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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Liu: Toss the 710 tunnel from study

La Cañada lawmaker latest to weigh in on controversy over Long Beach (710) Freeway extension.


State Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) on Tuesday called for regional transportation officials to eliminate consideration of a tunnel extending the Long Beach (710) Freeway to Pasadena, becoming the latest to lawmaker to stake out a position in an increasingly hot debate.

Liu on Tuesday wrote to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, asking that the tunnel option be tossed from the MTA's on-going environmental report on closing the 710 gap.

Last week Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) told MTA leaders he believed the tunnel would be too costly and is widely opposed by nearby residents.

On Sunday, state Assemblyman Mike Eng (D-Monterey Park) wrote a letter saying the tunnel would ease congestion for his San Gabriel Valley constituents and should remain an option.

Liu, whose district includes longtime tunnel opponents Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge as well as Pasadena, San Gabriel and Temple City, wrote, “The tunnel option is not feasible, not now, not ever, for several reasons. It is too expensive, it is too disruptive, it does not solve the problem of growing truck traffic.”

Liu also argued in her letter that the tunnel project would divert funds from other transportation projects that have broad-based support, such as increasing capacity on existing roadways and on the Gold Line light rail system.

-- Daniel Siegal, Times Community News

DEIR ltr Sept 2012.docx Version History
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Posted by Judy Filere Bergstresser on No on Measure J Facebook page

Ronald Kosinski
Deputy District Director, Division of Environmental Planning
California Department of Transportation - District 7
100 South Main Street, Suite 100, MS 16A
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Use the following link to submit your formal comments on the I-710 Corridor Project Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS). All comments received by September 28, 2012 will be part of the public record and responded to in the Final EIR/EIS which is scheduled to be released in early 2013.


Whatever your points, preface them with a statement to this effect:

I am writing to CONTEST THE COMPLETENESS AND ACCURACY of the I-710 Corridor Project Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) of June 2012.   

Here are some points you can make:

The I-710 project WILL NOT Improve Air Quality or Public Health or Traffic Safety
*    It is a primary fallacy that expanding any highway will reduce traffic or congestion.
*    Metro accurately states that within the I-710 corridor study area, air quality would decrease and public health risk would increase due to increased traffic and congestion.  Therefore, if traffic and congestion increase as a result of the I-710 expansion, air quality will decrease and public health risk will increase.
*    Caltrans claims that air quality can be improved by creating more traffic lanes for cars and trucks is unproven and misleading -- increasing traffic capacity has not been and will not be proven to improve air quality or public health
*    Increasing lane width and travel speeds has not been and will not be proven to improve traffic safety.

Caltrans Modeling, Estimates and Conclusions are Inaccurate, Misleading or Unfounded
*    The analysis and applied screening criteria used by Caltrans to assess the relative benefits, impacts and costs of proposed EIR alternatives have been rejected as inadequate and inaccurate in three separate EIRs.
*    Some of the alternatives for expansion showing increased PM (particulate matter pollution) levels, yet decreased health risks.
*    The EPA and US Army Corps of Engineers have raised valid concerns regarding the analytical methodologies used to evaluate potential impacts of the I-710 Corridor project.

The I-710 Corridor is Already a “Diesel Death Zone” of Environmental Injustice
*    The DEIR states “Diesel particulate matter (DPM) is the greatest contributor to air quality-related cancer risk in the South Coast Air Basin” and that “approximately half of the DPM is emitted by diesel trucks using the freeway and roadway systems”  yet the preferred alternatives provide four new lanes dedicated exclusively to vehicular freight traffic.
*    The communities along the I-710 corridor are subject to continuous over-exposure to hazardous particulate and noise pollution.
*    Ninety one percent of the residents living in the I-710 corridor are people of color. Sixty four percent are low income families.
*    Women who live near heavy traffic roadways have a greater risk of having low birth weight children and those children are more likely to develop asthma. 
*    Over a lifetime, living with freeway pollution increases the likelihood of adult onset asthma, heart attacks, cancer and premature death.

The I-710 project WILL NOT Reduce Energy Consumption or Improve Cost Effectiveness
*    Building more freeway miles creates “induced demand.”
*    Greenhouse gas emissions are directly related to fuel consumption. That means moving freight by rail instead of truck lowers greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent.
*    Los Angeles’ massive network of freeways has caused our region to have the worst air quality in the nation.
*    Evidence and research show that if we expand a roadway to relieve traffic, additional drivers will fill the new, momentarily non-congested space, leading to an increase in VMT and emissions.
*    Despite well-documented lessons from countless other freeway development projects, Metro claims that new traffic lanes will reduce congestion and truck idling and therefore improve air quality.
*    Expanding freeways to accommodate more cars and trucks is not a long term solution to our transportation, infrastructure and environmental needs.

The I-710 project DOES NOT Accommodate Growth in Activities Related to Goods Movement
*    Most damage and wear-and-tear to our freeway system is caused by high-tonnage freight vehicles
*    High-fatality collisions, toxic spills, fire and explosion risks quadruple when diesel trucks share lanes with general traffic
*    The massive reconstruction to correct “highway design deficiencies” is required for Heavy Duty Truck traffic, not general purpose traffic.
*    For safety, cost effectiveness, efficiency, pollution control and to accommodate sheer volume, freight traffic must be segregated from passenger traffic

Goods Movement Must Be Rail-Based, Not Road-Based
*    Caltrans’ own study states “…on certain freeway segments within the City of Long Beach…, Heavy Duty Trucks make up over 30 percent of the traffic stream during the day, as opposed to an average daily truck percentage of 6 to 13 percent on comparable freeways within Los Angeles County”
*    Rail fuel efficiency is 1.9 to 5.5 higher than truck fuel efficiency in terms of ton-miles per gallon.
*    43% of all imported goods arrive in America through the Ports of San Pedro — It does not make sense to move freight one container at a time via truck when rail has a capacity of 600 to 700 containers per train
*    Rail is faster, safer, cleaner and less damaging to health and the environment than truck transport.

Negative Right of Way Impacts Will Not be Corrected
*    Near-roadway sensitive receptors (schools, hospitals, health centers, old-age homes, etc.) will be exposed to substantial pollutant concentrations that cannot be mitigated— creating “a significant unavoidable adverse impact” under CEQA law.
*    The project design has not determined the specific locations of some utility relocations, especially the 66 kV lines owned by Southern California Edison between I-405 and SR-91.
*    Metro’s own assessment is that “Permanent noise impacts will be a significant unavoidable adverse impact under CEQA.”
*    Caltrans foresees 261 residential displacements causing “significant and unavoidable permanent population and housing impacts.”
*    All build alternatives carried forward impact the following facilities: Parque Dos Rios, Rancho Rio Verde Riding Club, Golf Learning Center, Compton Par 3 Golf Course, Coolidge Park, Bandini Park, Cesar E. Chavez Park access/ parking benefit, and Los Angeles River Trail access.
*    All build alternatives carried forward create permanent direct impacts to .94 to 4.08 acres of estuarine and riparian/riverine habitats and permanent indirect impacts to 13.46 to 16.21 acres of this habitat.
*    Caltrans projects 19 miles of noise barriers will be required for their preferred alternative.

L.A. County Supervisors Spent Thousands on V.I.P. Chauffeur Service in D.C.


antonovich county supes.jpeg
Supervisor Antonovich, head of Metro, refuses to take the subway.

After years of criticizing the every move of Los Angeles County's five-member governing board, gadfly extraordinaire Eric Preven -- known by county supervisors as the pesky mosquito who's never missed a meeting -- finally gets his crowing and legitimizing moment this week with a juicy expose on the board's V.I.P. transportation habits.

A California Public Records Act request filed by Preven, and picked up by the Los Angeles Times' news blog last night, reportedly shows that...

... "the supervisors spent thousands of taxpayer dollars for chauffeurs and Lincoln Town Cars while traveling on county business."

We've contacted Preven for the full extent of the supervisors' chauffeur schedule. But according to the Times, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas spent $2,069 and Supervisor Mike Antonovich spent $1,733 on taxpayer-funded private drivers during their four-day trip to Washington, D.C. in June.

As usual, they were in the U.S. Capitol to beg for some more L.A. subway funds -- ironic, considering they're apparently too ninny/self-important to take the subway themselves.

Antonovich was recently appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a wealthy county department that has recently been hacking away at bus service -- and certainly not offering private chauffeurs -- for the county's lowest-income residents, the ones who need public transportation the most.

And the chauffeuring wasn't a one-time summer indulgence, reports the Times.

A month prior in May, while the supes were in Washington, D.C., to clear up how, exactly, Obamacare would affect county health operations (and more subway politicking, of course), Supervisor Don Knabe reportedly joined Antonovich and Ridley-Thomas in dropping major taxpayer dime on private cars to whisk them around the Capitol. (Again, we've contacted Preven for exact figures.)

The supes are pushing all press inquiries onto Assistant Chief Executive Ryan Alsop, who's out of his office at the moment. But Alsop argued to the Times last night that given all the back-to-back meetings and rainy weather during their recent trips to D.C., the supervisors were just taking the necessary steps to ensure they kept their tight schedule.

"You don't want to be late for a meeting with some of the important lawmakers they have to see," said Alsop.

The only one who didn't call a chauffeur, reports the Times, was Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, "who relied on cabs, the Metro subway and walking." (Go Zev! But the hero of Preven's records request is an unlikely one, seeing as Supervisor Yaroslavsky has exhibited more rage than any of his colleagues toward the county's No. 1 gadfly. "Somehow you think you own this place," he growled at a recent meeting.)

This behavior is nothing new. The Times revealed in 2010 that each county supervisor receives an annual allowance of $3.4 million to sspend on office luxuries and pet projects. For example, Yaroslavsky had dropped over $200,000 on his super-spiffy new website and social-media accounts, and Knabe was paying an "armed driver" $90,000 a year to escort him to and from county functions.

Stay classy, supes! But not that classy.

Support Community Alternative 7 for the I-710 Freeway Project

Physicians for Social Responsibility--Los Angeles


The I-710 Corridor Project is the largest transportation project in the country -- from the Los Angeles and Long Beach Port Complex to the SR-60 Freeway. We need this project to also be one of the healthiest transportation projects in the country. We need all public health advocates to join efforts with environmental groups, environmental justice communities and social justice organizations to ensure that the preferred and selected Alternative at the end of the I-710 DEIR process is the Alternative developed by Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice (CEHAJ) -- Community Alternative 7.
Dr. Roberta Kato and Dr. Felix Nuñez, two of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles’ environmental health ambassadors have stood up for health and have rejected Caltrans claims that the proposed alternatives in the DEIR will improve public health. Take a look at Dr. Kato's letter published in the Long Beach Telegram and LA Streetsblog, "Freeway Expansion is a Pill for Poor Health " and Dr. Nuñez's letter published in EGP News, "Freeway Expansion is a Misguided Approach to Improve Air Quality." You can find more background information on the project below. Deadline to sign on is this Thursday, September 27th!
We need your support to make Alternative 7 a reality. Please sign your name onto the letter below, stating that you want Caltrans to select Community Alternative 7. You can also directly submit your comments on the Caltrans website: Caltrans’s Website: http://www.mbimedia.com/I-710/ 
Dear Mr. Kosinkski,

I am concerned that the Alternatives presented in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the I-710 Corridor Project fall short of providing a long-term solution to the project area’s congestion, air quality impacts and travel demands.

Given the magnitude and national significance of the project, and the life-long impact that the 18 communities residing along the project will experience, the EIR should include a more comprehensive approach to the project’s design by analyzing other modes of reducing traffic congestion than the proposed two-lane expansion included in all the Alternatives with the exception of the No Build Alternative.

I would like Caltrans to analyze and design the project from a health, community and sustainability framework, not just a goods movement framework. Traditional frameworks of building and expanding freeways and roads to move people and goods through the region have gotten us where we are today: with a Southern California freeway system that serves as a parking lot instead of a “freeway.” Our region’s population is expected to grow in the next 20 years. Will the two additional proposed general purpose lanes in the I-710 Corridor Project, sufficiently meet the goals of the project by 2035? More people mean more cars on our freeways, unless we change the framework of our transportation and goods movement planning.

Caltrans should select Community Alternative 7, which:

1) Addresses the congestion of the project by taking into account a comprehensive public transportation system that serves the travel demands of the communities in the area. Just like the project intends to shift truck traffic from other freeways, public transportation can do the same for general travel demands. We can achieve emission reduction by simply having fewer cars on our roads.
2) Mandates for the project to include a committed zero-emission freight corridor that is paid for by the private and public sectors, and employer operated to facilitate the movement of trucks.
3) Integrates and protects our natural resources as it includes restoration of the natural river functions, including recreational trails, restored wetlands, continuous fish migration corridors, and native landscaping. Any I- 710 project must remove barriers to neighborhood access to the river via improved walk and bike trail networks.
4) Includes a pedestrian and bicycle element in the project for adequate and safe bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure for the residents in this corridor. These are low cost improvements that are vital to providing a full range of transportation options to residents and increase our energy independence while mitigating harmful emissions.
5) Includes community benefits such as double-pane windows, air filtration systems, landscaping of green spaces and other benefits.

This project will transform the region. Alternative 7 will make sure that the transformation of our communities is a benefit to everyone, not just our goods. Therefore I urge you to select Community Alternative 7. All other Alternatives fall short from addressing the region’s and community’s needs.


The California Department of Transportation, the lead agency of the project claims that cleaner air and improved safety are key motivations for its proposed 18-mile freeway expansion.  However, Caltrans’ claims of improving air quality by increasing the capacity of the corridor to carry additional trucks contradicts traffic studies that have found that in time, highway and road expansion induces demand for driving . In other words, within a few years the traffic lanes added to relieve the congestion, will be filled with new cars, increasing congestion and total traffic emissions. Currently the I-710 freeway averages over 1,000 diesel trucks traveling per hour.  Truck traffic has been associated with a number of health problems, including lung cancer, premature death, and low-birth weight.
Caltrans is required to provide a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), for this proposed project under the California Environmental Quality Act. The over 10,000 page report analyzes six potential designs, called alternatives, including a “no-build” option. All but the “no build” alternative will result in a total of ten general purpose lanes on the freeway–five lanes in each direction. Some of the design alternatives also include an additional four truck lanes for either general use trucks or for zero emission trucks.
Community Alternative 7 proposes to:
  1. Address the congestion of the project by taking into account a comprehensive public transportation system that serves the travel demands of the communities in the area. 
  2. Mandates for the project to include a committed zero-emission freight corridor that is paid for by the private and public sectors, and employer operated to facilitate the movement of trucks. 
  3. Integrates and protects our natural resources as it includes restoration of the natural river functions, including recreational trails, restored wetlands, continuous fish migration corridors, and native landscaping. 
  4. Includes a pedestrian and bicycle element in the project for adequate and safe bicycling and pedestrian infrastructure for the residents in this corridor.  
  5. Includes community benefits such as double-pane windows, air filtration systems, landscaping of green spaces and other benefits. 
If you'd like to get more involved in the effort to protect the air and quality of life for residents along the I-710 corridor and the region, please contact Patty Ochoa, Land Use and Health Coordinator at (213) 689-9710, pochoa@psr-la.org.
 Pasadena City Council Meeting Sept. 24.
Posted by Gloria Castro on No 710 on Ave 64 Facebook page
Great turnout at the Pasadena City Council Meeting. Madison in attendance. Gordo and Holden absent. At least five of us spoke and advised regarding outstanding issues on Measure A, the tunnel, the recent forum and lack of outreach to Pasadena folks re forum. I'd say about 30 of us were there. Walt informed that an independent legal opinion is being sought re Measure A and that it ought to be posted on-line for the public to review.
South Pasadena SR-710 Informational Forum

Wednesday, September 26  -   7p - 9pm

South Pasadena High School Auditorium
1401 Fremont Avenue
South Pasadena, CA 91030

Hosted by the City of South Pasadena, the purpose of this forum is to educate the 
residents of South Pasadena and surrounding communities on recent activities leading 
to the latest 710 alternatives to relieve congestion now being studied by Metro. You will 
learn where we are in the process, why our cities are still at risk and what comes next. 
The forum will bring city officials, land use and transportation experts together with the 
public to discuss the merits and pitfalls of the proposed alternatives.

In addition to the South Pasadena City Council, the following people will be speaking 
and answering your questions:

•Ara Najarian, Metro Board Director & Glendale City Council member
•Anthony Portantino, Assembly member 44th District
•Jeffrey Tumlin, Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates Transportation Planners
•Doug Carstens, South Pasadena Legal Counsel
•Mark Vallianatos, Urban & Environmental Policy, Occidental College
•Donald Voss, La Cañada Flintridge City Council member
•Jose Huizar, Metro Board Director & La City Council member
•Steve Madison, Pasadena City Council member
•Scott Fruin, PhD, USC Division of Environmental Health

Parking:  lot adjacent to High School, but carpooling recommended due to anticipated large turnout.

Measure J:
Extending Sales Tax For 30 Years To Fund Transportation Projects

From the Long Beach Business Journal 


In 2008, voters approved Measure R, a one-half cent sales tax increase on goods and services across Los Angeles County for a 30-year period to fund $40 billion in transportation projects. Measure J asks voters to extend the tax for an additional 30 years.

Proponents, including a majority on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Board of Directors, argue that the extension is needed to accelerate construction of light rail, subway and airport connections, plus several interstate improvements, which will relieve traffic congestion and spur economic development.

For example, proposals include extending the metro blue line from Long Beach to the San Fernando Valley and upgrades to the I-710 freeway.

Opponents, meanwhile, counter that it is too early in the process to ask voters to extend the increase in sales tax until 2069.

“If this was year 20 or 25 of a 30-year plan and you can go to the taxpayer and say, ‘Look what we’ve done with your money, we built this and we built this, but there’s not enough money to finish this,’ then I could see putting it back on the ballot or extending the current tax,” L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe told the Business Journal. “But here we are four years into it . . . nothing completed . . . and I just think it’s disingenuous to go back to the voters to ask for an extension this early into Measure R.”

Measure R marked the third time county voters have OK’d a tax increase to fund transportation projects.

“That’s why we have the highest sales tax,” Knabe said.

Knabe said that extending the tax timeline was not a guarantee that projects would be completed more efficiently.

“I think those arguments are just not true,” he added.

Moreover, Knabe said he is concerned about how effectively the funds would be managed and spent given such a long timeframe with which to operate.

“Sixty years is forever,” he said. “That discipline will be out the door if this extension goes through.”