By Zen Vuong, December 20, 2013
SOUTH PASADENA >> The City Council strengthened its and other
cities’ ability to fight off the proposed SR-710 freeway extension.
a 5-0 vote, members elected to join the “5-Cities Alliance,” comprising
South Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge, Glendale, Pasadena and Sierra
Madre. All five cities oppose extending the 710 Freeway, which has been
debated for decades.
Newly appointed Mayor Marina Khubesrian called the compact historic.
you know people are willing to put up money, and that really makes us
really confident,” she said. “And I think it sends a strong message to
Metro and the politicians on the board looking at this issue. We are
serious and basically we are going to put our money where our words
Together they have $250,000 to spend on studies that they hope will support their stance against connecting the SR-710 freeway.
California Department of Transportation and Los Angeles Metropolitan
Transportation Authority are working together to publish a draft
environmental impact report by spring 2014. The five options are “no
build,” traffic management solutions, light rail, bus rapid transit and
The Alliance would allow participating cities to
save money and share information related to SR-710 North studies. It is
meant to eliminate expensive, patchwork consultant work.
Every city that agrees to the Memoradum of Understanding(MOU)
will contribute $50,000. South Pasadena will be responsible for the
safekeeping and management of the quarter million dollars.
city will issue a request for qualification for study consultants: South
Pasadena, transportation; Sierra Madre, air quality; Pasadena, legal
and California Environmental Quality Act; La Canada Flintridge, soils
geology and seismologist; Glendale, safety and security.
Once the proposals come back, the Alliance members will evaluate the contenders and decide to whom to award the contract.
Councilwoman Diana Mahmud called the agreement “a tremendous step
forward for our city and for the effort to fight Metro on its proposed
construction of the tunnel.”
Councilman Richard Schneider said the MOU has been incubating for a while.
wanted to do something like this for years to spread the expense as
well as the authority to undertake these studies,” he said. “And I think
this will have a tremendous impact on any body that sees five cities
acting together on an issue like this.”
Alhambra, a strong
proponent of the extension, isn’t enthused with the Alliance. Mayor
Stephen Sham said he has no right to tell the five cities they can’t
join forces but said there is a process that should be followed. People
should have more faith in a draft EIR drafted by Metro and Caltrans
agencies, he said.
“If (the Alliance) says regardless of what the report says, I’m
going to do whatever — then I can’t do anything,” Sham said. “If you’re
sick, you don’t want to say I want to take this medicine versus the
other. You want to say I want to talk to the professional. But you want a
South Pasadena reached out to Los Angeles, which has said
it is against building a tunnel. It would be too difficult for each of
Los Angeles’ 15 districts to send a representative, Gonzalez said.
Realistically, he said, the only way LA could join is if it sends one
representative from the mayor’s office.
Public agencies or cities that oppose or are concerned about the
potential impact of the SR-710 extension could join the Alliance ex post
facto. Member cities must unanimously agree to admit them, and the new
constituents will have to deposit funds to the fiduciary agent, South
Cities who choose to leave must give 30 days written notice. Any uncommitted monies will be returned, Gonzalez said.
felt that this is the most fair and most efficient way to move forward
to make sure the interest of all the cities are adhered to and also that
we give a fair shake of the environmental impact report that is
forthcoming,” he said.