Residents now have until Aug 5 to provide input on how the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Caltrans should handle the 710 Freeway. Metro previously set July 6 as a deadline for the public comment period, but have now extended it to August. They are calling for people to weigh in on the five ways they've proposed to deal with the 710 Freeway that directs traffic onto Valley Boulevard. For decades Alhambra residents have complained about the congestion stemming from the freeway, with special attention given to the gridlock on Fremont Avenue. Metro's five proposals are:
· A "No Build" option that would leave conditions as they are
· A traffic management system to upgrade and synchronize signals and improvements to local street intersections to more quickly move traffic that exits the dead end freeway
· A rapid bus line featuring high frequency service with minimal stops and potentially a dedicated bus lane
· Light rail to carry passengers between East Los Angeles and Pasadena
· A freeway tunnel that would extend the SR-710
Below, we've compiled materials to keep you updated on recent developments. Read up on the arguments for and against a tunnel, and find out how you can contribute to the public comment period.
Metro says tunnel would alleviate the most traffic
The tunnel option has been the most discussed topic with many people either advocating for it or fighting against it. According to Metro’s Environmental Impact Report released earlier this year, the tunnel would alleviate the most traffic, cost the most amount of money, and take the most time to build. However they also released a cost-benefit analysis stating the tunnel also brings the most traffic management per dollar.
· 710 Freeway gap economic study says tunnel would produce greatest benefits by the Pasadena Star-News
· MTA's report on 710 Freeway gap project accused of tunnel vision by the La Canada Valley Sun
Alhambra is at the center of pro-tunnel push
The City of Alhambra is the driving force behind the pro-tunnel voice and leads the 710 Coalition. The coalition is made up of Alhambra, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, and San Marino, which all support ‘Closing the gap’ with an underground tunnel. They maintain that, aside from improving traffic, the tunnel will also bring local jobs. During a June 22 City Council meeting, the city said it will draft a letter to Metro that would formally reiterate Alhambra's support for the tunnel option.
· San Gabriel Valley COG recommends tunnel option for 710 by the San Gabriel Valley Tribune
· 710 Day in Alhambra stops traffic, draws crowd by the Pasadena Star-News
· 'Relieve Congestion': Alhambra unveils 'close the gap' banners in support of 710 tunnel by the Alhambra Source
Pasadena and other cities opting for options besides a tunnel
Beyond the 710, an anti-tunnel group urges Metro to consider a combination of public transportation and traffic management systems to relieve congestion. Pasadena, South Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge, and Sierra Madre, along with other local groups are pushing this agenda. They claim that the current options do not adequately address the 710 and call for more research to be done.
· Opponents of 710 Freeway extension offer alternatives to tunneling by the Los Angeles Times
Alhambra Vice Mayor Barbara Messina and La Canada Flintridge Mayor Pro Tem Donald Voss debated the matter on KPCC:
Public hearings have been lively and contentious
Metro and other groups have hosted several public hearings as part of their efforts to get community input on the transportation issue.
· Emotion erupts at second 710 Freeway public hearing by the Pasadena Star-News
The public has until Aug 5 to voice their opinion. Metro set up an online comment form for residents to use. You can also mail your comments to:
Metro will announce their preferred option next year.