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

Monday, June 22, 2015

Joe Cano Video: ELA 710 DEIR Meeting 6/20/2015

Protest a New Freeway Tunnel? How About Remove a Freeway That’s There Now?


June 29, 2015


 On Thursday June 18, the office of Councilman Jose Huizar put on a forum to inform El Sereno residents of a proposal regarding the 710 freeway issue.

Most of you are aware of South Pasadena’s 50 year old fight to stop the 710 freeway through their fair city. Many of you know that Northeast L.A. was also involved lately in fighting possible alternatives that would connect the 710 through Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington, Highland Park and Glassell Park.

However, don’t be ashamed if you hadn’t hear about a movement underway not only to stop the completion of the 710 (Long Beach) freeway, but to remove the two ends of the freeway that had already been built some 50 years ago.

Appropriately named, “Beyond the 710 Coalition,” it is an effort started through a consortium of five San Gabriel Valley cities, Pasadena, La Cañada, Glendale, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena.
You can probably include at least a 1/15 portion of the City of L.A. in that column as well, as the ideas displayed in yesterday’s El Sereno work shop (which was organized by the office of Jose Huizar) fit right in with Huizar’s recent embrace of the complete streets movement (bike lanes, pedestrian friendly, etc.).

Paul Moore, of Nelson-Nygaard, made his presentation regarding CalTrans’ recent draft environmental impact report, conceived after literally years of outreach and planning, as they were looking for “710 Alternatives.” (I must add that the presentation was completely one sided, there was no one there in any official capacity to counter the claims of Nelson-Nygaard, or their claimed facts or figures.)

The five alternatives studied and brought before the affected communities were pared down to just two, which are addressed in the report. The first is a 710 tunnel, connecting both stubs of the 710 freeway, Pasadena at the North end and El Sereno at the South. It would tunnel underneath El Sereno and South Pasadena to connect the two “stubs” of the 710 freeway.

The other is to tunnel under with a light rail subway, connecting to the Goldline, probably near the Huntington Hospital, and continuing South all the way to the other end of the Gold Line in East L.A.
None of these options seem satisfactory to the coalition, or “No on 710″ advocates, and today, Mr. Moore pulled apart CalTrans’ plans brick by brick.

First, he identified that the extra trips and traffic that would be generated by the tunnel would increase greenhouse gas emissions. Then, he argued that the connecting of that freeway would probably relieve congestion on some streets but make it worse on others. Finally, he argued that “If you build it, they will come!” Saying that building more road capacity only serves to attract more traffic, and after a short period of time, the road will be congested just the same.

He drove his points home by claiming that 6 billion, if spent this way, would not improve traffic, and indeed, would only serve to worsen traffic as well as the quality of life. He said that spending 6 billion in a way that gives people an incentive for getting out of their cars, like buying metro passes for all students, would actually improve traffic in a measurable way (As well as training a new generation to get around town with the use of the automobile).

At this point, I think I should mention that his company, Nelson Nygaard, was founded by two former transportation managers from the city of San Francisco, which, incidentally, is where Seleta Reynolds, the recently appointed head of the Los Angeles City department of transportation, is from. (Not a Portlandia reunion, but close enough!)

His next part of the meeting was showing a vision for Mission Road that includes a road diet and bike lanes, and making Huntington into a “Grand Boulevard.”

However, what came next was a real shock. We’ve heard about the “no build” alternative that Caltrans had to consider along with the other ideas of a tunnel, subway and bus route. But this went one step further in the opposite direction. Brand new was the idea of “un-freewaying” those end stubs at either end of the 710 gap (El Sereno and Pasadena).

Artist rendering of proposed park for North end of El Sereno 710 stub.
Artist rendering of proposed park for North end of El Sereno 710 stub.

He showed artist renderings of narrowing the road and eliminating those multi-lane end stubs altogether. Proposed was taking back all that real estate and turning it into a narrow, meandering, street. Included were bike paths, green space, more campus for Cal State, and possibility of bringing back El Sereno’s Arroyo Rosa, a river that was taken when that part of the freeway was built decades ago.

Artist rendering of South end of El Sereno 710 stub.
Artist rendering of South end of El Sereno 710 stub.

As this issue has been brewing as far back as when the freeway construction began, it will be years before any visible changes will start to take effect, but NOW is the time for people to be heard, no matter which way you feel!
More at http://www.beyondthe710.org/

A Quick Guide to the State of Transpo Policy on Capitol Hill


By Tanya Snyder, June 19, 2015


Coming back to Streetsblog after a few months away, I needed to get up to speed on the latest with transportation-related legislation, and I thought some of you might too. Here’s what you need to know:


House Republicans passed a pretty terrible Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bill last week, decimating the TIGER grant program, cutting $200 million from New Starts for transit, and reducing Amtrak’s budget by $240 million. Some amendments proposing even more extreme spending cuts were stripped out, thankfully.

The president has threatened to veto the bill. In days gone by, the Senate could be counted on to check the excesses of the House, but with the upper chamber now under GOP control, it’s unclear what kind of bill they’ll produce. The Senate hasn’t produced one yet. It seems possible that some of the House bill’s most painful cuts — particularly to TIGER — might be reversed, but many of them will remain. Look for a Senate proposal in the next couple of weeks.

Transportation Bill Extension

Last year, before the MAP-21 transportation law expired (and only days before the money was about to run dry), Congress extended it until May 31. Miraculously, in May, they found two months of funding still available (for the not-so-miraculous reason that Americans drove more than projected and gas tax receipts were unexpectedly high). So, when May 31 came, it was pretty easy for Congress to extend the bill by two months without finding any new money.

But the days of easy extensions are over. All the pensions have been smoothed, the LUST funds raided — there’s no more loose change under the cushions to fund transportation.

Democrats’ Challenge and a New Bill

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats challenged Republicans to come up with a long-term bill in the next 45 days, instead of just another extension. That same day, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced that it would mark up a six-year transportation bill on June 24.

Under the chairmanship of Barbara Boxer, EPW was able to pass bills out of committee with bipartisan support. Observers will be watching to see if current chair Jim Inhofe is as open to compromise to bring his Democratic colleagues along, or if the bill he’ll introduce will be a conservative wish list. Inhofe is in favor of raising revenues for highways — and only for highways. Jettisoning bike/ped funding is high on Inhofe’s wish list for a new bill.

But back to the Dems’ 45-day challenge. It’s a little unclear what their game plan is here. Would Democrats agree to another short extension to give them time to hammer out the EPW bill if they’re making progress? Would the Democrats really vote against a short-term extension, if killing it would shut down the transportation program? Do they have any viable ideas to fund a long-term bill?

Speaking of funding, on Wednesday the House Ways and Means Committee held its first hearing on transportation funding since before MAP-21 passed in 2012. It seemed like a sign they were going to take the issue seriously — until Chair Paul Ryan opened the meeting by insisting that under no circumstances were they going to raise the gas tax.

This Week in Livable Streets


By Joe Linton, June 22, 2015

Summer’s here – so lots of rides and festivals: the River Ride, Mask Festival, Kidical Mass, and more. On the governmental side of things, there’s Metro’s Board meeting and a special L.A. City Council hearing on sidewalk repair.
  • Tuesday 6/23 – Communities for a Better Environment and Climate Resolve Extreme present, “Heat and Vulnerability in Los Angeles: A Discussion,” from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon at the California Endowment in downtown Los Angeles. Free, but register here.
  • Tuesday 6/23 – At special joint meeting of the Public Works and Budget committees [agenda PDF], the Los Angeles City Council begins public deliberations on who will pay to repair and maintain sidewalks. Streetsblog previewed the latest sidewalk repair plan here. The first of what was announced as a series of hearings around the city will take place Tuesday at the Harbor City Branch Library at 24000 S. Western Avenue.
  • Tuesday 6/23 – Zócalo presents a free panel discussion asking, “Can Transit Make Housing More Affordable?” (or is that just Anglo triumphalism, too?) The speakers include Joan Ling, Mike Bonin, and more. It takes place at MOCA this Tuesday night at 7 p.m. More details and make a reservation at Zócalo.
  • Thursday 6/25 – Metro’s monthly Board of Directors meeting is expected to consider eliminating transfers on fares paid by cash, extending the Sheriff’s policing contract, approving the agency’s first ever bike-share contract, and more. Board meets at 9 a.m. at Metro headquarters, right behind Union Station. Full Metro meeting agendas and reports should be posted here shortly.
  • Thursday 6/25 – Bike with C.I.C.L.E. to go see the outdoor screening of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure at the Sunset Triangle Park. Details here.
  • Thursday 6/25 – The last in a series of meetings around L.A. on street vending will be held at the WLCAC, 10950 S. Central Avenue, at 6 p.m. The meetings are an effort by the L.A. Street Vendor Campaign — a coalition of organizations, business owners, and individuals advocating on behalf of the city’s 50,000+ vendors — to gather feedback from the community that can be used to help L.A. take the necessary steps to establish the first citywide vending ordinance. For more information, visit the campaign’s website.
  • Friday 6/26 – Dinner fundraiser by L.A. Rooted to raise money to take youth on the Gratitude Bike Tour. Details here.
  • Saturday 6/27 – Leimert Park Village hosts its 20|20 Vision Initiative Charrette from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Details here and more information in a SBLA article coming this week.
  • Saturday 6/27 – Santa Monica hosts a 4th of July themed Kidical Mass ride – from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Reed Park. Details here.
  • Sunday 6/28 – LACBC hosts its 15th Annual River Ride – various starting points, times, and distances to suit every kind of bicyclist! Details here.
  • Sunday 6/28 – The Ride On! Bike Co-Op and Black Kids on Bikes present Free Bike Tune-up Sessions from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Leimert Park. Details here.
  • Sunday 6/28 – Leimert Park Village hosts its 5th Annual Mask Festival honoring the ancestors from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Details here.