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

Friday, June 5, 2015

Around Town: Beyond the 710 an ideal solution


By Anita S. Brenner, June 4, 2015

Until this month, the 710 Freeway connection battle was a zero-sum game. San Marino and Alhambra are pro-tunnel to reduce local traffic. LCF, South Pasadena and Pasadena are anti-tunnel.
Zero-sum means there are only two options. Either you win or you lose. If San Marino wins, La Cañada loses. If South Pasadena wins, then Alhambra loses.

If you live in Pasadena, you know the connection is a bad idea. The proposed tunnels require giant vents that would spew exhaust into Old Town Pasadena. The geologic component of the draft environmental impact report is dubious. There could be subsidence. There could be sinkholes.

If you live in LCF, you know the connection is a bad idea. There would be increased truck traffic on the 210 Freeway. Historically, one accident shuts down the 210 and Foothill Boulevard.

If you are Caltrans, your job is to build freeways. Caltrans runs heavy equipment all night long under the 2 Freeway, by Goldstein's Bagels, Starbucks and Café Sole. LCF construction hours? They don't seem to apply to Caltrans. Count on Caltrans to push the tunnel.

But if you are Rep. Adam Schiff, you are a child of the future. Rep. Schiff and a group called Beyond the 710 (beyondthe710.org) have proposed an elegant solution that will reduce the congestion in Alhambra and San Marino without connecting the 710 Freeway.
Under the group's plan, everyone can win.

Beyond the 710 notes that over 85% of the cars exiting the 710 Freeway at Valley Boulevard are headed to local destinations, and that well-planned transit lines could reduce that traffic, at a fraction of the cost of the tunnels.

“Beyond the 710 believes that the proposed 710 Tunnel would not only devastate communities, it would be a massive waste of money that could be much better spent on different projects... Caltrans' and Metro's own studies show that the billions of dollars would not appreciably improve anyone's commute, and would further add congestion on already overloaded freeways,” Beyond the 710 says on its site.

We change our cellphones every two years, why do we depend on 1960s' transit plans? That's why state-of-the-art traffic synchronization, well-planned bus service, enhanced light rail and better use of existing freight networks will reduce traffic and avoid the tunnels.

Freight traffic is a key component. We see way too much freight traffic on the 210 Freeway through LCF as things are now.

The 20-mile long Alameda Corridor is an underused dedicated freight rail expressway, parallel to Alameda Boulevard, that was designed to connect the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the interstate rail system in downtown Los Angeles. The Alameda Corridor is underused. Why use container trucks when there are container trains?

Enhancement of the Alameda Corridor connection would reduce the number of big rig/container trucks on all of the freeways, including the 210, and free up real estate for parks, bike lanes, houses and public use.

The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Coalition, “a coalition of neighbor councils and community activists,” calls the historical goal of the 710 Freeway to “link” the Long Beach and L.A. ports to “the rest of the nation's highway network” mere “backwards thinking.” On their Facebook page, the Coalition says, “we built the Alameda Corridor for a reason. Instead of spending money on more highway lanes, we need to augment Alameda's use. Rail is the way to go for freight. Truckers might not like it but we really can't afford to have more trucks driving right though the heart of LA anymore.”

Will we use outmoded technology and analysis? Or will we embrace the 21st century and find a win-win solution?