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
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
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.
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?
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.
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?