South Pasadena is taking steps to remove a truck route that Alhambra officials charge will dump additional traffic onto its streets, in the latest development of the 710-gap battle. The South Pasadena City Council was planning on holding a public hearing on Wednesday night on “an ordinance to remove the truck route designation from Fremont Avenue between Huntington Drive and Alhambra Road.” The item was taken off the agenda after Alhambra submitted an objection. The South Pasadena city attorney recommended that the ordinance needed additional review.
South Pasadena officials contend closing Fremont will help traffic flow on its streets by creating a dead end for commercial trucks in an area that is mostly residential. The area of Fremont, which Alhambra government correspondence refers to as part of the 710N Designated Interim Truck Route, is the only north-south street that runs the entire length of South Pasadena. It carries a daily average of 26,500 vehicles of which 3,500 are buses or trucks, according to the South Pasadena analysis. Alhambra submitted a written objection, stating that closing Fremont is essentially an attempt to “divert traffic through the City of Alhambra,” that the public was not given proper notice, and that it is incorrect to say this decision can be made without input from neighboring cities. “It is ludicrous for South Pasadena to claim this is a local street and changing its designation only requires notice and action under laws pertaining to simple Municipal Code changes,” Alhambra Special Counsel Leland Dolley wrote. “Such action instantly creates hazardous conditions in Alhambra and significant peril to public health, public welfare, and public safety.”Alhambra filed the objection on November 14, charging that South Pasadena “has failed to do its due diligence and perform required noticing and consultation with various state, regional, county, and local agencies.” Dolley wrote that Fremont cannot be simply removed from the truck routing system, “without the consultation and agreement with all affected parties, starting with CalTrans and including the City of Alhambra.” Furthermore, he states that the proposed project violates the Constitution of the State of California and challenges the sovereignty of Alhambra as a Charter City with jurisdiction over all streets falling within city limits, including Alhambra Road. “South Pasadena does not have jurisdiction over any potential alternate routing within neighboring cities along this truck route,” the written objection states.
But South Pasadena contends that the move will benefit the city’s residents, they have followed all legal procedures, and that it has right to make the decision unilaterally. The South Pasadena analysis notes that Fremont Avenue in Alhambra is designated a truck route and the city has refused to remove its designation, despite a 2006 recommendation from a city traffic study. At the time, Alhambra’s City Manager Julio Fuentes responded that rather than banning truck traffic, “We feel the long term solution of completing the 710 will address your concerns.” Currently, the city of South Pasadena has five identifiable truck routes. Even if Fremont is closed, exceptions will be made for delivery trucks servicing the street as well as buses.
The Alhambra objection also expresses concern about environmental and safety impacts, charging that the proposed action will have noise and air quality impacts not just in South Pasadena, but also Alhambra, Pasadena, Los Angeles, and along the SR 710N Interim Corridor. Interrupting the flow of truck traffic along this corridor will lead to increased traffic congestion for all vehicles that use the 710N Interim. In addition, many vehicles will experience queuing exiting the 10 Freeway heading along Fremont Ave in Alhambra, due to an increase in truck turning on the SR 710 or at the city border. “Any left turn increases off of Fremont Avenue in Alhambra create safety issues,” Dolley writes. “Any travel delays along the truck route create safety issues.”Instead of focusing on the elimination of a truck route designation, the City of Alhambra has urged South Pasadena to focus their attention on the 710N gap closure efforts. South Pasadena has blocked the completion of the freeway for decades. “We look forward to South Pasadena joining in the 710N Gap Closure efforts and working with all concerned for the day all cities along the 710N Interim Corridor can return their streets to a more local designation,” Dolley concludes.