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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

City Council Authorizes Contracts to Study Environmental Impact Report


By Bill Glazier, August 17, 2014

City Council members have authorized four professional services agreements on behalf of a 5-City Alliance opposing the potential of a 710 tunnel running under South Pasadena.

The consultants are prepared to weigh in on Metro’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) scheduled for release in February 2015.

The 5-City Alliance, comprised of South Pasadena, Glendale, Pasadena, Sierra Madre and La CaƱada, was formed several months ago with the intent to analyze the EIR, in which local city officials fear could mean an extension of the 710 freeway in the form of a freeway tunnel.

Like the other cities, South Pasadena has pledged $50,000 to the Alliance, joining the other cities in a commitment to oppose a tunnel under South Pasadena as one of Metro’s five alternatives to reduce congestion and improve mobility in the San Gabriel Valley, East/Northeast Los Angeles, and the region.

The South Pasadena City Council approved last week allocating an additional $5,000 for individual in-person meetings with legal consultants.

Metro, in coordination with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), is  moving forward with the environmental review phase while not only looking at a tunnel under the city but searching for multi-modal solutions, including the use of buses, light rail and transit in the 710 corridor.

The five alternatives that performed best against the screening criteria and that will be studied in depth in the Draft Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIR/EIS) are:


•Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management (county-wide strategies to improve and enhance traffic operations)

•Bus Rapid Transit (provides fast and frequent service between East Los Angeles and Pasadena)

•Light Rail Transit (provides aerial and tunnel rail service between East Los Angeles and Pasadena, with connection to Metro Gold line)

•Freeway Tunnel (connects the north and south termini of the existing SR 710).

Consulting services for the 710 study include:

•Nelson/Nygaard – Transportation issues at a cost of $80,000.

•Mestre Greve Associates Division of Landrum & Brown – Air Quality & Noise at a cost of $49,975.

•Wilson Geosciences, Inc. – Geotechnical & Hydrology at a cost of $30,000.

•Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, LLP – Legal/California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) at a cost of $100,000.

“Claims that a tunnel will improve air quality is an area we’re very critical about,” said Gonzalez.

“We’re also very concerned that a tunnel could be going through some active earthquake faults. The other reason geology is part of our study is because the Raymond Fault is acting like a natural barrier between the north water basin, which is the one Pasadena accesses, and the basin south of the Raymond fault, which is part of the Upper San Gabriel Water Municipal Water District where we get our water. The fear is that the north basin actually has a lot more contaminants and a tunnel boring through an active fault that is acting like a buffer may produce some seepage with water contaminating the clean water of the southern basin. So, that is why a fourth consultant will be looking at the earthquake faults to ensure the sound construction of the tunnel but paying close attention to the water contamination issue (if Metro selects that option).”

With current drought conditions, the city manager also questions the amount of water that would be required during construction if Metro decides a tunnel is the best option. “Where is the water going to come from?” he asked. “Who is going to pay for that water?”

In approving the contracts with the consultants, Gonzalez said the council is now moving forward with a plan to “properly address the environmental impact report.”

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