Purpose

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

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Pasadena convenes 710 Freeway Working Group

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/general-news/20140905/pasadena-convenes-710-freeway-working-group

By Lauren Gold, September 5, 2014

PASADENA >> The city has selected seven community members to participate in a study group on the controversial north extension of the 710 Freeway.

The 710 Working Group will meet for the first time this month and then on a monthly basis to study the various proposals for the project. Ultimately, it is tasked with providing a final recommendation to the council by early next year.

“Our goal is to look at what the alternatives are and identify what the best solution for Pasadena is, recognizing the fact that based on what’s been proposed that Pasadena would be the most impacted of any city,” Beck said. “So we want to look at what our alternatives are and potentially identify an alternative that would be acceptable to Pasadena.”

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is studying five options for the long fought over project: “No build,” light rail, bus, traffic management solutions and a freeway tunnel. The draft environmental report is scheduled to be released in February, after being delayed from the originally proposed release date this past spring.

The Pasadena City Council has not taken a position on the freeway extension, constrained by a voter approved measure that supports the completion of the freeway. Some council members, such as Steve Madison, have come out strongly against the proposed tunnel option, arguing it would be detrimental to the city.

The tunnel proposal has become a divisive issue in the San Gabriel Valley, with many cities coming out in favor of it while others have come out in opposition.

Beck said the proposal from the working group will be a tool for the city to use in advocating to Metro once the environmental report is finally released. He said the city has also consulted others in the newly formed 5 Cities Alliance to hopefully generate a solution that can work for the region as well.

Councilman Terry Tornek, who floated the idea for the working group at a council meeting in June, said he hopes the group will help the city be more prepared and knowledgable about the project when the environmental report comes out.

PASADENA >> The city has selected seven community members to participate in a study group on the controversial north extension of the 710 Freeway.
The 710 Working Group will meet for the first time this month and then on a monthly basis to study the various proposals for the project. Ultimately, it is tasked with providing a final recommendation to the council by early next year.
“Our goal is to look at what the alternatives are and identify what the best solution for Pasadena is, recognizing the fact that based on what’s been proposed that Pasadena would be the most impacted of any city,” Beck said. “So we want to look at what our alternatives are and potentially identify an alternative that would be acceptable to Pasadena.”
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is studying five options for the long fought over project: “No build,” light rail, bus, traffic management solutions and a freeway tunnel. The draft environmental report is scheduled to be released in February, after being delayed from the originally proposed release date this past spring.
The Pasadena City Council has not taken a position on the freeway extension, constrained by a voter approved measure that supports the completion of the freeway. Some council members, such as Steve Madison, have come out strongly against the proposed tunnel option, arguing it would be detrimental to the city.
The tunnel proposal has become a divisive issue in the San Gabriel Valley, with many cities coming out in favor of it while others have come out in opposition.
Beck said the proposal from the working group will be a tool for the city to use in advocating to Metro once the environmental report is finally released. He said the city has also consulted others in the newly formed 5 Cities Alliance to hopefully generate a solution that can work for the region as well.
Councilman Terry Tornek, who floated the idea for the working group at a council meeting in June, said he hopes the group will help the city be more prepared and knowledgable about the project when the environmental report comes out.

“I don’t think it’s enough to be just against something,” Tornek said. “I think we need something to support, so that’s my hope is that they will come up and say this is the alternative we see as the most beneficial for Pasadena.”
 
The members of the working group were selected by Mayor Bill Bogaard and Beck from a pool of candidates recommended by council members. The members are Transportation Advisory Commission member Stephen Acker, West Pasadena Residents Association President Geoff Baum, former interim councilman Joel Bryant, Senior Vice President at transportation planning group Iteris, Inc. Alan Clelland, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Aerospace Consultant and WPRA Vice President Sarah Gavit, transportation consulting group point C Partners President and CEO David Grannis and former Transportation Advisory Commission member Jennifer Higginbotham.

Beck said he and Bogaard tried to create a group with varied backgrounds and opinions and those who have not already been outspoken on the issue.

“I view it completely with an open mind,” Acker said. “I’m interested in the process and I’m looking forward to it.”

Baum said he thinks that being proactive is a good strategy for the city and for the neighborhoods that will be most affected by whatever option Metro and Caltrans ultimately choose.

“It’s really important and there are a lot of people who care deeply about what is going to happen,” Baum said. “So we are willing to invest the time needed to come up with a solution that serves the best interest of Pasadena.”