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

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

710 tunnel, as predicted, is freeway favorite of Caltrans and Metro


By The Los Angeles News Group Editorial Board, LA Daily News, March 17, 2015


 Cars enter the 710 Freeway from Valley Boulevard in Alhambra

If you’ve ever seen the Master Plan of Freeways for Los Angeles County from 1957, you know how many routes were once planned and yet were never built.

The Whitnall Freeway, the Alessandro Freeway, not to mention that famous Beverly Hills Freeway — all were planned, all were never built.

Some longtime proponents of the completion, if you are in one camp, or the extension, if you are in the other, of the Long Beach (710) Freeway from its northerly terminus near Cal State Los Angeles some six miles north to intersect with the Foothill (210) Freeway have maintained that the new roadway would at last complete the originally intended car and truck transit network of Southern California. The missing link, some have termed it.

That’s not the case, as something on the order of half of the plans from almost six decades ago never came to be.

But Metro and Caltrans have continued to press forward with plans for the 710, decade in and decade out, and Caltrans owns a huge corridor of land from southern Alhambra into western Pasadena that was to be the home to a surface version of the freeway. The original battle between Alhambra, whose City Hall very much wanted the freeway to go through, and tiny South Pasadena, whose City Hall very much didn’t, has provided one of the great story lines of Southern California planning and infrastructure in our time.

With this month’s release of an environmental impact report on the 710 that comes in at over 2,000 pages, not counting tens of thousands of pages of appendices, a former reporter for our papers dropped a note: “I left L.A. for Albuquerque 25 years ago and you guys are still writing about the same story!”

Actually, Metro and Caltrans stopped pretending that the surface route for the freeway could ever be built in the current political and planning environment, after they put a terrible scare into residents of one old Pasadena and Highland Park neighborhood by announcing that, since “all routes must be considered” in the EIR process, a freeway up Avenue 64 must be considered. It was considered in the sense that a line was drawn on a map, but no one was ever going to build it.

The two agencies then switched to pretending they had no favorites among the five possibilities for the corridor in the new EIR: doing nothing, or “no build”; light rail; traffic management on current surface streets; a dedicated bus line, or a mammoth tunnel bored under the corridor.

Freeway critics, who have grown from the tiny group of South Pasadenans — some of whom have now spent their entire adult lives in the crusade — to most politicians and civic leaders in Pasadena, Sierra Madre, La Canada Flintridge, Glendale and Burbank, cynically predicted that the fix was in for the tunnel.

And now that the draft EIR is out, it’s clear that the cynics were right. The document likes the tunnel best, saying it “would have the largest increase in freeway and arterial performance” but admitting it carries the highest price tag at an estimated $5.65 billion.

Unanswered is who or what would build the tunnel — local agencies or a toll-road company? Also unaddressed: Would trucks from the port of Long Beach be allowed to use it? The public has until July 6 to help answer those questions through a link at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/draft_eir-eis/comments.php.

Arts District Subway Extension Still Alive

Arts District infill stations proposed for Metro's Red and Purple Lines.


By Steven Sharp, March 17, 2015

According to an agenda item from the March 18th meeting of Metro's Planning and Programming Committee, the transportation agency is continuing to explore the possibility of extending Red and Purple Line service east from Union Station to the booming Downtown Los Angeles Arts District.
The proposed infill stations, first reported by the Downtown News, would be built near First and Sixth Streets using existing tracks within Metro's Division 20 maintenance yard.  Both sites would offer close proximity to a variety of Arts District destinations, including the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the new Sixth Street Viaduct.

Construction of the proposed stations could be facilitated by a series of upgrades which are planned for the maintenance yard.  To ensure high frequency service on the Purple Line's Westwood extension, Metro intends to build a new turn-back facility within the Division 20 yard.  The turn-back facility, consisting of three tracks and two platforms, could be converted to an at-grade revenue station at relatively low cost.  One Santa Fe, an adjacent residential-retail complex, is built to allow for a pedestrian bridge which could connect to the proposed station.

Service could then extend to Sixth Street via an existing rail spur within the maintenance yard.  The memo also hints at the possibility of future extensions south beyond the Arts District.

An exact timeline and funding source for the proposed infill stations have not been identified at this point in time.  Metro is scheduled to complete a coordination study later this Spring which will provide further recommendations for the project.