A meeting of Pasadena’s San Rafael Neighborhood Association last night drew more than four hundred people opposed to extending SR-710, including leaders from other Pasadena organizations, and from communities from Garvanza to Altadena to Glendale and La Crescenta. The SRNA and most of Pasadena has been angered by the Metro/Caltrans project ‘alternative’ which would turn Avenue 64 into a multi-lane arterial, and by the transportation agencies’ continued push to dig a giant, unwanted tunnel that would cost an as-yet unknown but certainly greatly underestimated billions of dollars to “relieve congestion and improve mobility.”
Notes from the meeting:
No 710 Action Committee chair Claire Bogaard explained the history of the 710 freeway. She made clear that Metro and Caltrans are ignoring both a current injunction against the freeway, and the feedback from citizens that “the age of building freeways is over – we need light rail, more transit options, and cargo transported by rail.”
Bogaard also said that Metro is using tens of millions from Measure R (which LA County voters intended for transit projects!) to study how and where to build the 710 freeway extension.
On LA County ballots this November will be Measure J, a 30-year continuation of Measure R, and that measure includes money for highway building (and 710 studies) as well. Voters take note!
No 710 Action Committee member and SR-710 Technical Advisory Committee member Bill Sherman said digging a tunnel would mean moving up to 10 million cubic yards of material, with about 500,000 truck trips to remove debris, about 250,000 truck trips to bring back fill in material, and of course trucks and equipment to generate and deposit 1 million cubic yards of cement – all adding to highway congestion and pollution during what could be a 24/7, 5-year construction period.
Sherman emphasized that the agencies have demonstrated no purpose and need for this project beyond the general goal of addressing congestion and mobility issues, and that they are not developing other options such as rail for cargo and completing a transit network. Sherman told the crowd that the TAC has not yet talked about noise, the water table, earthquake concerns, destruction of communities, pollution, or COST.
John Schaffer of the SRNA emphasized that the freeway extension must be opposed entirely, as there are much better alternatives. Schaffer spoke about the process of mobilizing and educating officials.
Don Jones, who originally called attention to Caltrans’ mismanagement of the 500 homes it has owned for decades, asked “How can we trust Caltrans after learning about this self-dealing and nepotism?” He urged the crowd to order a copy of the California State Auditor’s report and share it (copies available by calling 916-445-0255). Jones is calling for the California Attorney General to investigate.