By Lauren Gold, June 3, 2014
Cars getting on South710 freeway from Valley Boulevard in Alhambra
Friday, October 7, 2011. A bill sponsored by Assemblyman Gil Cedilo,
D-Los Angeles, was signed in to law this week, giving the South Pasadena
City Council back it's authority to control a possible extension of the
The City Council Monday agreed to discuss at a future meeting
strategies to ensure that the 710 freeway north extension project does
not negatively impact the city.
Councilman Terry Tornek asked
Mayor Bill Bogaard to put the item on a future agenda, suggesting that
the city create a special task force to look into the various suggested
alternatives for the project. He noted the success of the citizen group
the city created to do an outside study of the Devil’s Gate Dam sediment
removal project. The group, made up of local citizens and experts,
studied the impacts of the proposed sediment removal in the treasured
Hahamongna Watershed Park and generated a “Pasadena alternative” that
would minimize impacts on the city’s natural resources and residents.
“It occurred to me that in the context of the 710 freeway
discussion that we really could use that as a model,” Tornek said. “It
seems to me we could potentially replicate the model for Devil’s gate to
develop a Pasadena preferred alternative that would be vastly superior
to alternatives under review.”
Tornek has already declared his intention to run for mayor in 2015.
710 north extension, which would connect the freeway stubs in Alhambra
and Pasadena, has been a controversial debate among the cities in the
Los Angeles region for decades. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan
Transportation Authority is in the midst of an environmental study on
five new alternatives to close the freeway gap: “no build,”
transportation management options, light rail, bus and a freeway tunnel.
Councilman Victor Gordo agreed the discussion would be valuable,
but suggested the city also work with the already established five-city
coalition created to fight alternatives that might be detrimental. The
council voted to join South Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge, Glendale and
Sierra Madre in the “5-Cities Alliance,” agreeing to chip in $50,000,
Gordo also suggested Pasadena include the city of
Los Angeles in the discussion and possible study. The Los Angeles City
Council voted in August 2012 to oppose the tunnel option for the freeway
“If we set up process like Hahamongna we may end up with an
output that might be viewed as Pasadena-specific. I would suggest a more
regional approach, working with our neighbors and the city of Los
Angeles and other communities, that really looks at this issue for what
it is, a regional issue,” Gordo said. “We stand a better chance of
gaining credibility if we have a discussion that involves the region.”
Steve Madison has long been a strong voice against the 710 tunnel
option, and brought the issue to vote at the council level without
success. The council has declined to pass a motion condemning the tunnel
option because many council members have argued that the city’s 2001
voter-approved Measure A, in which residents voted to support the
freeway extension, prohibits them from voting against the project.
Madison did not comment during the short council discussion
Monday. The council was prohibited from discussing the issue at length
because the item was not on the official agenda.
announced that the release of the draft EIR, which was scheduled to come
out this spring, has been delayed until February 2015.
However, Pasadena council members agreed that the city should take action now.
“I’m interested,” Bogaard said. “It gives us an opportunity to get started with this sooner rather than later.”
City Manager Michael Beck said he plans to bring the item back for discussion in about a month.
isn’t the only city getting ahead of the game in the 710 battle. The
city of Alhambra and others who support the freeway extension have
joined to form the 710 Coalition, which held a pro-710 banner dedication
ceremony in Alhambra Tuesday. The city, in conjunction with the
coalition, plans to host its second “710 Day” street festival and rally
on July 10.
For more information on the 710 study, visit www.metro.net/projects/sr-710-conversations.