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

Saturday, August 25, 2012

SR-710 Meetings Calendar

 From the San Rafael Neighborhoods Association (  www.srnapasadena.org ). The association encourages everyone to attend these meeting, espcially those marked with an asterisk (all times and locations subject to change).

*City of Pasadena 710 Community Forum, Tues. Sept. 18, 7:00 p.m., Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St.

Jose Huizar (Los Angeles City Coucilman) Community Meeting, Wed. Sept 19, 6:30 p.m., Highland Park Senior Center, 6152 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles

Steve Madison, District 6 Quarterly Meeting, Tues. Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m., Westridge School, 324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena

South Pasadena SR-710 Community Forum, Wed. Sept. 26, 7:00 p.m., South Pasadena High School, 1401 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena

*Metro Board Meeting, Thurs. Sept. 27, 9:00 a.m. (ARRIVE EARLY), Gateway Plaza (Metro HQ), board Room, 3rd Floor (Next to LA Union Station; take the Gold Line)

Metro Open House, Thurs. Oct. 18, 6:00 p.m., El Sereno Senior Center, 4818 Klamath Place, Los Angeles

*Metro Open House, Sat. Oct. 20, 10 a.m., Maranatha High School, 169 S. Saint John Ave., Pasadena


 Three articles from October 2009 that describe more players in the 710 game and explain more of what went on before we entered into this nightmare. All three articles are from the 710 Freeway, Cleaner Air, Less Traffic and Addressing Quality of Life Issue Blog

Tunnel Connecting the 710 to the 210 Awaits Gov’s Signature — The bill has the backing of all the cities

State Senator Gilbert Cedillo (left) (D-Los Angeles) joins hands with Assemblyman Mike Eng (R), Mayor Steve Placido of Alhambra and Mayor David Sifuentes of South Pasadena at news conference downtown to urge the Governor to sign SB 545. (photos by George Mc Quade)
State Senator Gilbert Cedillo (left) (D-Los Angeles) joins hands with Assemblyman Mike Eng (R), Mayor Steve Placido of Alhambra and Mayor David Sifuentes of South Pasadena at news conference downtown to urge the Governor to sign SB 545. (photos by George Mc Quade)
The Pasadena City Council voted to support the controversial measure that has become an emotion community and political fight for the last several decades between Alhambra and Pasadena.
Los Angeles, CA – Standing on the Northwest steps of Cal-Trans in downtown Los Angeles today (Tuesday 8-22-09) lawmakers on both sides of the isle and controversy shook hands and expressed harmony over a bill that erases a decades old gap in the 710 Freeway between Pasadena and Alhambra. Both the opposition and proponents are urging the governor’s signature.
State Senator Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles)  SB 545 Author
State Senator Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) SB 545 Author
“This is a historic compromise and growing up with all these interconnected freeways, this one part we failed to complete,” said State Senator Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), who authored the Senate version of the measure SB 545, which passed the Senate. It allows the state to continue a 4.5 mile tunnel option to complete the freeway. Most of the debate has been on a surface freeway that would have eliminated homes and trees. The measure removes the surface route from the Regional Transportation Plan. State transit officials have been favored a tunnel option most recently.
“When we were shaking and holding hands on stage, we didn’t want to let go, because it took so long to get here,” Senator Cedillo said. “After 50 years of battle, now is the time for us to come together as a community.  Now is the time to have improved transportation outcomes, to create jobs, to clean the air and improve the quality of life.

“When we see 40 percent of the goods movement coming from ports all over the world through the 710 freeway to LA and Long Beach ports, it’s like water rush to the top of hose, and being pinched at the top,” said Mayor Steve T. Placido of the city of Alhambra. “When many people said that communities could not get together, you said, ‘why not’, and they did. When they said, ‘republicans and democrats could not get together’ you (public) gave us the message that ‘we need jobs,”’ explained Mayor Placido.
Mayor Steven Placido, City of Alhambra
Mayor Steven Placido, City of Alhambra
“And when you think about the fact that for every billion dollars in infrastructure,18,000 new jobs come to the region with high unemployment rates and forclosures, Senator Cedillo’s bill solves those problems. And when you say can the governor signs this bill, you say, ‘why not.’ Placido said.
“When my wife and I moved to Monterey Park 25 years ago we were asked will the 710 Freeway ever be built in our lifetime, and I’m happy to say that it’s within reach,” said 49th District Assemblyman
Assemblyman Mike Eng
Mike Eng

 Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park). “Earlier this month we took a historic step in which the city of South Pasadena agreed to the ‘Gap’ that will complete the town will be underground. The project will cost several billion dollars and we hope it is one of the first public private partnerships (PPP) that can happen under the latest legislation. We have until 2017 to get this PPP going.  For every $billion dollars of infrastructure, we create 18,000 jobs, which equals 50-60,000 new jobs in this area and many of them will be permanent jobs.”

“This goes back to 1949 and 50 years ago the state of California came up with a highway plan, which included a system from Long Beach through Pasadena,” said Pasadena City Councilman Mike Ten. Since then cities have been fighting over a proposed surface route in that corridor.  This is hopefully the first step urging the governor to sign the death of a surface freeway.”
710 Freeway N.C.
710 Freeway N.C.
For the past 50 years South Pasadena has been fighting a surface freeway, because “of the devastating effects a surface street would do to a very small community,” explained Ten. “We’re only three and a half square miles, which means you would cut out about one-sixth of all the homes in our city and completely dividing it in half. It was unacceptable to carve up the city.”

Construction jobs are some of the best paid jobs in California, and it is a project that voters of LA County have already approved with the so-called “Measure R” imposing a half-cent sales tax on themselves for transportation. The tunnel project has received a $780-million financial commitment from Measure R tax fund money. Councilman Ten believes there is hope that it could be the beginning of a new public private partnership.
David Sifuentes South Pasadena Mayor
Mayor David Sifuentes of South Padadena was elated over SB 545 harmony among cities.
Mayor David Sifuentes of South Pasadena agrees. “I was born in El Sereno, which 40 years ago I marched with my older sister for this fight to prevent a surface route destroying, not only El Sereno, but South Pasadena, Pasadena and Alhambra.”

Mayor Sifuentes also said today’s event is unprecedented. “We have joined together, which we have not done in many years to fight for the same effort to get this bill passed. “Once the governor signs this bill, it will provide up to $500 million to the state budget by selling those Cal-Trans homes that’s on that corridor. That alone would add millions to help balance the state budget.”
In terms of California going green it takes thousands of idling cars off the side streets of the cities on the corridor and cleans up the polluted air.
Many of the concerns have been over removal of homes and trees, but a tunnel idea resolves those hurdles. There will be many jobs created in engineering to construction and the cost is estimated from $3.6 billion dollars and up.  It’s also estimated to take about eight or nine years to plan and about that long to dig the tunnel.
Assemblyman Mike Eng, Mayor Steve Placido of Alhambra, Mayor David Sifuentes of South Pasadena, Caltrans Reps. and reps. from the community of El Sereno are all urging the Governor to sign into law  SB 545. This measure also has the support of Southern California Assn. of Governments (SCAG), which is the the clearing house for federal transportion funds.

Gov. could end part of 710 Freeway debate by signing into law Senate Bill 545

 Posted October 11, 2009

 Lee Dolley, former City  Attorney for the City of  Alhambra and Longtime 710 Freeway  advocate said, “This is  one of the most  important bills the  governor could sign  into law today that  would clean up the air we breath, relieve traffic congestion and make both sides of 710 Freeway happy.”
“Congratulations should go out to all of the parties, who supported bill and who have the vision to see a better future and improved the quality of life issues in Southern California.”
“I personally salute the City of Alhambra and other 710 Freeway supporters for their perseverance and patience. We look forward to working with everyone.”

Gov. Veto of SB 545 described as “little bump in long road to completed 710 Freeway”

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Vetoed SB 545 on 710 Freeway

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Vetoed SB 545 on 710 Freeway Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last night vetoed a bill that would have limited the options of completing the 710 Freeway, which is considered the missing link of the regional freeway system saypublished reports.If signed, the bill would have put the brakes on any chance of a surface route. It steps up the chances of another option – a 4.5-mile tunnel under South Pasadena, connecting to the 134/210 freeway exchange.
“When we learned that Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed SB 545 it came as a surprise, because there were many people, who came together in agreement for the first ever on
a 710 Freeway solution,” former Alahmra City Attorney Leland Dolley and 710 Freeway Completion project consultant. Dolley has been working on the 710 freeway completion since 1971.
Leland Dolley, former City of Alhambra attorney
Leland Dolley, former City of Alhambra attorney
“Governor’s vetoe was only a small bump in an long road, because the next step will be to move into a full environmental evaluation of the project.  Now, it’s time to have 710 completion project analyzed under the environmental process,” said Dolley.
“It will be done by the appropriate agencies and transportation clearing houses for funding. It should be clear to everyone involved, that the environmental process should be complete, indepth and agreeable to all parties involved,” explained Dolley.
“The 710 must be completed, because it represents the greatest reduction of air pollution, traffic congestion of any project anywhere in Southern California. Completion is needed and required in order to meet the air quality standards required by law,” he said.
“We’re excited about the project as we believe the 710 Freeway completion  should move forward with due speed. The longer we wait the more its going to cost in terms of  dollars, traffic congestion and health in SoCal,” Dolley said.


Tunnel drives 710 Freeway debate 

(La Canada Valley Sun)

Some consider MTA's dropped alternatives as little more than window dressing.

710 Freeway
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials jettisoned seven of 12 routes to connect the 710 Freeway with other highways. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / August 25, 2012)
The freeway is dead, the tunnel is not and leaders in South Pasadena and nearby cities hope to convince transportation planners to look to a mixture of rail, transit and street upgrades to solve traffic problems in the region.

Last week saw a flurry of activity in the decades-long controversy over how to improve traffic in the so-called 710 gap between Alhambra, where the Long Beach (710) Freeway ends, and Pasadena.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials jettisoned seven of 12 alternatives that were under study. They knocked out a long-contested surface highway connecting the 710 in Alhambra to the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena, routes along Avenue 64 and Fair Oaks Avenue in Pasadena, and transit alternatives that planners said were costly and environmentally unsound.

The five remaining alternatives include a 4.5-mile tunnel to connect the 710 to the 210, transit upgrades, improvements to local streets and the “no-build” alternative planners must consider in their environmental study. The study is slated to wrap up in 2014. MTA officials have said repeatedly they don't favor one option over the other.

But foes believe the tunnel remains the likeliest plan, since it would provide a new route over which trucks could move cargo inland from the Port of Los Angeles.

South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez welcomed Thursday's decision to kill the surface highway. He said he hopes MTA's next decision will be to study multi-modal alternatives, including rail for cargo and transit for commuters.

“We firmly believe that's the best way to deal with traffic issues in the region,” Gonzalez said. “Expanding the light rail system to move people, moving goods through heavy rail, and expanding bike facilities throughout the region will all help us become less dependent on the auto and move goods more efficiently.”

Bill Sherman, a South Pasadena resident and an opponent of the freeway extension, said the tunnel should be the next to go because it would do nothing to ease local traffic.

“The tunnel is a lose-lose situation for the public and a win-win solution for the ports, the truckers and the shipping interests,” Sherman said. “The multimode is the only solution that preserves our way of life without killing us or costing us too much money.”

Pasadena City Councilman Steve Madison was pleased with the decision to knock out the Avenue 64 routes, which would have gone through the heart of his district. He credited a strong turnout of citizens at an Aug. 13 Pasadena City Council meeting, where the city formally opposed three of the MTA highway proposals, as helping to turn the tide.

While proponents of the extension and its foes don't agree on much, a spokesman for a coalition of cities and businesses favoring a 710 extension agreed with MTA critics that the abandoned alternatives were only window dressing. Nat Read of the 710 Coalition, which includes Alhambra and San Marino, said the tunnel remains the best option.

“Metro is forced by environmental laws to suggest and study alternatives,” Read said. “It did that faithfully, but those are just utterly unacceptable alternatives, and were from the beginning.”

San Marino City Manager John Schaefer said his city wants the 710 extension built, as streets including Los Robles Avenue and Sierra Madre Boulevard are clogged by drivers who get off the 710 in Alhambra.

“We're advocating for punching it through,” Schaefer said. “In our community we have all of this vehicle and truck traffic that gets dumped out of the 710 freeway.”

But La CaƱada City Councilman Donald Voss, who sits on two MTA committees advising on the project, said planners should realize that many local cities will remain implacably opposed to a 710 extension, citing concerns about noise, pollution and truck traffic.

“No one wants the negative effect of a northern extension of the 710 as a highway or freeway or roadway in their neighborhood,” Voss said. “At some point Metro and Caltrans have to realize that the affected communities don't want this.”


Neighborhood Update
SPECIAL ISSUE Metro drops most West Pasadena-710 Freeway routes
As you may have heard, Metro has announced that it is dropping all but one of the highway and freeway routes from consideration for SR-710 study.  They have left in the 4.5-mile freeway tunnel route under Pasadena Avenue, identified as F7, along with a bus route and a light rail route through Pasadena. Congratulations to everyone who attended meetings, sent letters, sent emails and posted signs.  Congratulations especially go to the local neighborhood organizations who contributed so much to this fight, including the San Rafael Neighborhood Association; Church Street Neighborhood Organization; Lakeview Court, Annandale Terrace Neighborhood United; Linda Vista-Annandale Association; and the many dedicated individuals in each.

Stay tuned for the next round as we all continue to fight for our neighborhoods and quality of life in Pasadena!

Pasadena quality of life gets examination

[Weston DeWitt  believes this is an important meeting to attend: see August 21 article]

By Janette Williams, SGVN

PASADENA - Examining key data on health, employment, housing, air quality, transportation, education and even public art under the microscope, the city will release its 2012 Pasadena/Altadena Quality of Life Index Report on Monday. Calling it the most comprehensive report ever, Dr. Eric Walsh, director of Pasadena's Department of Health, said it puts special emphasis on mental and maternal health issues. Future reports will zero in on other specific areas such as youth and senior concerns, obesity and diabetes, Walsh said.
This year's overall picture shows a "lot of good things happening in Pasadena in a lot of areas, and a lot of things we're happy to see," Walsh said, citing improved air quality - almost 80 percent fewer unhealthy air days since 2002.
"But the executive summary shows much that isn't good," he said. "A key finding is that almost 25 percent of adults, predominantly 21 to 65 years, have no medical insurance. By default, that means that people in our city who get sick go to Huntington Hospital emergency room, and that CHAP (Community Health Alliance of Pasadena) and other clinics see more indigent patients - or what could be worse, in a sense: people not seen for care unless it's an emergency."
Walsh said the report is "not a picture book" with graphs and images.
"It's text-heavy, although we spent a lot of time painting a picture of what we want in the city," he said.
The index looks at more than just public

health, Walsh said, but, like education, it's an underlying factor in many other areas. "It's not a health-care document. For example we talk about things like graduation rates" Walsh said. "Education in general and the reason it's soimportant is that it's one of the key predictors of lifelong health and that's why we look at it."

Among the findings are that the number of high-school graduates has gone down by 6 percent since 2007 - although Walsh said the dropout rate has gone down - and residents with less than a high school diploma increased 4 percent; that Pasadena has an exceptionally high 42 percent rate of Caesarian births; and that the minimum wage has "stagnated" at $8 an hour, when Walsh said it would take an hourly rate of $18.15 to provide for a household of four.

The report's text has detailed explanations of the statistics, Walsh said, and it examines how such things as good public transportation can affect public health by giving easier access to healthy foods.

"We tell people to eat more fruit and vegetables, but if it takes 40 minutes to get down Fair Oaks to Vons, you see why someone would go to a local fast-food place," he said.

"When you take all those things together, you begin to get a picture," he said. "Overall I'd say for most residents there are a lot of things in place to be a healthy individual or a healthy family, and overall it's a great place to live. But, as a caveat, if you live in certain parts of town and have less than a certain amount of money ... you may have a harder time doing well."

Using information from federal, state and city department databases, the report is compiled for "needs assessment" in public health and general quality of life in Pasadena, Walsh said.

"Secondarily, it's for non-profits, the city and other agencies looking to bring good programs to Pasadena," he said. "Our city has a lot of non-profits and this document supports them when they're going after dollars and resources."

The 2012 Quality of Life Index report will be released at a 1:30 p.m. celebration of the Public Health Department's 120th anniversary on Monday in the Pasadena Central Library's Donald R. Wright Auditorium, 285 E. Walnut St.