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

Monday, February 11, 2013

Comments to  SR-710 North Study: what's on the table and what's off the table-1


  1. I do not have much confidence in your source of information, because there are some things that are factually incorrect.
    Number one, the stub of fwy in Pasadena is not a stub of the 710, but part of 210, therefor not a gap in the fwy. (Check the court document in the 70′s pertaining to this section of fwy.)
    Second, the cost estimate for the tunnel alternative 7 of $5.425 billion is incomplete. That cost is only for the bored segment and does not include the portal entrances and bridge replacement, scrubbers, etc. Another $1 billion, at least must be added.
    There are many more, but the report at 1,560 pages takes a while to digest so back to you later. Hopefully you have more accurate information in your next post.
  2. Hi Joanne;
    I’m not familiar with that court document, but I have seen the stub occasionally labeled as the 210 on maps. That’s also completely beside the point. The fact is there is a gap in the 710 freeway between Alhambra and and a stub of the freeway built in Pasadena that was intended to connect to the 710. You can see it on maps, you can go see it in person and you can drive north from Long Beach on the 710, exit by necessity at Valley Boulevard and then drive north on mostly residential streets until you reach a stub of freeway that ends between Del Mar and California. Whether that gap should be filled is a matter that has provoked a lot of different opinions over the decades. I don’t think it’s an easy issue by any means and as a Pasadena resident, I respect the different views on it.
    But I don’t think there’s any denying there’s a gap in the freeway. The stub of freeway south of the 134/210 interchange in Pasadena.
    [googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ll=34.144718,-118.154762&spn=0.012573,0.033002&t=k&z=16&msa=0&msid=217330688871199327376.0004d54276d59ef599277&w=425&h=350%5D
    And here’s a broader view, showing the 710 ending in Alhambra at the bottom of the screen and the stub of freeway built south of the 210/134 interchange in Pasadena:
    [googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ll=34.103277,-118.13633&spn=0.100635,0.264015&t=k&z=13&msa=0&msid=217330688871199327376.0004d54286286f0957425&w=425&h=350%5D
    I couldn’t get the maps to show in the comments page; please click on the links to see the maps.
    Steve Hymon
    Editor, The Source
  3. Steve, I’ve posted about this before, but your insistence on calling it a gap is also not particularly helpful. There’s also a gap/stub between the SR-2 and the 101, which was supposed to be built and extended to the 405, or the stub of the 90, which was supposed to go to the 110. Stubs don’t equal gaps, and if you’re going to talk about planned freeways that were never built, there’s a ton of those. Why are we not studying those instead?
    One really does have to wonder about Metro’s credibility in all this, insisting that truck traffic won’t be taking a new freeway to reach the 210… why not built all the other planned freeways then? Why this focus on the 710 corridor, both north and south segments? Hmm.
  4. There are signs along the Fwy from California Bl. to the underpass of the 134/210 exchange that denotes that segment of the FWY is the 710.
  5. At 0.29 minutes into the video, you show a photo of the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and you indicate that people don’t stop at the stores along the way because traffic is so congested. Who wrote the lines for this video? Someone, obviously, who doesn’t know the South Pasadena shopping area along Fair Oaks Blvd. Very easy to stop at the Fair Oaks Pharmacy at any time of the day–turn right or left at Mission, depending on what direction you are coming from on Fair Oaks, and there is plenty of free parking on the side streets. Drivers also easily stop at any time of the day at OSH, Vons, Bristol Farms, Baskin Robbins, etc., etc. And because it is a major shopping street, that is, with many drivers on the way to the stores on that street, it will always be heavily traveled, which, by the way, is good for the businesses there as they are attracting customers.
  6. Additionally, re: my comment above, it is really a disservice to the Fair Oaks Pharmacy that you are indicating in the video that people can’t easily stop there to shop.
  7. Thanks, Steve. I can appreciate you trying to engage the opposition to 710 expansion/extension/tunneling/rerouting. Who do we talk to about removing those “stubs” as you call them and returning that land to open space? If you live in Pasadena and walk around that area I’m sure you can envision, like I do, a nice open place to gather and relax. The light is beautiful and the trees plentiful. What a healing it could be.
    I’d like to see Metro come up with a State of the Art way to feed the 710 into the Huntington or Valley and deemphasis the whole project. At this point, there is little faith in the Highways Division. Measure R funds being used to pay lobbyists and not used for transportation. Measure R was never put to the voters as sales tax increase for the 710 Project exclusively anyway.
    To just say, trust me it will be the “latest, safest technology designed” and then to bring these lame 1960s type ideas is not convincing enough. I still roll my eyes when I hear advertising that emulates the old Smuckers jelly campaign… With a name like Metro, it has to be good— doesn’t cut it for the kind of jam you’ve put us in.
  8. To say that no decision has been made is laughable. Barbara Messina (Mayor of Alhambra) and John Fasana (Metro Board) Michael Antonovich (Metro Board) and others in San Gabriel Valley politics are falling all over themselves pushing the tunnel option through. Doug Failing is shopping the tunnel option to China. The price tag for the tunnel is a low ball figure (as Joanne points out) and no one is mentioning the hefty tolls that will be charged with the Public Private Partnership arrangements.
  9. Joanne/Steve,
    According to Section 622 of the California Streets and Highway Code (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=shc&group=00001-01000&file=300-635) and according to Caltrans (http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/structur/strmaint/brlog/logpdf/logd07.pdf) the stub section of freeway that leaves the 134/210 interchange on the south side is part of State Highway 710. The portion between Valley Blvd and California Blvd is a gap.

    1. The only option is No Build. The financial projections are horribly incorrect, the timeline is horribly incorrect, the whole idea is horribly incorrect. If something as simple as the Rose Bowl remodel can go incredibly off budget, why would anyone think that Metro can even begin to project the cost of a tunnel which would accomplish nothing. It goes through aquifers, it goes through 5 known earthquake faults (what about the faults that haven’t been charted), it should not be built or considered!
    2. Very good summary. Thank you for the information. I think the concerned residents in southwest Pasadena will need to pay close attention to the EIR.
    3. I watched the attached video and agree that there is a lot of surface street traffic in the Freement Ave. corridor. But no where in the video was the discussion of increased truck traffic coming from the port that will be a reality in the coming years or how this traffic will be handled on the 210 Freeway that is packed morning and night with traffic. As long as Metro ignores references to the elephant in the corner (i.e., port truck traffic), it compromises its credibility and leaves the public feeling that we are being hoodwinked.
    4. My question is how is a segment of underground freeway that might cost $15 to drive on going to help local traffic? I’m guessing not a lot. If anything people will take to the streets to avoid this segment of tunnel causing even more traffic on local streets. Not to mention that the tunnel in Japan that his tunnel is modeled on collapsed recently killing many people.
    5. This tunnel alternative benefits NONE OF THE RESIDENTS and BUSINESSES that are situated paralell to its 5- mile course, yet these are the very folks, and they alone, who must bear the brunt (MANY “BRUNTS”) of all of the negative impacts associated with this costly project. Moreover, Metro/Caltrans have demonstrated time and again that neither can be trusted to tell the whole truth or give definitive numbers (e.g. COST!) or act as competent overseers of this Big Dig as shown by the audit of their performance as “landlords” of the Pasadena Ave. section conducted last August. They and Caltrans have either denied or evaded the clear evidence (from their own publications) that this tunnel is primarily intended for the “movement of goods” (via TRUCKS AND TOLLS) from the ports of LA & Long Beach. Moreover, one of the “Ps” in the PPP “partnership” contemplates ownership by China or some other national investor who will collect the tolls to recoup their investment – something Metro has said very little (nothing!) about. Enough smoke and mirrors! We’re already in the hole for millions of $ and it’s time to stop digging before millions/billlions more are spent in pursuit of this really hairbrained notion.
    6. I have been watching the process of the Metro decision to expand the 710 freeway and understand awl routes must be considered. What is disappointing is that the comment that they should not have included the Avenue 64 route because it is not popular, yet no one has yet admitted tha one of the biggest reasons for this expansion is due to the expansion of the LA Harbour, or that it is also because of the expansion of the Panama Canal. It is also doesn’t address the fact that the monies for this 710 project are being borrowed from projected revenues, and that doesn’t even include the cost of up- keep on these roads. I think of this every time I drive the beat up lanes of the 210 freeway and wonder how we keep borrowing but can’t keep up with the repairs. The risk Metro runs is tax fatigue. CA just keeps adding to the tax burden of its citizens without a clear path and without any transparency. At some point Metro needs to treat the people they are addressing like intelligent adults, rather than like simple minded children. The attitude is so patronizing and less than honest.
    7. Why does Metro hide the obvious truth that the main beneficiaries of a 710 extension are Long Beach freight carriers? You lose credibility when you avoid this issue.
    8. What’s off the table is, apparently, any opposition to the SR-710 project from Ara Najarian.
      That’s been taken care of by Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who first removed Najarian from the Metrolink Board after 6 years of service, and replaced him with LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas who Antonovich’s staff claim “share his vision for regional rail.” There is no Metrolink service in Ridley-Thomas’ supervisorial district, so it makes perfect sense that he should be on the board.
      And now more recently the LA County City Selection Committee refused to confirm Najarian’s nomination to the Metro Board in spite of the fact that he was supported by the North County cities. Vocal proponents of the SR-710 project are on record saying they withheld their support because Najarian’s opposition to the project is “not right.”
      Exploiting political leverage is nothing new for Antonovich; he also launched a campaign to remove Erwin Chemerinsky, a prominent constitutional scholar, from the faculty at UCI because of differences in political views. Chermerinsky was later reinstated and is founding dean and distinguished professor of law at UCI. Nice try, Antonovich.
      And that is why Metro has no credibility, because political operatives at all levels are working feverishly to remove people they dislike rather than work with them.
    9. Get Real. This has nothing to do with “improv[ing] traffic in the western San Gabriel Valley and beyond.” It’s all about truck traffic from the harbor connecting from the 710 directly to the 210 and then the Grapevine while bypassing downtown LA.
      Thanks, Metro, for waking up west Pasadena and Highland Park – we’re all No Build advocates now.
    10. Hi Yu-Han;
      With all due respect, we disagree.
      The Alternatives Analysis also says that the issue of whether trucks will be permitted to use a tunnel should be further evaluated. Please see page 25 of the Executive Summary.
      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    1. Hi Jane;
      There are 13 members on the Metro Board of Directors and a majority is needed to decide most matters. It’s hard to predict the make-up of the Board — guessing the future is always tricky business — by the time the SR-710 Study comes up for a vote in the two to three years that it’s estimated it will take to complete the final EIR/S.
      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source
    2. Hi Ann;
      Please see page 25 of the AA’s Executive Summary: it says the issue of restrictions on the use of trucks should be further evaluated (it also says tolls should be evaluated as potential financing option). I think it’s too big an issue to ignore and will be studied.
      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source
    3. Hi Jessica;
      At this point, there is only the possibility that there will be tolls as a way to raise money to build a tunnel project — if, and it’s a big ‘if’ — the Metro Board decides to go ahead with a tunnel following completion of the environmental studies. There is no agreement in place with any private firm to build a project and the $15 toll you cite isn’t grounded in reality. Also, a tunnel hasn’t been designed yet, therefore it’s not based on any particular existing tunnel. The tunnel collapse west of Tokyo in December was certainly tragic, but there are many hundreds of highway and train tunnels throughout the world, including one under the English Channel, tunnels under both the Hudson and East rivers in NYC, many tunnels through the Alps and tunnels in our national parks (Yosemite and Zion).
      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source
    4. Hi Kathleen;
      No decision has been made about a possible public-private partnership. If such a deal is pursued, I think the terms of an agreement with any possible financer(s) will hopefully be heavily scrutinized. Also, while I certainly agree that the ports of L.A. and L.B. have seen a big jump in freight traffic in recent years, I don’t think that is the only thing driving the SR-710 Study – while some communities don’t see north-south traffic in the western SGV as a problem, others do. I do think the lack of the 710 between Alhambra and Pasadena results in a lot of extra traffic on surface streets. What, if anything, should be done about it is obviously a disputed matter.
      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source
    5. Hi David;
      I think it’s certainly fair to study and question the impacts of truck traffic. But I think it’s also fair to say that many cars — not trucks — are using surface streets to travel between Pasadena and Alhambra when otherwise they might use a freeway.
      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source
    6. Hi David;
      I disagree. As I’ve replied to other posters, I think there are traffic impacts in the western SGV because of traffic traveling between the 710 exit in Alhambra and Pasadena and the 134 and 210. The best fix and its impacts? I don’t know. But I think it deserves to be studied — in fact, 67.9 percent of the voters approved the package of projects that includes this study.
      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source
    7. Hi folks;
      This is a cut-and-paste from one of the fact sheets for the SR-710 project about truck traffic. I thought it may provide useful context for readers going through the many comments about why the project isn’t targeted directly at truck traffic from the Port. Also, keep in mind there is a concurrent study on the south 710 that is looking to widen the freeway and possibly create a truck corridor to handle port traffic. From the SR-710 study team:
      Multiple studies have shown that the primary destinations of trucks on I-710 from the Ports are the rail
      yards south of I-5 and the distribution centers and warehouses to the east of the study area via SR 60
      and I-10. Other studies have shown that the majority of the land most suited to future warehouse
      development (large, open, and flat) is also located in the Inland Empire. Additionally, while the Ports
      are a large generator of trucks, less than 10 percent of the trucks in LA County are from the Port, and
      less than 10 percent of the overall traffic is from trucks. Based on these data, less than 1 percent of LA
      County traffic is Port trucks, and that estimate is even lower in the Study Area. The project need is
      focused on regional and local street congestion, and goods movement alternatives addressing that
      small component of the transportation system do not address that need.
      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source