By Ted AYALA
Area residents are being encouraged to attend a further series of open house events held by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to get feedback regarding the 710 Freeway extension, known as SR-710.
The proposed extension would see the freeway stretch out from its current end in Alhambra and connect with the 134 Freeway in Pasadena. Residents in Glendale, South Pasadena, Pasadena, and northeast Los Angeles have bitterly opposed the project due to concerns about traffic, pollution, and the fate of residents living in the route of the proposed extension. Legal wrangles have held up the project for over half a century.
Metro’s most recent proposal has floated the option to build a pair of tunnels under the affected areas. The tunnels, approximately 4.5 miles, would be the longest of their kind in the United States. This option has met with disapproval as well with residents, businesses, and local politicians citing potential safety and quality of life issues.
“It’s a dangerous situation,” said Susan Bolan, head of the No 710 Action Committee at an open house held on April 5, 2011. “First of all, [the MTA and Caltrans] can’t rely on the old car culture. We need to look at alternatives such as light rail and get off of car transportation.”
Wayne Brown, representing Metro, appeared at the City Council on Tuesday to remind citizen about the open house.
“I would urge everyone to come to the open house,” he said.
Brown said that the open houses will be held to give residents an opportunity to explore the various alternatives to resolving the 710 corridor issue.
“Nothing is off the boards,” he added.
The process will continue through the summer, leading to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in the autumn. That, in turn, would trigger another year of discussion between metro and affected communities.
“This is the time for people to get their comments in,” Brown said.
Councilmember Ara Najarian during his tenure as mayor was a vocal opponent of SR-710.
“We don’t want to be stuck in gridlock. But I don’t think the 710 tunnel is a viable project that can settle our traffic problems,” said the former mayor at an open panel discussion on SR-710 at Pasadena’s Maranatha High School in 2010.
Najarian was also wary of Metro’s estimated costs for the project, citing its continuously ballooning numbers.
“We as a region owe it to ourselves to find out how much this project costs before we make a decision.”
Local residents are advised that the next SR-710 open house in the Crescenta Valley area will take place on Saturday, May 16 at La Cañada High School from 10 a.m. to noon. Further information can be found by calling (855) 477-7100 or by going online to www.metro.net/sr710study.