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 31, 2012

What’s One Goal Facebook Has Helped You Achieve? [OPEN THREAD]



 Posted by Charles Miller

In just a few short weeks, Facebook has me connect 1,400 residents across the 710 Freeway corridor through Pasadena, South Pasadena and LA we have put together an extraordinary outreach effort across city, economic and racial lines. Facebook enabled us to quickly organize around fight off a freeway extension that would disrupt the health and homes of our neighborhood and financial health of L.A. County.

We have exposed just how flawed MTA’s outreach and planning has been, and forced them to kill seven ridiculous routes two months early. Facebook helped us organize mass rallies and connect to communities all the way to Long Beach where the MTA wants to expand the 710 Freeway to 14 lanes.

Now, we have the LA City Council officially on board with our position and just this Wednesday we organized an MTA task force on the 710 Freeway to the test Metro for honesty and competence. They failed.

From what we have learned collectively from each other on Facebook, we know we must defeat Measure J — the extension to 2069 of 2008′s Measure R in L.A. County that is generating $40 billion to build the freeway extension, the subway-to-the-sea, the $1 billion Sepulveda Pass 405 HOV lane and other projects — this measure alone is planned to be leveraged (read mortgaged) to enable more misspending and let the corruption continue.

Thanks to Facebook – it has changed our very local politics as much as it has changed the world.

[There is a Facebook page listed as "No 710 on Avenue 64. Charles E. Miller posts on it, so I assume this is the Facebook page being referred to in the article above.]

Los Angeles gets a taste of its own medicine

Posted on | August 31, 2012 | The Press-Enterprise -- http://blog.pe.com/cassie-macduff/2012/08/31/los-angeles-gets-a-taste-of-its-own-medicine/

The Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution this week opposing the extension of the 710 Freeway through South Pasadena.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants to connect the 710 with the 210, but L.A. officials say that would disrupt peaceful, long-established neighborhoods.

Oh, L.A. I understand. You don’t want an outside authority controlling your destiny.

Now you know how Ontario feels.

Repeat after me: L.A. controls Ontario International Airport. ONT has dropped 3 million passengers since 2007. Ontario officials want local control so they can revive ONT.

Get it, L.A.?
The lonely terminal at ONT
The Alameda Corridor

Sent to Carla Riggs

They were having trouble paying off their bond debt because not enough revenue was being collected per train car load during 
 the recession.  It was a public-private investment deal.

Articles on the Tunnel Boring Machine:
Sent to Carla Riggs:
Here is some of the massive destruction which would happen at the beginning of the tunnel boring process.
Includes picture of tunnel boring machine and video.

Here is something those in favor of the tunnel and those promoting this grand plan might find interesting. 
This is the boring device the Chinese are using to dig a tunnel under the Yangtze River which is roughly the same distance as the proposed 710 tunnel.
 (And, I have to note the many infrastructure problems that have been occurring throughout China over the past year or so ... highway bridges collapsing and such, and of course, the disastrous high speed rail crash last July. -- report from Audrey O'Kelley

And here's a link to the article about this tunnel: 
Freight to Rail Solution

     If you go to the bottom of the page and click on "The Future of Freight" there is a short video that outlines the program being used
on the East Coast to significantly reduce traffic and freeway usage by trucks.


    It could save Caltran millions in research money by simply watching this video!
    Information provided by Kim Madrigga-Krentz

New Facebook group "No on Measure J"

San Rafael Neighborhoods Association Meeting

For Immediate Release
Ron Paler, President


 San Rafael Neighborhoods Association
General Meeting
Sept. 5th. 7pm
Church of the Angels
1100 Ave. 64

SRNA will hold a meeting open to the public on September 5th, 2012, 7pm, at the Church of the Angels on Ave 64, Pasadena, Ca. The meeting will be held in the hall adjacent to the church (where we vote). Light refreshments and cookies will be served. Seating is limited.

The general meeting is for interested neighbors to meet SRNA and other neighbors,get updates on the issues affecting our neighborhoods, etc. An update on the 710 will be discussed.

We hope to see you there. 

 Together, we can continue to make a difference!

San Rafael Neighborhoods Association

For more information: www.srnapasadena.org

Caltrans on the 710 Tunnel Project: Trust Us, We Know What We’re Doing

June 9, 2009, LA.StreetsBlog.org -- http://la.streetsblog.org/2009/06/02/caltrans-on-the-710-trust-us-we-know-what-were-doing/

[ A two-year old article but Caltrans' attitude to those who will be affected by the building of the tunnel remains much the same]

Last week, community forums were held in Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge on the proposed project that would construct a tunnel connecting the I-710 and I-210 freeways in Pasadena.  The Glendale News Press reported, in two separate stories, that opposition to the project is as strong as ever and that Caltrans isn't happy that the opposition is speaking up now.

Joining residents in voicing his displeasure was Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian, who claims that the project would cause "tremendous damage" to his constituent's quality of life.  Najarian also sits on the Metro Board and is scheduled to Chair the Metro Board for the 2010 Fiscal year, beginning in 29 days.  Nearly 250 people attended the two hearings, and most of those in who spoke raised questions about the project's impacts on their lives or opposed it altogether.

The main concern voiced was that completing a connection between the two highways will not only increase traffic on the roads, but also push some of that traffic onto local streets.  In other words, while it may temporarily provide some relief on the highway, it would do so by permanently congesting their local streets.

Caltrans wasn't impressed The next day a second article appeared in the News Press with District Director Doug Failing urging those in opposition to what Environmental Defense has called one of the worst highway projects in America, to hold their opposition until Caltrans can complete it's study that will tell it whether or not to proceed with an environmental study.  Basically, Caltrans wants those in opposition should trust Caltrans to do what's best for everyone.

Failings call for opponents to cease fire would carry a little more weight if he were calling it for both sides.  Oddly, while Najarian is urged to hold his fire while Caltrans does its studies, the same calls weren't made when speeding traffic advocate Asm. Mike Eng taunted Smart Growth advocates that the 710 would be extended "whether they liked it or not."  When government agencies are asking opponents to calm down and not doing the same for proponents, it creates the image that the decision has already been made.

Of course, once the decision's announced, then I'm sure opponents can voice whatever opinions they like.

Former Metro Board Chair: How Much Will 710 Tunnel Cost?

[An article from 2010 which includes a chart showing the estimated cost of building the tunnel. I believe the estimated 2012 Caltrans/Metro estimate is a bit under $4 billion]


Maybe Ara Najarian has been reading the news about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie canceling the ARC Rail Tunnel Project because of concerns about cost over runs.

Najarian, the Glendale Mayor and Member of the Metro Board, tells the Glendale News-Press that he will ask the Metro Board of Directors to order a cost analysis to build an underground tunnel connecting the 710 Freeway, which now ends in Alhambra, to the Pasadena Freeway.  Usually, a cost analysis is part of the environmental studies, but given the potentially huge cost of the project, and the wildly different estimates given for the project over the years (see chart below); Najarian is arguing that Metro should have some hard fiscal figures before committing to spending nearly $60 million on an environmental study.

While Najarian announced the motion to the press and hinted at it on the “No 710 Freeway Tunnel” Facebook Page, the motion does not appear on the Metro Board Schedule for this month.  Given that the schedule is so packed that they moved the start of the meeting to 9:00 A.M. from 9:30 A.M., it’s possible that a hearing for the motion will be delayed until next month.
Chart Provided by "No 710"
Chart Provided by "No 710 Freeway Tunnel"
Najarian’s motion and press statements echo a recent op/ed by Assemblyman Anthony J. Portantino which was subtly titled “710 Tunnel Could Devestate the Region.”  In it Portantino writes:
Despite ardent calls from the La Cañada Flintridge City Council and my office to slow this process, freeway proponents plan to charge ahead, potentially before even January. It is imperative that we continue to advocate for a valid cost-benefit analysis before hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted on a tunnel project that will be a financial disaster and devastate Northeast Los Angeles, South Pasadena, Pasadena, La Crescenta, Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge.
Despite the momentum tunnel opponents are gaining, they face a tall task on Thursday.  In addition to the potential impact of Board Member Fatigue, there’s also the minor issue that the majority of the Board favor the project…or at least are pretending to because powerful unions are very upfront about the jobs a tunneling project would create.  Anyone that doubts the political power of unions has to look no further than last week’s press conference announcing the loan for the Crenshaw Line when two union bosses sat on stage and made speeches while Metro Board Members, City Comptroller Wendy Greuel, the Mayor of Inglewood and Denny Zane sat in the audience.

Najarian himself jokes of his proposal’s chances that in front of the Board, “They are going to want to kill it and kill me, probably, because it raises the question of the cost estimate,” but there is some hope for the “No 710 Freeway Tunnel” crowd on Thursday.  Metro Board Members always seem to have plenty of scheduling conflicts on the day of Board Meetings, and a vote late in the meeting could be missing so many board members that the motion could pass with only a handful of votes.
Guest Op/Ed: Gaps in 710 Tunnel Arguments 

 [An article from a year ago but still relevant]


(I’ve noticed that ever since South Pasadena passed a resolution cooling some of their resistance to the 710 Big Dig that the War of Words over the project has picked back up.  While researching an article on that issue, I came across “Under the Paperweight: Gaps in 710 Tunnel Arguments” at The Sunroom Desk, a great local blog in Glendale.  Elise Kalfayan generously allowed us to republish her article. – DN)
A weak attack launched in an LA Times Op-Ed by James Moore calling for completion of the tunnel was no match for the conviction of Michael Dieden, whose“Blowback: I-710 Tunnel such a 1950s idea” a week later cited the Gold Line and its advantages for the revitalized neighborhoods that have steadfastly opposed the 710:
If it were not for ordinary citizens, led by South Pasadena residents, the historic neighborhoods in Pasadena, South Pasadena and Alhambra would be wiped out today. Instead, these cities are now served by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Gold Line light rail. Their neighborhoods are not only intact, but have matured into some of the most desirable in Southern California. In addition, around the Gold Line’s stations, new transit-oriented neighborhoods have sprouted. Such developments offer housing opportunities in walkable neighborhoods to families that can forgo an automobile and save $10,000 annually for the cost of owning a car, allowing for a more productive use of hard-earned income for college accounts, family vacations and emergency family needs.
The example was a clear rebuke both to Moore’s arguments and to his longstanding opposition to light rail transportation alternatives.
Moore’s “points for moving ahead” are all desperate measures: Keep the federal government out of the project. (And shift the entire $10+ billion burden to California taxpayers, already facing a worsening budget crisis?)Accelerate environmental review (A six-mile freeway tunnel under urban Los Angeles with rushed environmental review???) Include a limited list of cities in a joint powers authority but exclude everyone not immediately adjacent (Isn’t this a major regional transportation initiative?) Invite a public private partnership to create a toll scheme (Nobody knows if this could be profitable or not, and many completed projects haven’t shown a good return. Moore starts by retreating here: “Costs cannot be carefully estimated until the tunnel is designed, but even rough calculations show that tolls would give private-sector partners a competitive return on investment.”) With these as starting points, the better part of valor would be to surrender and stop trying to build the freeway.
Building the I-710 tunnel under South Pasadena, Letters to the LA Times, August 2, 2011, also responded to Moore’s editorial. Excerpts:
California’s transportation planners need to start looking forward and design rail to transport trucks and goods and to develop a variety of public transit opportunities for commuters. Only then will we find relief.
Looking ahead, what does a healthy Los Angeles in 20 years look like? More freeways, congestion, pollution and disruption? Or more social interaction, recreation, working at home, parks and a richer quality of life?
Moore also published With the Carmageddon Fresh in Our Minds, Why We Must Finish Another Vital L.A. Artery, Engineering News-Record, July 25, 2011. Excerpts:
A small but highly organized, vocal group delayed the project by learning exactly where to insert monkey wrenches into the gears of public process. They made the project appear controversial; but the freeway system cannot function as it should with this gap, hence the final link is going forward.
…since the federal government can no longer pay for new highways or fix the old highways, we must shift our focus from government funding to private capital. Private companies will build new roads in exchange for the trip tolls that will provide investors a profit.
The final link isn’t going forward. Advance is blocked by a Federal Injunction against the project. Complaining about a “highly organized, vocal group” sounds like battle fatigue and growing frustration with the rules of engagement. Further, where is there any justification for the belief that private industry will tailor a public project to serve long-term public interests? Our financial and market system doesn’t reward that kind of altruism.
Earlier rounds in this summer battle series seized on Carmageddon as a justification for completing the 710. These were also soundly defeated.
Freeways are not the answer, Letter to the Glendale News-Press, July 25, 2011, answered an earlier letter by 710 Freeway Coalition Chair Nat Read claiming that Carmageddon-like conditions exist every day on the 5, 2 and 134 freeways because of the 710 gap.
Opinion: the 405 closure as a case for multi-modal transportation in L.A., Metro: The Source, June 17, 2011, argues that:
In our multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-faceted city we’ve left the “multi” prefix off of one very important element: our transportation system.
We trapped ourselves in single mode city and suffer the consequences each and every day, whether it be from our daily car-tastrophes (traffic, accidents, road rage) to our occasional carmageddons.
…Hopefully any pain caused by July’s 405 closure will only serve as an incentive to continue to support the non-highway projects that will finally turn L.A. into a multi-modal city.
Print fronts in this series of summer battles include a Business Life Magazine editorial by Nat Read, which called the project “the last remaining gap in the basic core of Los Angeles County,” and a Pasadena Review rebuttal by Janet Dodson on behalf of the No 710 Action Committee, siting other freeway concepts abandoned since the 1958 Master Plan of Freeways. Dodson goes on:
Communities across the region from Glendale to Los Angeles to Commerce have declared their opposition to this tunnel. They all understand the economic and environmental dangers in the proposal. No one has been able to figure out what the advantage to the toll tunnels could possibly be, except to the individuals who see potential massive profit for themselves as the expense of the population and the tax base. The tunnels will increase pollution, they will be dangerous, and will also cost untold billions…
In this 21st Century, we have the special opportunity to offer greener, more forward-thinking concepts to modernize our crucial ports and transportation systems. Here in the land where freeways first flowered, we should advance to the next step, leaving the century-old concepts behind in the dust.