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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Long Beach Port bridge delayed at least a year


By Christine Mai-Duc, June 29, 2014

The massive $1.26 billion project to replace the ailing Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach will be delayed at least a year, port officials announced.

Originally expected to open by the end of 2016, port officials say the bridge that will rise over its port won’t be completed until late 2017 or early 2018.

The delay has been attributed to design issues, including delays in obtaining approval for designs from Caltrans officials, who have the ultimate authority over plans.

“This is a complex design,” said Al Moro, the Port of Long Beach's acting executive director, at a recent meeting of the city’s Harbor Commission. “We need to be very thorough and we need to get it right. We have one chance at this.”

Few people dispute that the 46-year-old Gerald Desmond Bridge, named after a onetime Long Beach councilman and city attorney, needs to be replaced.

 Many of the ships that enter the port struggle to navigate under its low-hanging span, and traffic is often jammed on the roadway. At one point, officials installed a nylon mesh to catch chunks of concrete falling from the bridge’s underbelly.

The replacement bridge is being constructed under a design-build model, which means that while construction on the foundation began a couple months ago, only about 70% of it has been designed.

The operation has already been plagued with complications and cost overruns from a maze of poorly mapped underground utility lines and oil wells on Terminal Island.

 A landscape of highly variable soils, and the risk they could liquefy in an earthquake, means designs for various sections of the bridge’s foundation need to be tailored so they can withstand a major seismic event, said port spokesman John Pope.

Still, some harbor commissioners expressed disappointment about the revised timeline.
“My concerns are that we got to this point,” Harbor Commissioner Richard Dines said at the meeting. “I think that this is something that should have been under control before.”

It isn’t clear yet how much the year-long delay could cost the Port of Long Beach, which is managed by the city of Long Beach and is responsible for shouldering all cost overruns.

The project, more than 10 years in the making, is already more than $300 million over budget from its original $950 million estimated price tag, mostly due to the oil well work done to clear a path for the new bridge.

Port officials said more accurate cost estimates will be released in July.

Meanwhile, crews are continuing to build the bridge, working from both ends to pour the first dozen of what will be more than 300 concrete piles supporting the span.

Last month, Long Beach officials closed a major connector between the 710 Freeway and Terminal Island to make way for construction.
Pope said the detour will remain in eff
ect for longer, but doesn’t anticipate additional road closures as a result of the delays.

“It will have an impact on our customers because we’re asking them to be patient for a longer duration,” Pope said.

“We have a lot of confidence with this new timeline. The design is moving along,we’ve started construction … and there’s some very high-level coordination happening,” he added.

This Week in Livable Streets Events


By Joe Linton, June 30, 2014

It’s the Independence Day holiday week, so SBLA be publishing lightly (more photos, fewer typos) on Thursday, and off Friday July 4th. There is at least one huge event: the changing of the guard at the city of Los Angeles’ Transportation Department (LADOT.) Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nominee, Seleta Reynolds,  is scheduled for council confirmation tomorrow morning – see below.

Be patriotic! Offer your transit seat up to a standing rider this week. Walk. Bike. Enjoy watching World Cup soccer in public spaces!
  • Tuesday: Mayor Garcetti’s Nominee for his LADOT General Manager, Seleta Reynolds is up for her confirmation hearing before the full Los Angeles City Council. The meeting starts at 10am at City Hall, Reynolds is item number 5 on the agenda [PDF]. For more background on Reynolds, see SBLA coverage of her testimony before the council’s Transportation Committee last week, and SBLA’s first interview with her.
  • Tuesday: The Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee considers the River Improvement Overlay zoning ordinance. It’s sort of a green-building-certification-lite that, if approved, would apply to development and redevelopment along the L.A. River, and potentially other waterways. PLUM meets at city hall at 2:30pm, RIO is item 6 on the agenda [PDF]. If RIO passes in PLUM, it goes to full council the next day: Wednesday July 2nd 2014.
  • Friday: Opponents of the community-catastrophe called 710 Freeway extension want you! To march in South Pasadena’s “Festival of Balloons” parade. Meet up by 10am at Hope and Meridian in South Pasadena. Details on Facebook.
  • Saturday: Bicycle the mean streets of San Marino! The Riff-Raff Ride gathers at 8am from El Sereno’s parklet at 4910 Huntington Drive. Details on Facebook.

South Pasadena's 4th of July Parade

710 Day celebration


710 Coalition 710 Coalition

710 day will consist of fun activities, delicious food, live entertainment (and surprises!) to celebrate the community and for you to learn more about the 710 project. Various booths will be present to share information about the many benefits of completing the 710 Freeway.

Learn about the 710-Corridor project and get answers to your questions at this family-friendly event. Make sure to come hungry -- there will be food trucks! Bring your family, we'll have face-painting and a bounce house!

RSVP online and come be a part of the celebration! This is open to the entire community so please share!

Hope to see you there!

710 Coalition


Thursday, July 10th

4 - 7 pm at the intersection of Valley Blvd. and Fremont Ave. 
The City of Alhambra has been the most vocal proponent of the Tunnels, believing that the Tunnel Alternative is the answer to the congestion on Alhambra's surface streets.  Recently, Alhambra hired the respected PR firm of Englander, Knabe and Allen (EKA) to help them promote and gain support for the Tunnels (Yes, for those of you who are wondering, the "Knabe" component of EKA is the son of Metro Board member, Don Knabe).  The recent upgrade of the proponents' website (http://www.710coalition.com/) and the hanging of pro-tunnel street banners in Alhambra are two of the products of EKA's involvement.

From the 710 Coalition's website:
"The goal (of 710 Day) is to raise awareness about the proposed 710 freeway extension from Alhambra to Pasadena, while creating a fun and informative environment where the community can learn more about the project. Various booths will be present to share information about the many benefits of completing the 710 Freeway. Learn about the 710-Corridor project and get answers to your questions at this family-friendly event!"

The majority of those present last year were City employees wearing blue "Close the Gap" T-Shirts and who knew very little about the SR-710 North Study.  Members of the No 710 Action Committee attended, walking around and talking with those in attendance about the facts.  We discovered that most did not know that the tunnels would be tolled, and that City officials had been telling their citizens that trucks would not be allowed in the tunnels -- something that has not been determined and is unlikely to be true. 

We need more people to attend this year.  It is critical that we reinforce opposition to the Tunnels in favor of better solutions.  Please try to attend and help get the word out about the truth behind this project.  We have information cards prepared that address facts about the project, backed by references to Metro's own reports, that we use as starting points for conversations and to distribute to Alhambrans.   
Wear red or your No 710 T-shirt, and look for those of us also wearing red No 710 T-Shirts. 
You can order a NO 710 T-shirt for the event by  emailing  No710store@gmail.com or call 626-354-4340.  Let them know it's for the "710 Day" event.