Michael Dieden writes in the LA Times that the ongoing 710 Freeway gap "represents one of the great examples of local citizens organized to preserve their historic neighborhoods against the devastation of another freeway destroying communities in California" and advocates for increased regional public transportation.
If it were not for ordinary citizens, led by South Pasadena residents, the historic neighborhoods in Pasadena, South Pasadena and Alhambra would be wiped out today. Instead, these cities are now served by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Gold Line light rail. Their neighborhoods are not only intact, but have matured into some of the most desirable in Southern California.
A Los Angeles resident and president of Creative Housing Associates, Dieden responded to an opinion piece last week "Finish the 710 Freeway." Transportation expert James E. Moore II argued that the completion of the 710, which has been under discussion for 50 years, is a “regional need" and its lack has caused a daily "Carmageddon" for local residents. A 4.5 mile gap remains from the freeway stops in Alhambra and where it begins again at the intersection of the 134 and 210 freeways. Moore advocates for a tunnel to bridge the gap. Dieden says that would be dangerous and disruptive, and instead advocates for continued public transportation development.
For example, why not build a trolley on Huntington Drive through Alhambra, South Pasadena and East L.A. on the same route as the old Red Car, which would absorb much of the 710 traffic and make each transit stop an economic catalyst for job growth and new transit neighborhoods? In lieu of wasting money on the 710, the region's public policy goal for the San Gabriel Valley should instead call for linking the great educational institutions of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena City College, the Claremont colleges and Cal State Pomona with transit, thereby allowing "creative nodes" to be built at each station, creating hundreds of entrepreneurial small businesses and well paying jobs.