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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.