By Carol Cormaci, March 21, 2015
The $5.6-billion 710 Freeway option calls for side-by-side,
double-decker tunnels to separate northbound and southbound traffic.
(October 21, 2014)
Attachments. We all form them, not only to people, pets, personal
belongings and places, but also to our daily routines. Some of those
bonds are vital to our happiness; some we could shed.
nothing illuminating in that observation, but I bring it up because I’ve
been musing on that subject these past several days, after reading and
hearing local reactions to Caltrans’ release of the environmental impact report for the proposed 710 Freeway extension project.
As you no doubt have heard,
there are a few options on the table, and among them is a $5.6-billion,
4.9-mile tunnel under South Pasadena that is favored by the city of
Alhambra and a host of labor unions. I loved the L.A. Times headline the
day the document was released: “Report: Closing the 710 Freeway gap would take years, cost billions.”
completely in agreement with all the folks who say the completion of
the 710 is not the answer to our regional transportation issues. I’m not
swayed by the desperate banners stretched across Fremont Avenue in
Alhambra demanding that the freeway be completed.
The notion of
spending multiple billions of dollars to bore and construct a tunnel,
should that option ultimately be the decision of Caltrans is ludicrous.
It will line the pockets of the people who do the work and will cause
the 210 Freeway to be so overburdened by traffic, especially during peak
times, that we will all be at a standstill. Imagine that gridlock not
only here, where the 210 heads north, but also along the section that
crosses Pasadena and cities to its east.
As La Cañada’s outgoing
Mayor Pro Tem Don Voss said during a radio interview recently, as it
stands now, the 210 is already crammed. Like Voss, I cannot see how the
addition of 180,000 vehicles daily, funneled to the 210 through a
completion of the 710, would be an improvement to the region’s poor
To complete the 710 to ease Alhambra’s pain
is not forward-thinking enough. There must be solutions that improve
transportation issues for all of us and surely the best of those mean we
should all seriously reconsider our attachments to our cars.
why I love the fact that several area officials are banding together to
shape sensible policy. These are mayors and council members from
Glendale, La Cañada, Pasadena, South Pasadena and Sierra Madre.
is not in that group; officials there seem to be stuck on the idea of
just doing what is the most expedient course in their minds: build a
tunnel to get the traffic, once and for all, off their surface streets.
It seems they’ve focused so long and so hard on completing the 710 that
they’re not free to think bigger, and easily imagine other solutions
that could have more wide-reaching benefits.
I especially like
the way South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez put it: “There are
far superior ways to improve mobility in the area. (But) people are
asking the wrong questions. It shouldn't be how do you move cars more
efficiently, but how do you move people more efficiently?”
My suggestion: Figure out how to detach people from their vehicles and Alhambra from its tunnel vision.