Posted by Robin Goldworthy, April 2, 2015
Thanks to Jan SooHoo and Susan Bolan of the No 710 Action Group for providing the attendees at the March 26 Crescenta Valley Community Assn. meeting information on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the 710 Extension project. Susan is also a member of the CVCA Steering Committee. They shared their preliminary impressions of the study that was released on March 6. It is roughly 26,000 pages, including all the appendices and technical reports, so it will take many eyes to scrutinize it thoroughly.
The document can be viewed, in manageable sections, on the CalTrans website: http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/draft_eir-eis/
The public has 120 days to submit comments before the July 6 deadline. Comments can go to Garrett Damrath, Chief Environmental Planner; Caltrans District 7, Division of Environmental Planning; 100 S. Main St., MS-16A; Los Angeles, CA 90012. Comments can also be sent in electronically via the CalTrans website. The No 710 Action Committee website has information on composing and submitting your comments: http://www.no710.com/deir-info.html.
The complex document considers five alternatives: no build, Transportation system management/transportation demand management, bus rapid transit, light rail transit and a freeway tunnel. The TSM/TDM alternative consists of improvements with existing transportation facilities such as traffic signal upgrades, ramp metering and local street improvements. The bus rapid transit alternative is a high-speed, high-frequency bus service along a 12-mile route from East Los Angeles to Pasadena. The light rail transit alternative is a passenger rail line along a roughly 7.5-mile route including three miles of elevated segments and approximately 4.5 miles of bored tunnel segments.
The freeway tunnel alternative would be 6.3 miles long with approximately 4.2 miles of bored tunnel and .7 miles of cut and cover tunnel, from the current end of the 710 freeway in Alhambra to the 210/134 interchange in Pasadena. Both a single-bore and dual-bore configuration are included plus different operational variations such as toll or no toll, trucks allowed or not. The use of multiple tunnel boring machines, starting from both ends of the tunnel, is being considered. That could be a total of four of the custom-built multimillion dollar machines in the case of a dual-bore construction.
Expected environmental impacts from each of the alternatives are summarized in tables and the supporting material is in the technical studies.
What is missing is a cost-benefit analysis of the alternatives despite community members and elected officials calling for it during the preparation of the DEIR.
Please take the time to read the 44 page executive summary and, considering your areas of expertise, any other segments where you may be able to contribute constructive comments to make the review process more complete. Please share all these resources with friends and relatives who have knowledge and credentials in the areas expected to have impacts. These include traffic, noise and air pollution, and issues with the tunnel boring machines like the one currently being repaired after breaking down resulting in massive cost overruns in Seattle.
The comments should focus on environmental impacts that are not adequately considered in the document. Opinions on the appropriateness of the project in general and the lack of other alternatives in the study should be articulated in letters to the editor and communicated to your elected officials.