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, June 4, 2014

PASADENA & THE 710 PROJECT - An Opportunity


By Pasadena City Council Member Terry Tornek, June 3, 2014

Pasadena is allowing itself to be manipulated by METRO/CALTRANS with regard to a project of tremendous impact, the possible extension of the 710 Freeway. It is time for us to stop that process & redirect the narrative in a way that will truly benefit our City.

We have been waiting for METRO to produce an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that will describe the impacts of five alternative projects.  The report was to be completed in April, but METRO suddenly announced that the release date for the report has been delayed until February, 2015.

While it has been clear for some time that the report is rigged in a way that will identify the $6+ BILLION Freeway Tunnel alternative as the only solution that will meet METRO’s skewed scoring system, Pasadena has been waiting for the report in order to marshal a fact-based response. However, this delay coupled with our recent experience with the Devil’s Gate Sediment Removal Project, suggests that we should adopt another approach.

Until now, there has been no broad-based fact finding to choose what would be best for our City. There is the inconvenient truth of Measure A wherein the voters prohibited the City Council from opposing the Freeway’s completion.  Although this prohibition has been confirmed by outside legal counsel, the debate has been framed within the confines of whether we can or should oppose the tunnel rather than focusing on what we should support. Many are against the tunnel, but as a City, what are we FOR? There has been virtually no discussion as to how significant transportation improvements to reduce traffic while protecting neighborhoods could benefit the City.

In fact, two of the five STUDY alternatives have the potential to offer great benefits to Pasadena . The “Light Rail” alternative could build on the success of the Gold Line. If modified, it could even eliminate the mistaken grade crossings at both Glenarm & California that tie up our streets with terrible traffic with increasing frequency & delay emergency vehicles headed for Huntington hospital.  The “Transportation System Management “alternative could also be modified to eliminate these crossings & incorporate the innovative 710 stub recapture proposal by the West Pasadena Residents Association to convert an existing highway wasteland into productive uses.

In the case of the proposed project behind the Devil’s Gate dam, the County issued its complicated Draft EIR which contained devastating potential impacts. In response, the City formed a Task Force to review the EIR & to generate a “Pasadena Preferred Alternative”. I believe that although METRO has delayed its EIR, we have enough information to follow the same course of action to generate a Pasadena Preferred 710 Freeway Alternative immediately.

Let’s follow the successful Devil’s Gate model, assemble a task force to review the alternatives & use the delay to formulate an affirmative Pasadena Preferred Alternative that  can gain the support of the entire City & press METRO to adopt it, rather than squabbling among ourselves while we wait for them to foist the Tunnel on us as the only viable solution. Pasadena must lead the process, not wait for others to decide our fate.