Purpose

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, August 24, 2015

Public Comment period extended on Sale of SR-710 Surplus Properties

From Sylvia Plummer, August 24, 2015

Caltrans has extended two deadlines for public comment.  Both relate to the sale of the surplus properties.

1.   Rules and Regulations  For those of you interested in commenting on the proposed Affordable Sales Regulations – the written comment period, which was to have ended on 14 August 2015, has now been extended to  24 August 2015.  (For questions regarding the Notice or Public Hearings for the Affordable Sales Regulations, you may contact  Kimberly Erickson, Division of Right of Way and Land Surveys at (916) 654-4790.

 2.   DEIR Surplus Property Sales  For those interested in commenting on the DEIR Surplus Property Sales – the written comment period has now been extended to  September 8th. For more                               information, go to:   http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710sales/.

San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments Deletes SR-710 Tunnel from Priority Funding List

http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/san-gabriel-valley-council-of-governments-deletes-sr-710-tunnel-from-priority-funding-list/#.VdusrZfj4UN

August 24, 2015



The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments on Thursday approved a transportation priority list that did not include the SR-710 tunnel. Instead, the SGVCOG adopted a report that noted that possible funding for a tunnel could come from a future and undefined public private partnership.
“The SGVCOG’s action confirms what we’ve always known,” said Terry Tornek, mayor of the City of Pasadena and the city’s representative to the SGVCOG.  “The tunnel project is deeply flawed, politically unpopular, and presents so many environmental, health, legal, engineering, and economic concerns that it cannot be funded, let alone actually built,”
The SGVCOG’s action is part of a process set up by the Metro board to gather a set of priority projects from each Council of Governments in the county that might receive funding from a new measure to raise the sales tax.  That measure is expected to be on the ballot in November 2016.
Exclusion from the SGVCOG priority list makes it highly unlikely that the tunnel will be on the final county-wide project list, many observers say.
“The many supporters of the Beyond the 710 proposal, including the City of South Pasadena, continue to encourage Caltrans, Metro and the members of the SGVCOG to look beyond the terrible idea of the tunnel and study a modern mobility approach to congestion in the western San Gabriel Valley such as that represented by the Beyond the 710 proposal,” said Diana Mahmud, South Pasadena mayor pro tem and the city’s representative to the SGVCOG.
The Beyond the 710 Proposal shows that congestion can be relieved and economic development promoted by removing the freeway stubs at both the I-10 and I-210 freeways.  The Proposal, announced on May 28, 2015, has started a robust community discussion about how to bring about a mobility solution that benefits everyone and destroys no one’s community.  The Proposal can be found at http://bit.ly/1hk0o9u.
Beyond the 710, along with numerous cities, government agencies, elected officials, community organizations, and prominent individuals, recently submitted formal comment letters highly critical of the SR-710 environmental review process and encouraging a new approach along the lines of the Beyond the 710 proposal.  Many of those comment letters are available at the Beyond the 710 website.
Beyond the 710 is a project of the Connected Cities and Communities, comprised of the cities of Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, Cities of Glendale, La Canada Flintridge, Pasadena, Sierra Madre, and South Pasadena, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

SR710 Geotechnical Report submitted to CalTrans

From Sylvia Plummer, August 24, 2015

 SR-710 geotechnical report final.pdf

Here's a list of reasons (from the attached SR-710 Geotechnical Report)  why the Tunnel should not be build.  The 27 page report is ATTACHED.and was part of a larger report that was  submitted as a comment to the SR-710 Draft EIR.
"The SR-710 Tunnel will be one of the largest and longest highway tunnels in the world. Challenging geotechnical conditions have been identifiied along the potential tunnel routes, including variable geotechnical conditions ranging from unconsolidated alluvium to strong granitic rocks, high groundwater pressures, active earthquake faults, significant seismic hazards, formations with a high potential for methane and hydrogen sulfide gas, and contaminated soils and groundwater associated with Superfund sites."
"The geological conditions along the proposed tunnel are probably the most difficult ever encountered in a major tunnel project."

"During the course of studying these issues it became apparent to us that the tunnel project as proposed was most likely not feasible and that attempting to build it would end either in abandonment or radical modification of the project to a degree that would render our findings on local and detailed impacts meaningless."

 "Close reading of the EIR support documents shows that consultants and project sponsors are themselves uncertain with respect to the feasibility of the project as proposed. Instead the study suggests that necessary data will have to be obtained before even the preliminary design of the project. As far as we are able to see, an explicit declaration of technical feasibility of the project is never made in the EIR or supporting documents."

 "Possible fate of SR-710 project. From studies such as those discussed above we can suggest that reasonable scenarios of a serious failure of the SR-710 tunnel alternative project could include abandonment of the TBM construction technique, rerouting of the alignment, worker casualties, potential for sudden collapse features reaching the ground surface, major delays and cost
overruns, TBM breakdown with the attendant need for rescue excavation from the surface (as in Seattle), and even possibly abandonment of the project.  These suggestions are not exaggerations."

 "In our view it would hardly be surprising if the costs and construction time of the SR-710 tunnel were twice the predicted amount..."

 "The environmental impact of the tunnel project is currently unknowable because the project as proposed features unacceptable risks including construction safety problems and a high likelihood of needing a major redesign or realignment during construction with unknown risks of massive cost overruns and delays of possibly years. In the end, the tunnel may even prove to be technically infeasible."

Measure R-2

Joe Cano on Facebook, August 24, 2015

Here is a recent developement on the SR710 Tunnel. Mayor Garcetti & Metro are getting the message Measure 2 will not pass if the tunnel is included in the new tax initative. My fellow activists and I have appeared before the Metro Baord of Directors and warned them of the threat to Measure R 2 if the tunnel is included.

San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments Deletes SR-710 Tunnel from Priority Funding List after COG admits inclusion of tunnel project would probably doom sales tax measure.

August 24, 2015 – The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments on Thursday approved a transportation priority list that did not include the SR-710 tunnel, in effect admitting that the proposed project suffers from so much opposition that inclusion in a proposed county-wide sales tax measure would probably doom it to defeat. Instead, the SGVCOG adopted a report that noted that possible funding for a tunnel could come from a future and undefined public private partnership.
“The SGVCOG’s action confirms what we’ve always known,” said Terry Tornek, mayor of the City of Pasadena and the city’s representative to the SGVCOG. “The tunnel project is deeply flawed, politically unpopular, and presents so many environmental, health, legal, engineering, and economic concerns that it cannot be funded, let alone actually built,”

The SGVCOG’s action is part of a process set up by the Metro board to gather a set of priority projects from each Council of Governments in the county that might receive funding from a new measure to raise the sales tax. That measure is expected to be on the ballot in November 2016. Exclusion from the SGVCOG priority list makes it highly unlikely that the tunnel will be on the final county-wide project list.

 Joe Cano video:

The Trucks Are Killing Us

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/22/opinion/the-trucks-are-killing-us.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

By Howard Abramson, August 21, 2015


 



ACCIDENTS like the one that critically injured the comedian Tracy Morgan, killed his friend and fellow comedian James McNair, known as Jimmy Mack, and hurt eight others on the New Jersey Turnpike last year are going to continue to happen unless Congress stops coddling the trucking industry.

More people will be killed in traffic accidents involving large trucks this year than have died in all of the domestic commercial airline crashes over the past 45 years, if past trends hold true. And still Congress continues to do the trucking industry’s bidding by frustrating the very regulators the government has empowered to oversee motor carriers.

In recent months, Congress has pursued a number of steps to roll back safety improvements ordered by federal regulators. It has pushed to allow truck drivers to work 82 hours a week, up from the current 70 hours over eight days, by eliminating the requirement that drivers take a two-day rest break each week; discouraged the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from investing in wireless technology designed to improve the monitoring of drivers and their vehicles; and signaled its willingness to allow longer and heavier trucks despite widespread public opposition. Congress also wants to lower the minimum age for drivers of large trucks that are allowed to travel from state to state to 18, from 21.

All of these concessions to the trucking industry have gained traction in Congress even though the industry has consistently resisted safety improvements. The death toll in truck-involved crashes rose 17 percent from 2009 to 2013. Fatalities in truck-involved crashes have risen four years in a row, reaching 3,964 in 2013, the latest data available. Those crashes are killing not only car drivers but also, during 2013 alone, 586 people who were truck drivers or passengers.

And while a more than 3 percent drop in car deaths over the same period was largely accomplished by technological improvements like airbags, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes, the trucking industry has resisted most of those safety devices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the annual cost to the economy of truck and bus crashes to be $99 billion.
A number of changes that will inevitably make us all less safe are tucked into the pending highway bill, currently stalled because of differences between the House and Senate versions. In fact, Congress has failed to adopt a comprehensive highway funding bill for years, relying instead on dozens of temporary extensions since 2009 to keep any semblance of a federal road construction program moving. In July, the House and Senate passed another temporary patch, good through the end of October.

The crash involving Tracy Morgan shows why Congress needs to toughen its oversight of trucking, not loosen it. The driver who caused the crash was in a modern 18-wheeler that was well maintained and managed, owned and operated by Walmart. As detailed in the causation report on the crash released earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the driver had been on duty for about 13 and a half hours; federal rules allow a 14-hour workday. About a mile before the crash, the driver ignored work-zone warning signs on the New Jersey Turnpike of likely delays ahead. About a half-mile later, the posted speed limit dropped to 45 m.p.h. from the usual 65, which the driver also ignored.
Mr. Morgan’s Mercedes van was moving at less than 10 m.p.h. because of the construction. The truck driver, fatigued and slow to react, according to the N.T.S.B., was unable to stop in time, and slammed into the van, turning it on its side and jamming the passenger door closed. According to the board, if the driver had slowed to 45 when warned to do so, he should have been able to stop before crashing. But before his official work day began, the driver, the board found, had spent 12 hours driving his own vehicle from his home in Georgia to pick up his truck at a Walmart facility in Delaware, and had been awake for 28 consecutive hours at the time of the crash.

Large trucks are disproportionately involved in fatal accidents. While heavy trucks accounted for less than 10 percent of total miles traveled in the United States during 2013, according to federal data, the N.T.S.B. recently reported that they were involved in one in eight of all fatal accidents and about one-quarter of all fatal accidents in work zones, like the crash that injured Mr. Morgan.

Many accidents involve trucks rear-ending vehicles that have stopped or slowed because of accidents or roadwork. Technology to prevent or lessen the impact of such crashes is available from all of the manufacturers of heavy trucks in North America. Yet only about 3 percent of the Class 8 trucks — the heaviest ones, including most tractor-trailers — are equipped with any version of this collision-avoidance technology, according to safety advocates.

Most automakers now include or offer anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, airbags and collision-avoidance devices in their vehicles, and the technology is included in many of the heavy trucks sold in Europe. But the United States trucking industry has largely avoided using the safety technologies available for vehicles sold here, because of their cost.

The truck that injured Mr. Morgan was one of the few tractor-trailers that had a collision-detection system. But the N.T.S.B. was unable to prove that the system issued a warning to the driver. The board said it could not fully assess the performance of the device because the unit does not store enough system performance data. (The board has suggested all safety-system makers should ensure that their products store more data in the future.)

The trucking industry, through its chief trade group, the American Trucking Associations, insists that it needs longer work weeks and bigger vehicles so that more trucks will not be needed on the road, which it says could result in more accidents. That logic is laughable, but Congress seems to be buying it.

The industry also bases its opposition to safety-rule changes on money, saying that increasing costs will hurt profits and raise rates for shippers and, ultimately, consumers.

Higher safety standards and shorter work weeks may increase freight costs, but some of those standards should save carriers money in the long run through lower insurance rates and damage claims. And since trucking generates more than $700 billion a year in revenue, according to the trucking association, a small increase in safety costs would not put a large financial strain on carriers.

The trucking industry is vital to the nation’s economic well-being — it carried almost 69 percent of all domestic freight last year — and its executives have done an excellent job in keeping costs down. But Congress must make it clear to all parties that safety has to be a higher priority than penny-pinching.

Congress must pass a comprehensive highway funding bill and ensure that safety regulators have sufficient resources and political support to do what must be done in order to reduce the continuing carnage on our highways.

SR-719 Geotechnical Report Final

 Download at