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

Friday, July 4, 2014

Parade entry protests I-710 extension plans


By Christopher Yee, July 4, 2014


 Mary Ann Parada, 82, left, and Joe Shepherd, 56, are followed by a group of parade participants opposed to construction of the I-710 Freeway tunnel during the July 4 Festival of Balloons parade in South Pasadena on Friday. The No 710 Action Committee and protesters against the freeway tunnel marched during the parade.

SOUTH PASADENA – More than 150 people opposed to the completion of I-710 marched in South Pasadena’s July 4 parade to rally support for their cause.

Following early-1900s cars bearing city leaders and a float bearing AYSO soccer players, the demonstrators carried banners that warned about environmental and traffic problems they said would be created by the freeway completion.

The effort was organized by the No on 710 Action Committee, a coalition of residents from across the San Gabriel Valley and northeast Los Angeles that fought an above-ground freeway extension and is now fighting the tunnel alternative proposed by Metro and Caltrans.

The two agencies for three years have been exploring five options to ease congestion where the freeway ends in Alhambra. In addition to a tunnel, which could cost up to $12 billion, options include expansion of light-rail and bus systems and traffic signal optimization.

A key environmental document detailing the viability of each option was set to be released this spring but was delayed until February.

“For the Fourth of July, we’re saying ‘Don’t tread on me,’” said committee member Joanne Nuckols. “We want our independence, and we want a voice to tell people that this really high-cost megaproject is a waste of taxpayer money that won’t solve any traffic problems.”

Demonstrators in red T-shirts that bore the I-710 sign struck through also carried signs indicating the cities and neighborhoods they came from. These included Alhambra, Pasadena, San Marino, Los Angeles, Glendale, Highland Park and Eagle Rock.

Tom Williams has lived in El Sereno since 1990 and been fighting the freeway for just as long. As a former transportation engineer, Williams said he’s a fan of tunnels but can’t support this one.

“It’s the wrong tunnel, the wrong place, the wrong time and the wrong cost,” Williams said. “That’s why we’re out here today. These kids need to know what their parents and grandparents have been fighting against.”

Alhambra resident Sally Loose hadn’t been involved with the No on 710 efforts until Friday’s parade. Her 7-year-old daughter, Hannah, saw banners about completing the I-710 hanging over Fremont Avenue in Alhambra.

After Loose explained that the freeway completion would make it easier to get to Pasadena but the construction could pollute the land and air, Hannah insisted the entire family of five march in the parade.

“The kids really care,” Sally Loose said. “In (Hannah’s) words, she said she wants to protect the ecosystem.”

Nuckols said the No on 710 Action Committee will gather at Alhambra’s 710 Day, a one-day festival scheduled by the city Thursday to advocate for the completion of I-710.