Purpose

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

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Metro Staff Stumbles Again--Video by Joe Cano

Posted by Joe Cano on Facebook, July 20, 2013:

The Art Leahy traveling sideshow. When the same questions are asked twice one would think one would get the same answer. Then again, this is Metro & Art Leahy's people your are dealing with.

Press Conference Before Metro SR710 Information at Blair High School--Video by Joe Cano

Joe Cano on Facebook, July 20, 2013:

Today's press conference before Metro SR710 Informational Meeting at Blair HS in Pasadena. The press conference outside Metro's SR710 Informational Meeting. Cities united against the 710 tunnel. Metro staff were buzzing around not happy with our protest outside their disinformation sideshow.

Freeway fighters host rally before Metro meeting on 710 extension

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_23700788/freeway-fighters-host-rally-before-metro-meeting-710

By Lauren Gold, July 20, 2013
 


 Former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino leads opponents of the long fought-over 710 Freeway north extension in a rally before Metro and Caltrans information session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena.
 
 


PASADENA - Dozens of freeway fighters joined a group of local elected officials Saturday morning at a rally to protest the proposed tunnel option for the 710 Freeway north extension to Pasadena.

The rally, led by former state assemblyman Anthony Portantino, preceded a public presentation by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's SR-710 North Study at Blair High School. The two-hour session, which consisted of a Powerpoint presentation followed by questions from the audience, differed from the previous open house format for Metro public meetings.

Speakers at the protest included Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, Pasadena Councilman Steve Madison, La Canada Flintridge Mayor Laura Olhasso, Metro Board Member and Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian and South Pasadena Mayor Richard Schneider.

Portantino said he thinks it is important for people in the region to understand the true potential monetary and safety costs of the proposed tunnel option. To emphasize his point, Portantino read a clip from a newspaper article about the recent tanker truck fire in a connector tunnel between the Golden State (5) and Glendale (2) Freeways.

"Don't let them tell you that they have all the answers and all the safety situations figured out because they don't," Portantino said to cheers from the crowd, "but your voices are getting them to understand how critical it is to ask the tough questions. ... You guys are getting stronger and louder while the other side is getting quieter."

Bogaard agreed that all the information about the proposed project points away from the tunnel option and more toward multi-modal solutions.

"When people hear the facts about the project they are opposed," Bogaard said. "Any reasonable person would be opposed if they are well-informed."

Olhasso said she agrees that Metro needs to develop a solution to the traffic problems that result from the 710 freeway "gap," but she believes the tunnel would actually increase pollution and congestion.
"I have a lot of sympathy for the residents of Alhambra," she said. "They need a solution, they really do, but their solution can't be one that means more congestion, more noise, more air pollution to all the other communities in the area."

Pasadena Councilman Steve Madison speaks as opponents of the long fought-over 710 Freeway north extension rally before Metro and Caltrans information session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena. 
 
 
The city of Alhambra held a street fair last week on Fremont Avenue to launch its Close the Gap campaign in favor of the tunnel option to alleviate traffic in the region. The city has long been in support of the freeway extension. Metro is about halfway through a three year environmental study process studying five potential options to fill the freeway gap: "No build," traffic management solutions, light rail, bus rapid transit and a dual- or single-bore freeway tunnel. The draft environmental report is due out in 2014, with the final decision to come in 2015.

The presentation Saturday provided an overview of these five options and also introduced new, more specific information the Metro study team has discovered in the environmental study process so far. Metro officials said the traffic management solutions options, which puts forth 27 intersection improvements, seven street improvements, increased bike paths and expanded bus hours, will be added to whichever alternative is chosen, including the tunnel.

Officials also explained that safety is a high priority in the freeway tunnel as well as the tunnel that would be bored for the light rail option.

"We are actively engaging the appropriate agencies, such as CHP and the fire marshal, so we can have provisions in place for safety," Project Manager Michelle Smith said in response to a question from the audience. "We have a strong team in place with expertise with tunnels. We can't guarantee that there won't be any fires, but we are cognisant of that in our design."




Jim Miller protests the 710 Freeway extension during a rally before Metro and Caltrans information session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena. 
 
 
Staff members also added that the tunnel would likely ban trucks with flammable or toxic material and would have a sprinkler system and exit route in place.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Metro staff answered questions from the audience about the proposed toll on the freeway tunnel, trucks in the tunnel, the cost of the project, pollution in the region, coupling the study with the expansion of the I-710 south, and other concerns, but stressed that there is still a long way to go in the study and many more answers to uncover.

"I don't have all the answers on the impacts, that will come at the end of our study," study team member Rob McCann said.

Metro spokeswoman Helen Ortiz-Gilstrap said the meeting was ultimately successful, and Metro was glad to have such a high turnout of people with all different viewpoints.

"This is civic engagement; it is important we consider all types of comments," Ortiz-Gilstrap said.
Two sheriff's deputies stood guard at the event, and at least three Pasadena police officers were present during the morning protest. The meeting also followed complaints on the SR-710 study's Facebook page that Metro has been censoring content posted to the page.

Saturday's meeting was the second of three Metro has this month. Ortiz-Gilstrap said about 175 people attended the first, in El Sereno on Thursday, and she hopes the high turnout with continue at the final meeting at Langley Senior Center, 400 W. Emerson Ave. in Monterey Park.

For more information on the study, visit metro.net/sr710study.


Photos: Opponents of 710 extension rally at Blair High School

http://photos.pasadenastarnews.com/2013/07/20/photos-opponents-of-710-extension-rally-at-blair-high-school/

July 20, 2013





  


 Former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino leads opponents of the long fought-over 710 Freeway north extension in a rally before Metro and Caltran's information session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena.






 Pasadena Councilman Steve Madison speaks as opponents of the long fought-over 710 Freeway north extension rally before Metro and Caltran's information session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena.


 (La Canada Flintridge May Laura Ohasso.)


  

 Jim Miller protests the 710 Freeway extension during a rally before Metro and Caltran's information session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena.





 Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard speaks during a rally with opponents of the long fought-over 710 Freeway north extension before Metro and Caltran's information session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena.







 (Glendale City Councilman and Metro Board Member Ara Najarian.)






 Pasadena Councilman Steve Madison speaks as opponents of the long fought-over 710 Freeway north extension rally before Metro and Caltran's information session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena.



 (Protesters at the rally.)






 A photographer takes pictures of Jim Miller as he protests the 710 Freeway extension during a rally before Metro and Caltran's information session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena.





People attend the SR 710 North Study All Communities Convening Information Session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena. 




 
  Study All Communities Convening Information Session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena. 
 
 
 
 
 
 Former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino leads opponents of the long fought-over 710 Freeway north extension in a rally before Metro and Caltran's information session Saturday morning, July 20, 2013 at Blair High School in Pasadena.
 
 

Caltrans engineers optimistic on fixing fire-damaged tunnel



Caltrans engineers are taking core samples and conducting other tests to determine how to repair the 53-year-old tunnel that was scorched in a fiery crash on July 13.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-freeway-tunnel-20130720,0,7989684.story

By Thomas Curwen, July 20, 2013



Caltrans optimistic on repairing fire-damaged tunnel


 A worker takes core samples of concrete compromised by the July 13 fire in a tunnel underneath the 5 Freeway. Intense heat makes water molecules in the cement evaporate, causing cracks.



Huddled in the soot-blackened tunnel that burned in the aftermath of last Saturday's freeway crash in Elysian Valley, a team of fluorescently dressed, hard-hatted engineers peered at the mottled ceiling. One shined a penlight into a far-away corner. Another took pictures.

A drilling machine nearly drowned out their voices as they discussed the fire-eroded surface, a roughened texture of stones and concrete that looked like a neo-Expressionist art installation.
They had just come from a conference room where they spoke in the easy shorthand of the trade, words passing among them like "carbonation," "incipient spalls" and "surface delamination."

Five days earlier, a tanker truck overturned in this cavernous hollow connecting the northbound 2 Freeway with the northbound 5 Freeway. Fed by 8,500 gallons of gasoline, the fire peaked at more than 1,000 degrees and burned for more than an hour with the intensity of a blast furnace. Its flames licked the upper deck of the 2 Freeway, 40 feet above the tunnel.

As impervious as concrete might seem to both fire and heat, engineers know the contrary.

Tom Brake, a senior bridge engineer for Caltrans, stepped away from the huddle — and talked about the worst-case scenario. When asked, he admitted that the tunnel could have collapsed, carrying with it a stretch of the 5 Freeway 20 feet overhead.

After the fire, the steady concussion of traffic on the roadbed above would have put the fire-damaged concrete at risk of failure, and Los Angeles hasn't seen a freeway collapse since the Northridge earthquake in 1994.

Now with the shoring safely in place — long girders and thick posts supporting the ceiling — Caltrans was assessing the damage. Brake and a dozen other engineers needed to know if the fire had compromised the strength of the concrete. Until that is known, the tunnel will be closed and the bulwark-like shoring will stay in place.


Standing near the southern entrance of the tunnel, Brake unfolded a set of blueprints for Bridge No. 53-0577.

The southern stretch of the 2 Freeway is more of a stub than a thoroughfare. Designers had intended for the route, conceived in the 1950s, to connect to the Hollywood Freeway less than a mile away, but this intention was never realized.

Once known as the Alessandro Freeway, named for a character from the novel "Ramona," the 2 Freeway has little romance as it descends the eastern flanks of the Hollywood Hills toward the industrial surrounds of the Los Angeles River. Its intersection with the 5 Freeway is a skein of on- and off-ramps that on a map look like a game of cat's cradle.

Brake had been reading the blueprints since Monday and was encouraged to learn that the walls and ceiling were at a minimum 2 feet thick.

"Fifty three years later," he said, referring to the date on the blueprints, Jan. 25, 1960, "and the tunnel is still functional."

Over the weekend, he might not have been so optimistic. He had just returned from an out-of-town trip when his phone rang. He had seen the pictures on television, and the thick smoke and the purling flames didn't bode well. His supervisor told him to be prepared for a busy week.
Years ago as a student in Chicago, Brake had wanted to design high-rises, but by the early 1990s, no one was hiring, so he turned to bridges and forgot the tall buildings.

"These are massively huge structures that take incredible loads and can be very beautiful as well, and the entire economy relies upon them," said Brake, 50.

His work took him from Washington to California, and for a time he lived in the Bay Area, where his job had him rappelling down the sides of the Bay Bridge to examine its girders, joints and tower legs.
Initial assessments of the damage in the tunnel suggested that the repairs would be extensive. When concrete is exposed to heat and fire, its chemical composition changes. Water molecules in the cement begin to evaporate, creating cracks that weaken the structure.

The cracks also make the concrete brittle, a phenomena known as spalling. It flakes and crumbles, and the floor of the tunnel was littered with pieces of the walls and ceiling. The metal reinforcing rods that support the concrete were exposed.

Ron Kaye: Activism and the 710 tunnel

http://www.glendalenewspress.com/entertainment/tn-gnp-me-ron-kaye-activism-and-the-710-tunnel-20130720,0,4284686.story

By Ron Kaye, July 20, 2013
 Ron Kaye




Joanne Nuckols has put the people she calls "transportation bullies" in their place for decades.
She reels off the long, sordid history of South Pasadena's fight against extending the 710 Freeway through her town, lawsuit by lawsuit, injunction by injunction, community action by community action, as the grassroots movement spread to include residents all along the corridor.

On Saturday, Nuckols and dozens of other activists joined by a cadre of elected officials from Glendale, La Cañada, Pasadena and South Pasadena were to stage a rally and press conference at Blair High School in Pasadena before the start of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's community meeting intended to sell the public on the virtue of a multi-billion-dollar, four-mile tunnel from Alhambra to Pasadena.

It has been a tough sell for 60 years, but transportation officials keep trying, with the full support of those who would benefit most: the engineers, contractors, truckers, unions as well as the politicians they keep in office.

"It's so exciting to be involved, it's like a revolution," said Nuckols, who has been active on transportation issues almost since she and her husband moved to town in the late 1960s. "They treated us like we were just a little fly they could swat away. The defining moment came in '73 when we got the first injunction against the freeway."

Saturday's protest, coming on the 14th anniversary of yet another injunction that blocked freeway construction, was called because of the fire that occurred a week ago in the northbound tunnel connecting the Pasadena Freeway to the I-5 when a tanker spilled 8,500 gallons of gas and set off an inferno, causing damage that will take a long time to repair.

A similar fire occurred six years ago in Santa Clarita when two dozen trucks crashed and burned in the southbound I-5 bypass tunnel — an event that prompted Nuckols and other activists to create a banner and yard signs to show "what can go wrong in a tunnel."

Doug Failing, who was regional Caltrans director at the time of that crash but joined Metro as its highway construction expert after passage of the Measure R sales tax for transportation, is the target of much of the criticism from the No on 710 activists.

"You ask questions and you get no answers," Nuckols said. "It's like they're tone deaf. They try to feed us this pablum, but we're not eating it. They just ignore the fact that those tunnels should never be built and will never be built."

The anti-freeway movement gained momentum and much broader support last summer when Metro included a possible tunnel or surface route on Avenue 64 through much of L.A.'s Eastside and the San Rafael neighborhood in west Pasadena.

All along the route, people got organized and forced Metro to abandon the plan that affected them directly. But they didn't stop there; they kept working with other neighborhoods to pack meeting after meeting to challenge transportation officials, the community relations firm they hired and their technical experts, as well as rounding up support from the Pasadena City Council as well as La Cañada-Flintridge and Glendale officials.

The coalition now has multiple websites as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts to keep everyone informed and involved.

"It's very multilayered and complicated, but we have different guerrilla groups that go out and deal with different issues as part of the overall umbrella group." Nuckols said.

"What's so incredible is we get no response from Metro to the information and questions we raise," she added. "That's one of their big problems. They think we're going to go away, but our group is just growing."

One of the strongest supporters of the No 710 Action Committee's campaign has been former Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who reached out to Nuckols even before he first ran for a seat on the La Cañada-Flintridge City Council.

"The fight against the 710 has turned from a local issue into a regional issue of significant importance precisely because of the mounting public activism and the horrible approach taken by proponents," said Portantino, one of the political figures who was slated to be at Saturday's protest.

"Nothing gets folks more engaged and active than a poorly acted charade and MTA's advocacy for a project that most folks feel will negatively impact the San Gabriel Valley and the city of Los Angeles," Portantino added. "As a result, neighbors from across the region are seizing the moment, the initiative and making a difference."

With a new L.A. mayor in Eric Garcetti, who is on the record as opposing the tunnel and has hired former Pasadena Mayor Rick Cole, a long-time 710 opponent, as a top aide, the Metro board has the votes to kill the tunnel project once and for all and end the waste of tens of millions of dollars on something that is never going to happen.

In this rare case, where the people have gotten so well-organized, so informed, so strong, it should be clear that they are going to keep on truckin' against the 710 gap project for as long as it takes.

The "transportation bullies" and the greed merchants who want this should be shown the door and the $780 million set aside for this boondoggle should be used to expand rail and rapid bus service in
 the region, synchronize lights and take other steps to improve the flow of traffic and movement of people.

That's what people want, the people who pay the bills for all of this.

710 Freeway Press Conference & Protest Rally & Metro Information Session


 Held July 20, 2013, at Blair High School Pasadena

No710 Press Conference and Protest Rally

 
Glen Duncan, starting the press conference/rally off.

Anthony Portantino, former California State Assemblyman, running for California State Senate.


Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard.

South Pasadena Mayor Dr. Richard Schneider.

La Canada Flintridge Mayor Laura Olhasso.

Pasadena City Councilman Steve Madison.

Ara Najarian, Glendale City Councilman and Metro Board Member.

















Metro Information Session

















 Metro timer to keep additional questions to 1 minute.


 Mural on Blair High School Cafeteria Wall