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NEWS FROM the CVCA » Sharon Weisman

Posted by on Dec 4th, 2014 and filed under Viewpoints. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Two major transportation issues have the potential to cause negative changes for the Crescenta Valley. As anyone who has lived in the area for any length of time knows, there is tremendous pressure to extend the 710 Freeway from its current end in Alhambra to connect to the Foothill (210) Freeway. International corporate interests and others who would profit from a huge construction project have used the legitimate need to reduce traffic congestion to convince Caltrans and Metro that a tunnel is the best answer.

Sharon Weisman

Sharon Weisman
Atheist/agnostic/secular
humanist/free thinker
sharon@jetcafe.org

There are many flaws with this reasoning. The tunnel would need to be nearly five miles long, the longest in the U.S. The only other tunnel of similar large diameter, the Alaskan Way Tunnel in Seattle, has run into problems and cost overruns and is currently halted. Any link-up with the 210 would result in increased traffic, particularly trucks carrying freight, and generate much more noise, particulate matter air pollution, and danger of accidents in our valley. And it is unlikely to solve the problem. Studies of recently completed freeway widening projects indicate little relief of traffic congestion.  Demand simply increases to fill any added capacity.

Caltrans and Metro continue to spend scarce transportation funding on the potential tunnel while ignoring the benefits of faster, less expensive and more readily implemented solutions such as increased light rail and bus service and changes in the configuration of the end of the 710 and surrounding surface streets. Our tax money could be better spent and generate faster results.

The Stopthe710 Yahoo group, No710.com, or the No 710 Extension group Facebook page all have details, links to documents and further background on how bad this tunnel idea really is.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report on the project is scheduled to be released in February 2015 and an alliance of five cities opposed to the push for a tunnel have joined together to share responsibility for responding to it. There is typically a short time period for comments and it is wise to divide the various areas of consideration, such as geotechnical and hydrogeological elements, transportation, air and noise pollution, among experts. This avoids duplication of effort and maximizes the public input.  Glendale agreed to join South Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge, Sierra Madre and Pasadena in a coordinated response.

Support for this effort was on the Nov. 4 Glendale City Council agenda and the discussion among the council members was quite disappointing. There was a motion to direct staff to work with consultants to prepare for the DEIR response. Despite pledging support for the Stopthe710 effort during their respective campaigns, Mayor Sinanyan abstained and Councilmember Devine joined Councilmember Weaver in voting no. With only Councilmembers Najarian and Friedman voting yes the motion failed. A subsequent motion to merely note and file the report passed 4-1 with only Councilmember Najarian voting no.

Councilmembers Devine and Weaver must stand for re-election in April 2015. I urge every voter in Glendale who cares about using tax money effectively to attend the candidate forums and ask pointed questions about this project. It is very important to elect those who not only speak of their support but will also act in their constituents’ best interest.

The other threat to this area is the high-speed rail project. The California High Speed Rail Authority has been working for years to develop the Palmdale to Burbank section along the existing route of the Antelope (14) Freeway. In August, our county supervisor, Mike Antonovich, proposed an alternative through the Angeles National Forest. Either route would start at the Palmdale Transportation Center and end at the Burbank Airport station. Each would require roughly 20 miles of tunnels. While the forest route might reduce impacts on some communities along its route it would severely impact Lake View Terrace and Shadow Hills. There are a series of public meetings to inform the public of the recent consideration of alternatives. See www.hsr.ca.gov/ for more information on this project.

Mass public transportation has the potential to provide environmentally sound options to travel the length of our beautiful state but we must be watchful to make sure the impacts on local communities are not too high.

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1 Response for “NEWS FROM the CVCA » Sharon Weisman”

  1. Tom Williams says:

    SR-710 I-210 corridor is going to get hammered in order to make money on the I-5. I-210 will get about 40,000 truck trips per day – every day plus commuters on weekdays. Antonovich’s Hi Desert Logisitcs Corridor only works if it is supplied with trucks from the port – much like Colton in San Gabriel Valley via SR-60…. 18-wheelers can be directed to use I-710SR-710I-210SR-14 as a truck route…then I-5 from I-605 to SR-134 can be “upgraded” for an HOV/HOT=ExpressLane Toll-Lane to complete the already Toll Lanes to be from Orange to Kern County – Caltrans and MTA need the money from the toll lanes and the only way to get the I-5 Toll Lanes completed is to get the trucks off, then narrow lanes enough to get 1+ lanes each way (I-210 East style. It is coming…

    So I-210 with a tunnel alternative for SR-710 = truck route 1000 trucks/hr x 20 hr/d x 2 directions = $$$$ from truck tolls and $$$ from I-5 Expresslanes

    2. CaHSR meetings for PalmdaleBurbank are on this and next week-
    I will be at Burbank and others – try 31 miles of tunnels (for rail they are doing NOW 34 miles under the Alps…Dual or larger single tunnels from Palmdale under Acton under Big Tujunga under OroVista/Foothill and coming out near Cabrini/SanFernando Rd with 4-5 access/vent shafts and underground stations at Palmdale and Burbank…not through but under the Monument.

    OBTW I help build Red Line Phase 1 tunnels in downtown LA and overseas….they can be made safe, vented, but not cheap – what has been proposed by CHSRA is terribly expensive but get Antonovich off the hook when he is told the “tunnel alternative” is x10 the surface alternative and CHSRA will do all sorts of good things for LACoBoSDistr.5 – Legacy Project, like the HiDesertCorridor Truck Park.

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