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

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Comments to "Alhambra hosts '710 Day'"

Comments to


  • Joe Cano · Top Commenter · Cathedral High / College Prep
    Barbara Messina makes self serving statements like this all the time when she is cornered about her truthfulness. All video footage recorded & photography by me of this event at no time shows anyone protesting, carrying signs or acting in a disruptive manner. She forgets that there are Constitutional protections for freedom of the press, freedom of movement, freedom of speech & freedom to gather. Alhambra city employees where filming & photographing NO710 members also. I challenge Messina to provide access to those images & show where there were protests of any kind. Barbara Messina has shown a great disregard for the law. She was fined $14K a few years ago for campaign violations, last year she was found to have violated the Brown Act. She sees these things as an inconvenience.
  • Jan SooHoo · La Canada Flintridge, California
    More than 10 members of the No 710 Action Committee were there, but we were not there to protest as Ms. Messina claims. Instead, we were there to talk with people about the project and share the results of Metro's EIR/EIS as presented in the Alternatives Analysis report and presented to the Technical Advisory Committee and Stakeholder Outreach Advisory Committee. We came to share data from these reports with citizens of Alhambra. Most I spoke to did not know that the tunnel would be tolled, that it had no exits between Alhambra and Pasadena, that it could only be accessed from the 710 or that the vehicle exhaust would be dispelled from the ends of the tunnel into the surrounding community. Most were shocked to find out that only about 16% (taking into account the projected toll avoidance rate of 35%) of the vehicles now exiting the 710 would use the tunnel, leaving 84% still on surface streets. Another surprise to most was that 180,000 vehicles per day are projected to be on the 710 north of the 10 -- about 4 times the 44,000 that are there now. These are all facts contained in Metro presentations and reports. If Alhambra's officials are reading them, they sure aren't sharing them with their residents!
  • Jane Demian · L.Ac, MTOM, MA, Dipl, Ac. at Acupuncturist/Herbalist
    Barbara Messina doesn't like it when people confuse her with the facts. 710 Day was Alhambra's idea of a pep rally pushing for completion of the 710 freeway, however very little in the form of facts were presented. City officials threw out numbers and were chanting "close the gap" while disregarding such realities as a toll that will be charged to drivers, and that pollution from exhaust will be released by venting towers. The No710 Action Committee members were present to educate Alhambrans about the realities of the tunnel, something Messina and Placido have not done.
  • Joanne Nuckols · UC Davis
    Note, the 710 Extension tunnels goes through/under El Sereno, So Pasadena and Pasadena...NOT ALHAMBRA! Talk about rude, an elected official trying to push a freeway through neighboring communities. Messina and her cohorts on the Alhambra City Council are nothing but TRANSPORTATION BULLIES.

Alhambra shuts down Fremont to promote 710 Freeway completion

City closes down major street for block party in support of 'closing the gap'

By Lauren Gold, June 10, 2013
 Fremont Avenue was closed through traffic from Mission Road to Valley Boulevard for 710 Day Street Jam. Cities that support the 'gap closure' hosted a 710 Day Street Jam", in Alhambra Wednesday, July 10, 2013, to support Metro's study on the long fought over freeway project.

Gallery: 710 Day Street Jam supporters, "CLOSE the GAP" in Alhambra

 Steven Placido, Mayor of Alhambra holding a shovel he plans on using for the ground breaking of the 710 freeway that he wants built to "Close the Gap". Cities that support the "gap closure" hosted a 710 Day Street Jam", in Alhambra on Fremont Avenue Wednesday, July 10, 2013, to support Metro's study on the long fought over freeway project
 A few opponents that do not want the 710 freeway to be built also attended the 710 Day Street Jam. Cities that support the "gap closure" hosted a 710 Day Street Jam", in Alhambra Wednesday, July 10, 2013, to support Metro's study on the long fought over freeway project.

ALHAMBRA - Confetti, red, white and blue T-shirts, children's games and food trucks filled Fremont Avenue on Wednesday as the city hosted "710 Day" in support of completing the long fought-over Long Beach (710) Freeway north extension.

The festivities, which closed Fremont between Valley Boulevard and Mission Road from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., were a kick-off for Alhambra's "Close the Gap" campaign that promotes a tunnel to connect the 710 Freeway between Alhambra and Pasadena. 

Councilwoman Barbara Messina, who has been fighting for the freeway "gap closure" for decades, said the event was an effort to reinvigorate the residents of the city, who have been hearing about the 710 gap for a long time.

"We weren't spending the time with our residents before because there was no money for the project, but now there is a light at the end of the tunnel with the environmental study," Messina said. "We've suffered with this for so long."

All five members of the City Council attended Wednesday's event and spoke at a 12:30 p.m. rally along with elected officials from Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Marino and San Gabriel.
A handful of "No 710" protesters also attended the event, wearing "No 710" T-shirts, handing out fliers and waving "No 710" signs.

Alhambra City Manager Mary Swink said she did not know yet how much the event cost the city or where the money came from. 

"In comparison to what residents have suffered as far as health, the cost of putting on something like this, you can't compare," Messina said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is in the environmental study phase for the 710 project, looking at five possible options: "No build," traffic management solutions, light rail, bus and an underground freeway tunnel.

The draft environmental impact report is due to be released in 2014.

Resident Eva Covarrubias said she came to the event to learn more about the proposed project and how it might make her daily life easier.

"I live around here and there is a lot of traffic," she said. "I came today because I support (the 710) project."

Ann Kelley of Pasadena, a member of the No 710 group, said she thinks the tunnel option will be a "problem in and of itself" because no one will use the tunnel because of the planned toll. "And don't even get me started on the pollution and the cost," Kelley said.

Recent Alhambra High School graduates Krista Weng, 18, and Jasmine Hsu, 18, said they came to eat lunch from the food trucks, but were also interested in learning more about the issue. Hsu said she thought the choice of venue was odd.

"I find it ironic how they are trying to build the freeway to reduce traffic but then they are closing down Fremont for this event and causing traffic," Hsu said.

Irene Mejia, who lives just off Fremont Avenue, said she would be in favor of reducing congestion in her neighborhood, but she's not willing to put up with years of construction to build the freeway tunnel.

"Taking 10 years building the underground tunnel with trucks all day and night will affect my house," Mejia said.

But Monterey Park Mayor Theresa Real Sebastian said completing the freeway is ultimately an important transportation solution for the region. She thought the street fair, which featured booths from Metro and Caltrans with information on the 710 study, was a good way for residents to make sure they have the right information.

"There are a lot of misstatements out there and I think it's important people know the facts and the history of this issue," Real Sebastian said.

Metro is scheduled to host three community open houses on the 710 study next week in El Sereno, Monterey Park and South Pasadena. For more information, visit metro.net/710.


Close the Trap

Peggy Drouet, July 10, 2013

I'm so glad that I live in Pasadena and not in Alhambra, especially after watching Joe Cano's video "Alhambra City Council & Supporters":

The Alhambra officials are supposedly grown-up people but they are acting like idiot children. I would be embarrassed to say that I was from Alhambra after this demonstration. This Facebook photo by Gerard Au says it all:


Traffic Mess at Valley & Fremont: Video by Joe Cano

Joe Cano, July 10, 2013:

This was earlier at 9:00AM. The traffic was stalled all the way up to Commonwealth & would not doubt if went all the way up to Main St.

 Morning rush hour 9:30AM

Alhambra City Council & Supporters: Video by Joe Cano

Joe Cano: Here the is Placido/Messina sideshow. Note most of the speakers had to read from index cards to know what to say. Time to take this apart point by point. The noisy bunch heard on the video were Barbara Messina's daughter & grandkids that were trying to cover my camera lens earlier. I place the camera behind the barricade near the stage before they knew I had moved. They really thought they could intimidate me?, very amusing indeed.

710 Day speeches in support of a tunnel:

Alhambra City Officials Rally Residents Behind 710 Freeway Expansion


July 10, 2013
 (credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images)

ALHAMBRA (KNX 1070) — Alhambra city officials held their “710 Day” celebration in the San Gabriel Valley Wednesday in a bid to rally residents behind a plan to extend the 710 Freeway to Pasadena.
Interim City Manager of Alhambra, Mary Swank, says the latest step in the 50-year plus battle is an 18-month environmental review to put a tunnel through Valley St., which she hopes will help to alleviate heavy traffic on the 710.
“It’s July 10, and today we’re just making it clear it’s time to clean up the 710 Freeway,” Swank told KNX1070′s Megan Goldsby.

(The "play" will take you to the website to hear the broadcast.)

“We have over 50,000 cars a day come through this street that should be on a freeway,” she said.

Live music, face painting and balloons reading “Close the Gap 710” shut down part of Fremont St. in Alhambra.

Swank estimated 2,000 people came to 710 Day.

John Shafer, of the San Rafael Neighborhood Association in Pasadena, said the proposal may have made sense in the Sixties.

“It doesn’t make sense at all when we’re transitioning from a car society to a transit society,” he said.

Alhambra hosts '710 Day'

The city hoped to raise support for Long Beach Freeway construction.


By Daniel Siegal, July 10, 2013

 710 Freeway extension party

 Wearing his "No to 710 extension" pin and shirt, Tom Williams of El Sereno passes supporters of the 710 Freeway extension during the City of Alhambra "710 Day" celebration on Wednesday, July 10, 2013. Fremont Avenue was closed for two blocks north of Valley Boulevard to make room for a stage, booths and lunch trucks. Some opponents of the extension also attended the event.
While anti-freeway activists have dominated the dialogue over efforts to extend the Long Beach (710) Freeway, the city of Alhambra launched the first salvo on Wednesday in its campaign to drum up support for an extension by declaring July 10 to be "710 Day."

The city hosted its first-ever 710 celebration along Fremont Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares for traffic heading to or from the 710 Freeway's current terminus. Fremont was closed from Mission Street to Valley Boulevard.

PHOTOS: Alhambra shows support for 710 freeway extension with a party

Councilwoman Barbara Messina said the event was the first of many the city has planned during the next 18 months.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is in the midst of a multi-year environmental study in which a tunnel connecting the 710 and Foothill (210) freeways is one of five options being considered. Other possibilities include light rail and bus lanes to address congestion in the area.
The next draft of the study is due next year.

"This is just the beginning of an education of our community," Messina said, adding that vehicles, including semi-trucks, exit the 710 Freeway in Alhambra and travel to the 210 Freeway using the city's surface streets.

"We want to renew the criticalness of what this is doing to our air quality, our schools," Messina said. "Alhambra has been a dumping ground for 40 years, and it's time to do something."

Messina said city officials didn't know how many people would attend the event, given it was in the middle of the week and the middle of the day.

Around 11:30 a.m., the crowd was fairly sparse. By 1 p.m., however, more than 100 people were at the event.

As for the cost to the city, Messina said it was "not as big as this looks," and the funding came out of the city manager's discretionary fund. Other officials stated the full cost had yet to be calculated.
The street fair included city fire trucks and police vehicles joined by food trucks, informational booths, 710-themed games and a Cars cover band performing.

The day wasn't without some controversy, however. Around 10 members of the anti-freeway advocacy group called the No 710 Action Committee were on hand to protest.
Messina said she was disappointed the protesters showed up.

"That is so rude," she said. "We've never imposed ourselves on their events. That's disrespectful."
For Art De Anda, who was observing the street fair from his front yard on Fremont, the event was a chance to enjoy some peace and quiet.

"Every day, every night, it's hard to sleep," he said. "At least we got a break on the traffic."
Dean Yulfo, who lives further south on Fremont, said he supports closing the 710 gap because he has seen traffic in his neighborhood increase, but he wasn't sure how effective the fair would be at changing minds.

"I am wondering if this was a good idea. It seems like an arm-twisting thing to do," he said. "But maybe Alhambra has been put in that position."

Alhambra Councilman: 710 Tunnel 'Most Practical Solution'


By Donna Evans, July 10, 2013

Here's a video from Wednesday's event, where opponents of the proposed 710 tunnel disseminated information about why they are against the project, during a celebration of that project.

 The City of Alhambra's pro-710 tunnel event, "Close the Gap,'' brought community members, council members and opponents to Fremont Avenue and Valley Boulevard Wednesday.

Information booths and food trucks lined the closed-down thoroughfare. The banner atop the stage, where musical act, Drive, played Cars tunes read: "Let's close the gap. It's the right decision. Get to your destination faster. Relieve Stress. Breathe Easier. Preserve your property values. Improve your quality of life.''

To see how opponents and proponents of the project weighed in, please click the embedded YouTube video.


Tunnel Opponents Swarm Alhambra's Pro-710 Event

Tunnel Opponents Swarm Alhambra's Pro-710 Event

 Alhambra's "Close the Gap'' event Wednesday offered booths of information on why extending the 710 Freeway to the 210 Freeway is the best choice for the region.


By Donna Evans, July 10, 2013

No 710 Action Committee members Joe Cano and Sylvia Plummer turned out for Wednesday's pro-710 event in Alhambra.
 No 710 Action Committee members Joe Cano and Sylvia Plummer turned out for Wednesday's pro-710 event in Alhambra.

As the City of Alhambra closed down a main thoroughfare Wednesday, promoting the importance of the 710 freeway extension with a live band, information booths and food trucks, opponents of the decades-long issue handed out literature to the contrary.

Sporting a T-shirt and hat with a red lines through the 710 logo, South Pas resident Sam Burgess said extending the 710 freeway to the 210 freeway via a tunnel is not a South Pasadena issue or Alhambra issue, but a regional one that would affect multiple communities including El Sereno, Highland Park, La CaƱada, San Marino and Pasadena, to name a few.

"It's an environmental disaster waiting to happen,'' said Burgess, a member of the No 710 Action Committee, which has members from communities all over the San Gabriel Valley.

The issue of the 710 extension has divided local cities for years — South Pasadena and La Canada Flintridge have been staunchly opposed, while San Marino's City Council voted to support the extension.  Members of the Pasadena City Council voted to oppose the tunnel as well but failed to convince a majority of the Council.

The Sierra Madre City Council has also voted against the tunnel and Glendale officials have raised concerns about its potential impact on Montrose.  The Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council also voted to oppose it.

On Wednesday, as Burgess walked through the crowd handing out cards brimming with statistics gleaned from the SR 710 North Study and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority SR-710 Analysis Report, Alhambra Councilman Luis Ayala answered reporters' questions about why the city is in favor of the project. Alhambra has long favored an extension of the 710, via a surface street or a tunnel.

"It's absolutely the best alternative for not just Alhambra, but for surrounding communities,'' he said, adding that Alhambra is most impacted by the 710 gap because the freeway ends in his city.

"Based on their study, Metro's study of the completion of the 710 gap...a tunnel is by far the most effective in terms of reducing congestion. I like facts to speak for themselves. I've looked at all the facts. This seems to be the most practical solution,'' Ayala said.

To that, No 710 Action Committee members Jim Miller and Tom Williams shake their heads. The long time opponents, each armed with rebuttal statistics that equate a tunnel to increased congestion on city streets and link a freeway extension to adverse health conditions, such as asthma, challenge Alhambra residents to look up the facts.

Speaking overtop the Cars cover band, Drive, Miller called Wednesday's event by the city "a circus'': a place for people to eat and play games, but he doubts the residents have all the facts.

Which is exactly why, Ayala said, the city held the event.

"We wanted to have an informational community type of event so that residents and folks interested in the issue could get more information.''

Several event attendees approached by a reporter declined to weigh in or be identified, saying they were just enjoying the day. Three men in "Close the Gap'' shirts also declined to be interviewed, but said they weren't surprised that proponents and opponents had thus far been walking by each other in peace.

"It's not like there's a beer truck here. That might be a whole different story,'' a "Close the Gap'' shirt wearer stated.

To read more about both sides of the 710 issue, please visit www.cityofalhambra.org and No710.com. To see a list of upcoming Metro and Caltrans meetings, please click here.

710 Day in Alhambra: Video by Joe Cano

By Joe Cano, July 10, 2013

710 Day In Alhambra. This guy was going around trying to intimidate No 710 folks. No luck with me. City employees confirmed our suspicions that most of the blue shirts we on the clock.

710 Day Supporter A Real Jerk 

 Called us stupid & was looking for a fight. I had to report him to Alhambra PD twice for invading people space. He was eventually asked to leave because he was no longer seen around the location. He accused Sylvia of assaulting him & complained to the police. Behaving like a real dickhead carrying a child in his arms & dragging another child by the hand. Great example of a father.

Joe Cortright: Death of CRC Signals the End of “Highway Dinosaur Era”


By Angie Schmitt, July 10, 2013

Last month the Portland mega-highway bridge project known as the Columbia River Crossing died unceremoniously on the floor of the Washington statehouse. But there was some question among project opponents about whether to consider it a victory for smart transportation policy. After all, suburban Republicans opposed to the inclusion of light rail were ultimately the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Joe Cortright, a visiting scholar with the Brookings Institution and president at Impresa, a Portland-based consulting firm, thinks there is plenty of reason to celebrate. In fact, he sees the rejection of the CRC as the end of the old highway era.

We caught Cortright on the phone for a CRC postmortem. Here’s what he had to say.

Angie Schmitt: So you still consider the CRC’s death a victory for reformers. Why is that?

Joe Cortright: The CRC was a five-mile long, 12-lane wide freeway widening project that just happened to cross a river and have a short stub of a light rail essentially on the end of it. So yeah, there was a little bit of light rail associated with this project, but it was wrapped up in a humongous freeway widening project. And also the fact that they’re building this huge freeway project really undercut the viability of the light rail investment, because it made it so easy for people to use private automobiles.

I think it’s true that the final fatal blow was struck by conservatives, by Republicans, in Washington, and folks from Clark County, a lot of them disliked the light rail component of the project. But they also disliked it for other reasons like the tolling. The project was probably mortally wounded some time ago and this just happened to be the one thing that finally killed it. And a lot of those wounds were self-inflicted. They built it too short to allow navigation [on the river] underneath. There’s pending litigation on the environmental impact statement. There’s still very serious questions about the financial viability of the project. So there were a bunch of things that could have been the fatal blow, it just happened that this was the one.

Joe Cortright, a Portland-based consultant, thinks the death of the CRC will be a turning point for transportation policy in Portland and elsewhere. 

AS: One of the things that was sort of striking about this project was just the scale and the dollar figure attached to it (at least $3.2 billion). Do you think it’s getting to the point where some of these projects are just so grandiose they’re not realistic?

JC: Absolutely. I think the big problem is that the incentives in the transportation planning system are producing these bloated projects that are really out of touch with trends in transportation, with the amount of resources we have. People are driving less and that undercuts gas taxes, which are the largest single source of funding for this. The way federal funding was made available, or potentially made available, for this project created incentives to scale it up. I don’t think anyone would have designed a project like this if it was going to be built solely with local resources. They designed it this way because they thought there was a promise, if they got approval from the state, the federal government would pay for it. We sold this project as, “Hey, we can get free federal money for light rail.”

AS: You said you thought this project sort of symbolized the end of the highway era. Can you elaborate on that?

JC: I think [it's the end of] the highway-building dinosaur era. Again, this was a 12-lane wide freeway, is what they were talking about. More than half the money in this project would have gone to rebuilding freeway interchanges and widening the freeway. It was justified with a set of traffic projections that were done on a 2005 base year, using data from the 1990s and a model that said everybody was going to drive more every year. And we know that’s not true, in fact people are driving less. The slowdown started a decade ago, more than a decade ago.

Essentially they had a worldview that we need to accommodate more and more cars. I really think it was a project that was designed for a future that nobody’s going to live in. The models were predicated basically on dollar-a-gallon gas forever.

AS: What does the death of the CRC mean for sustainable transportation in Portland and elsewhere?

JC: This is a watershed moment to revisit some of the thinking about the way we approach transportation planning. We have to have very different views of what transportation looks like in the future and recognize that views are changing. We have to have much more of a small ball approach to transportation. Hopefully this is just a chance to rethink transportation investment and policy in our era.

Black-Owned Businesses Already Being Pushed Out of Leimert Park Ahead of the Crenshaw Line


 By Adrian Glick Kudler, July 10, 2013











Yesterday Metro released the brand new map for the Crenshaw/LAX light rail line, with all eight stations marked, including the recently-added and hotly-debated Leimert Park stop at Crenshaw/Vernon. The neighborhood fought hard for the stop and the city and Metro worked hard to shuffle around money to fund it; its inclusion was just announced last month. But it looks like the gentrification train is already headed into the station in the predominantly-black neighborhood--a few weeks ago, Our Weekly reported that, recently, "A number of Black businesses in the Village have been notified that their leases won't be renewed." New property owners have been coming in, presumably to get in ahead of the subway, and they're cleaning house already--several commercial properties have changed hands and tenants say they're being forced out. Most of the businesses that will have to close are not only black-owned, but also specialize specifically in African-American wares and art--one owner says "We have the highest concentration of Black businesses [in the city]." She adds "We fought so hard to get the station. Then I wondered if we would still be here to enjoy it."

· Leimert Park may be fading as a Black cultural hub [Our Weekly]
· Huge: Crenshaw Line Getting Leimert Park and Hindry Stops [Curbed LA]

Photos by Joe Cano of Alhambra's 710 Day

July 10, 2013

T-shirt give away. Gift of public funds maybe?