Many Crescenta Valley residents know that there has been an effort to extend the 710 freeway northward to the 210 freeway for 60 years. There has also been a battle to defeat this effort and to reclaim the 500 homes that are still owned by Caltrans. The City of South Pasadena has led this fight through protests and litigation.
Residents may not be aware that project is closer than ever before to being completed. A series of recent events have pushed the tunnel extension project forward at an alarming rate and we may see movement to the environmental stage as early as this summer. The geotechnical study conducted by Caltrans reported that it is feasible to construct a tunnel in any of the five zones. It didn’t mention that it would be the largest tunnel ever attempted in the world. The San Gabriel Council of Governments recently voted to support the extension, although most of the cities are not directly in the tunnel path. The MTA voted to invest millions of dollars to investigate Public Private Partnerships for the SR-710, which would mean high tolls when complete. The MTA board also voted to include it in the Mayor’s 30/10 plan, one of 12 projects to be fast-tracked.
I am perplexed by all this forward momentum when not one study has been conducted to determine if this is the best, low-cost transportation option for our communities. If the purpose of the tunnel is to move truck containers, a 21st [century] solution would be rail. If the purpose is to move traffic, let’s fix our roads through multi-mode methods and create local jobs.
This Thursday, May 27 at 9:30 a.m, the MTA will vote on the 710 Extension Project Next Steps. The vote could narrow down the zones for consideration to only Zone 3 through El Sereno, South Pasadena and Pasadena and move it to the EIR/EIS stage. Let’s tell the MTA that we do not want this monster project and that it is just a bad idea for everyone in the northeast.