadena City Councilmember Chris Holden stated that he is opposed to building "surface routes" connecting the 710 with the 210, he also by inference lent his support to the Metro's so-called "710 Solution." Which is, and always has been, building the tunnel.

And where exactly are the courageous politicians that purport to run Pasadena on these matters? According to another Star News article today entitled "Pasadena residents express strong opposition to 710 plan" (click here), the answer is running away as fast as their feet can take them.

Many accused the council of shying away from the issue and asked for an official opinion against the proposals, citing the South Pasadena City Council's firm stance as an example.

"In South Pasadena the city councilmen are behind (the residents) 100 percent, they were fighting together on one side against the 710 issue," said San Rafael resident Ronda Dagher. "I think it would make a big difference ... we elect them to protect us, to protect our interests."

Too bad the Pasadena City Council can't do the Metro two-step and send in consultants to take their seats when any 710-210 Connector questions come up.

One thing that we can definitely do now is make certain to vote for candidates this fall that openly oppose the building of the 710-210 Connector in any form, be it tunnel, surface route or suspended from dirigibles. So far we do know that Assembly candidate Chris Holden supports construction of the environmentally ruinous the 710 tunnel, while his opponent, Donna Lowe, has clearly stated that she opposes building the 710-210 Connector, and in any form.

Now we need to find out where the rest of the candidates stand. Be sure to hold their feet to the fire every time you get the chance.



http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com
From Carla Riggs: I've read several disgruntled letters regarding the fact that the Metro meetings are a waste of time. People attend, only to find that a PR person has been dispatched to handle the unruly crowds. 
These PR know nothing about the information we want.  ("I'm not one of the technical people".)  It's insulting.  Metro apparently believes they can give us a pat on the head, stating that they will take care of everything.
We know this is untrue.

These meetings must be held so that Metro can attest that they had 'Community Outreach', and the people were informed. If you sign your name on a paper there, that is used as proof.
It's time that Metro had a knowledgeable person attend the meetings; one who can answer intelligently the questions asked.

Please write Metro and let them know your dismay at their lack of true response to this situation.  Below are two letters written, which may give you a thought of what you'd like to tell Metro.
Email the board at  MetroBoard@wpra.net and tell them what you think.
~Carla


1st letter:

Metro Board,

I attended your Pasadena meeting on August 8 and walked away extremely disappointed and upset, because the PR firm that you hired to hold the meeting lacked any information regarding the SR 710 study.  The Metro employee that conducted the Q and A session could not give any answers, much less correct answers.  One of the questions asked by a gentlemen, referred to the Historic Resources map for Plans H-2 and F-5.  She stated that none had been done yet.  Not True...  Take a look at page 11 of the handout from the Stakeholder Outreach Advisory Committee Meeting that took place on July 20th, 2012.    This whole process has been shady.  I would like you to setup another community meeting before October, with the Metro managers and engineers working on the project present so questions can be answered.  One question of concern to the people is what criteria was used to pair down the list of 40 alternative routes to 12?  Would Metro consider other alternatives than the 12?  And what criteria are you using to pair down the 12 routes to 5 in October?

Please let me know when this meeting will occur.

Sylvia Plummer

-----

Letter 2:

Metro Board,

I attended your South Pasadena meeting last night and walked away extremely disappointed because the PR firm that you hired to hold the meeting lack any information regarding the SR 710 study.  The representatives weren't able to answer any questions from the attendees.  I would like you to setup another community meeting asap with the Metro managers and engineers working on the project present so questions can be answered.  One question of concern to the people is what criteria was used to pair down the list of 40 alternative routes to 12?  And what criteria are you using to pair down the 12 routes to 5 in October?

Please let me know when this meeting will occur.

Gary Ching

  Two things of interest in this article which are in large bold letters (my addition). First, of how Caltrans operates as to requests to extend comment times, and, second, that Caltrans has the power to certify the EIRs (they seem to be in complete control of hiring companies to do the EIRs and to certify the work of these companies. Do they need to even consider federal EPA and other federal agencies comments on these EIR reports?)

From Gazettes.com. Long Beach Hears About, Comments On 710 Corridor Expansion Plans

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Posted: Friday, August 10, 2012 5:30 am
A series of meetings and public hearings have taken place this week as outreach to the public for the Environmental Impact Report being prepared for the I-710 Corridor project. The draft EIR for the $5 billion project is being circulated now, with comments due by Aug. 29. There have been requests to extend the comment period, but so far Caltrans (the California Department of Transportation) has declined. The Long Beach series of meetings began Sunday at a meeting of the North Long Beach Community Action Group. Representatives from Caltrans, Metro (the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority) and URS Corporation, the project consultant, were on hand to provide an overview and answer questions.
“We’ve been at this for nine or 10 years already,” said Jack Waldron, URS’s vice president and senior project manager. “Now we’re in the formal EIR process.”
That process could be done as early as the end of the year, with responses to comments made and a final EIR prepared by early 2013. Waldron said Caltrans had the power to certify the EIR, and construction could begin in a few years. The study targets being able to handle traffic demands expected in 2035, Waldron said, but the project would be done before then.
An 18-mile stretch of the 710, from its beginning in the Port of Long Beach to a point near the 60 Highway (where there are railyards) is included in the proposed project. There are four primary alternatives, with one just widening each direction by one lane to five lanes and three including a separate four-lane freight corridor limited to truck traffic. One of those options would be for all trucks while the other two include infrastructure for zero emission electric trucks taking power from lines similar to those running the Metro Blue Line.
Concerns voiced Sunday centered around the on- and off-ramps where trucks would enter or exit the freight corridor. One interchange between the regular 710 and the freight corridor is set for near Del Amo, in the middle of the Eighth City Council District.
“Our concern is with pushing trucks to Del Amo that were on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) or Anaheim (Street),” said resident Laurie Angel. “I’m trying to imagine how much traffic there’s going to be… This is critical to us. We live in the diesel death zone. I see where you are saying it is going to get better, but we want to know how we can make it even better, through mitigation with plants or the like.”
Air quality studies show there already will be an 80% reduction in Nitric Oxide and diesel particulate emissions between now and 2035 due to increasingly stringent regulations on trucks, according to Elizabeth Mahoney, URS’s senior transportation manager. But those numbers can be reduced even further, particularly near the freeway, with improvements.
The separate freight corridor actually increases pollution if all kinds of trucks are allowed to use it because of the increasing number of diesel trucks (traffic is expected to triple, even with more use of on-dock and near-dock rail for cargo movement). But pollution is reduced significantly with the addition of the electric, zero emission option.
In order to limit the amount of private or residential property taken by the freeway expansion, some sections of the freight corridor would be elevated anywhere from 20 feet to more than 100 feet above the current roadbed. Adding power poles for the electric lines would mean massive visual impacts, according to resident John Deats.
But Waldron said the only area with the 100-foot heights would be over the 91 Freeway interchange, with most of the roadway much lower. When questioned about the impact of plans to put the freight corridor over the Los Angeles River levy and potential changes in flood insurance, Waldron said the engineering had been done with studies showing there would be no impact. The Army Corps of Engineers has been asked to comment on the EIR, as well.
The final public hearing took place Thursday, at Rosewood Park, 5600 Harbor St. in Commerce. The draft EIR is available for review at area libraries and at www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710corridor/.
Comments can be made at that website or by writing to Ronald Kosinki, Caltrans District 7, Division of Environmental Planning, 100 S. Main St., MS 16A, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
A Report from Gary Ching:

The information provided by the PR firm that Metro hired was the same powerpoint presention presented at the Highland Park and Pasadena meetings. There were probably about 80 people at the meeting, about 2/3 of the people were from West Pasadena and few from Highland Park. About 15 people made public comments, most of the comments were from West Pasadena residents. The common comment was no one in West Pasadena had received any notification from Metro regarding H-2 and F-5 routes, the residents want more transparency. Everyone that spoke was in opposition of the 710. The crowd also asked the PR firm to report back to Metro that we want Metro employees that make the decisions on the project at any future meetings. The same situation that occurred last night happen tonight, the PR people were not qualified to answer any questions. Since the PR firm made it clear that it was tracking the number of people that attend their meetings, a suggestion was made that the PR firm setup a online method for people whp are not able to come to a physical meeting to voice their concerns. One person that spoke said that several of her neighbors we too old to physically attend and another neighbor has 3 kids so she was not able to attend either. Therefore the number of concern citizens that the PR firm was tracking was inaccurate. One South Pasadena City councilman was in attendance as well as a representative for another one, both were against the 710. The South Pasadena residents and councilman welcomed the support from West Pasadena residents.

I met Jim Miller from South Pasadena who works with the 710 opposition coalition which Claire Bogaard Chairs. He said they have a meeting on Saturday 8//11 at 10:00am at the South Pasadena Library community room and West Pasadena residents are welcome to come. They usually have about 30 people from the different cities in attendance. They usually meet about once a month. He said that they would be willing to give us all kinds for information to help us get started on fighting the 710 routes. Marlene and I have some guest in town this weekend and probably won't be able to attend the meeting. If someone from West Pasadena is available they should try to attend.
Gary Ching

-------
A Report from Bill and Vicki Kea

I went to the South Pasadena meeting tonight. There was not much turnout, but that is understandable with the change in venue at such short notice. It also was South Pasadena’s Farmer’s Market night. No parking in proximity. However, there was passion there. We need to get all involved communities into a coalition. Mmmmm….northeast Los Angeles/Foothill Communities Against SR 710 Expansion.

The mayor of S. Pas and one of their councilmen was there in support of No 710. This is what we need from our council instead of them being so damned stuffy. We also need to tell Holden to go take a hike. No votes for him for his assembly position. He’s a yes-man for the 710.

The S. Pas. sentiment was the same. They don’t want any part of any route of any shape or form and they feel that the meetings of Metro/CalTrans are a farce.

I think we need media attention (TV) and maybe the meeting on Monday 13th is the place to have it.  Let me know what you think. No random interviews. A spokesperson who can address all issues very quickly and efficiently. Or we can have an Ave. 64 “No on 710” parade.

Time is short and we all have the feeling that Metro/CalTrans has already made up its mind.

-------

A Report from Mary Beth Bridges:

Smaller crowd then Pasadena, I would say at least half or more were from West Pasadena.
 All said we were not notified about the Metro meetings. Even So Pas did not have a notice in their paper for tonight's meeting.

Again they could not answer techno questions. They were just the Communications people.

The biggest new item I learned was.....that their were 40 routes and for reasons only known to God and the Metro Board they have cut them down to 12. So out of 40 routes we still have come up with 2 of 12. Didn't sound like good odds to me.
Next meeting is Oct 20th, 10am to 12pm at Maranatha High School

Lots of wonderful passionate speakers. A lady from Highland Park wanted to know why
are they building a freeway if no one wants it? The answer is to move goods but they didn't say that. 

So that was about it.
MaryBeth


Friends and Neighbors,

We want to briefly report on developments relating to the 710 Freeway extension.


This evening the City of Pasadena staff recommended that the City Council oppose three of the potential 710 routes:  (1) the H-2 (the Avenue 64/Colorado six lane highway); (2) the F-5 (the San Rafael area 10 lane freeway); and (3) the H-6 (the six lane highway that would run adjacent to Pasadena Avenue in the South Orange Grove neighborhood).  City staff did not recommend that the Council oppose surface and tunnel freeway routes near Pasadena Avenue/South Orange Grove, believing that the City's 2001 Measure A referendum might prevent the Council from taking such a position.


IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU ATTEND MONDAY NIGHT'S CITY COUNCIL MEETING.

The Council will be voting on the staff's recommendation, and it is critically important that members of the community continue to have their voices heard with respect to all 710 options.  Moreover, Metro will be making a presentation at the meeting, and Metro must not be allowed to undermine the efforts that so many neighbors have made over the past few weeks to show our opposition to the 710.


City Council opposition to the 710 will be an important step, but it is just a step.  Our biggest fight remains with Metro, which to date has steadfastly refused to drop consideration of routes that would destroy our neighborhood and the surrounding communities.  We must continue to pressure Metro at every opportunity to end this ridiculous SR 710 study of the destruction of homes, businesses and neighborhoods.

John and Monica Shaffer
710 Freeway Committee

San Rafael Neighborhoods Association

SRNA 710 News
August 10, 2012
For Immediate Release
Contact:
Ron Paler, President

San Rafael Neighborhoods Association

SRNA
News

A Letter from John Shaffer:
 
Friends and Neighbors,

We want to briefly report on developments relating to the 710 Freeway extension.

The City of Pasadena staff recommended that the City Council oppose three of the potential 710 routes: (1) the H-2 (the Avenue 64/Colorado six lane highway); (2) the F-5 (the San Rafael area 10 lane freeway); and (3) the H-6 (the six lane highway that would run adjacent to Pasadena Avenue in the South Orange Grove neighborhood). City staff did not recommend that the Council oppose surface and tunnel freeway routes near Pasadena Avenue/South Orange Grove, believing that the City's 2001 Measure A referendum might prevent the Council from taking such a position.

IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU ATTEND MONDAY NIGHT'S CITY COUNCIL MEETING. The Council will be voting on the staff's recommendation, and it is critically important that members of the community continue to have their voices heard with respect to all 710 options. Moreover, Metro will be making a presentation at the meeting ,and Metro must not be allowed to undermine the efforts that so many neighbors have made over the past few weeks to show our opposition to the 710.

City Council opposition to the 710 will be an important step, but it is just a step. Our biggest fight remains with Metro, which to date has steadfastly refused to drop consideration of routes that would destroy our neighborhood and the surrounding communities. We must continue to pressure Metro at every opportunity to end this ridiculous SR 710 study of the destruction of homes, businesses and neighborhoods. 

John and Monica Shaffer
710 Freeway Committee
San Rafael Neighborhoods Association

 Logo 

For more information: www.srnapasadena.org
Posted by Peggy Drouet. This is a link to a disturbing article about Metro/Caltrans preliminary environment study of the 710 Corridor Project--the changes to the 710 from the Long Beach/Los Angeles Ports to the present end of the 710. What is happening south of us does affect what is happening in our neighborhood as to how Metro/Caltrans seems to be operating: http://www.lbreport.com/news/jul12/710eir2.htm

There are complete nut cases at the head of the both the 710 Corridor Project and the 710 Extension or something was promised to the foreign companies who are expanding our ports so that plans for new truck routes (both projects) must go ahead or there is pressure being exerted by some other source so that Metro/Caltrans needs to justify, in any way possible, these projects and anything that is thrown back at them will not be listened to or taken into account by them. It appears from this article and other articles written about these projects and our own dealings with Metro/Caltrans and the non-responses from many of our elected officials that no matter how many smoking guns are uncovered nothing will persuade them from going ahead with these projects, which they keep telling us are only preliminary studies. If they were only preliminary studies, with all the smoking guns already presented to them, they would have already dropped these projects.