By Melanie Johnson and Dan Abendschein, September 6, 2013
Supporters and opponents of the 710 at an event in Alhambra.
The Monrovia City Council supports closure of the 710 freeway gap between Pasadena and El Sereno but does not favor any particular method for doing so at this time.
The council voted 4-1 Tuesday night to reaffirm a previous resolution dating back to 1989 supporting the gap's closure, but altered the language at the urging of Councilman Alexander Blackburn as to not appear to be in favor of more freeway construction specifically.
Sierra Madre's City Council voted last October to oppose a tunnel project that would connect the 710 Freeway to the 210 Freeway. That move aligned it with La Canada Flintridge, South Pasadena and the City of Los Angeles, Glendale and the Highland Park Neighborhood Council, which have cast similar votes in opposition. The City of Pasadena also expressed limited opposition to several specific proposed routes last year.
Alhambra officials have long been proponents of the 710 project and the San Marino City Council has also voted to support a tunnel extension.
Monrovia's public hearing that lasted more than three hours, proponents and opponents of the project, mostly from neighboring cities, shared their views on long-delayed project.
Doug Failing, executive director of Metro's highway program, gave a presentation on five alternatives being studied: one that calls for doing nothing, a second involves improvements to intersections, a third would boost bus routes, a fourth pushes for more light rail, and the fifth is freeway construction that includes a tunnel.
Hassan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Associated Governments, said his organization will respect whatever alternative is chosen but doing nothing is not an option.
"Whatever it is, this gap needs to be closed," he said. "We're talking about millions of people being affected."
However, opponents of the closure are convinced that the tunnel is really the only option on the table.
Michael Cacciotti, a South Pasadena councilman, presented the opposition's side and called on Monrovia to join his city, Los Angeles, La Canada-Flintridge, Glendale, and Sierra Madre in fighting the extension.
Cacciotti said the way to close the gap is to bolster the light rail system, not open up the 710 freeway and other highways to more traffic.
"What would happen if the 710 opened up," he asked. "It would be a nightmare on this 210."
Monrovia city officials said the public has been vocal on both sides of the issue. City Manager Laurie Lile said the city received about 60 emails on the subject.
In recent months, Monrovia also has received requests from the city of Alhambra and the city of South Pasadena, the former asking for reaffirmation and the latter calling for opposition of further consideration of the project, according to a report to council.
What do you think of the Monrovia City Council's decision? Would you like to see the 710 freeway gap closed? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story said in the sub-head that Monrovia supported a tunnel extension, whereas the resolution the Council passed did not specify how the 710 gap should be closed