Los Angeles joins list of cities opposed to 710 extension

Los Angeles City Council entered the 710 debate Tuesday night, voting unanimously to oppose a 4.5-mile tunnel connecting the 710 and 210 freeways, Glendale News-Press reports. The tunnel is one of five alternatives the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering after narrowing the list down from 12 in a meeting last week.

Los Angeles joins South Pasadena, Glendale, Pasadena, and La Cañada Flintridge in opposing the route due to air pollution and traffic. “We as a city and any other public agency should not take for granted the communities that would be impacted the most,” L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar, whose district includes Highland Park, told Glendale News-Press. 

Officials from the 710 Freeway Coalition say councils should wait for the environmental impact report, due in 2014, before any further voting, “This was a decision at the L.A. City Council among the heat of a lot of the nutty alternatives … and not as much focus on the underlying reason for the freeway,” Nat Read of the 710 Freeway Coalition told Glendale-News Press. “I think by the time we come to the next decision-making junction, this motion will be behind [us] and there will be a focus on what the environmental study finds.”

Alhambra officials support a tunnel between the two freeways and believe it is a solution to congestion and safety issues.

20 thoughts on “Los Angeles joins list of cities opposed to 710 extension”

  1. Since the comments section of this article has come alive again, I’d like to point out that Metro released its alternative analysis report for the 710 Gap project today. The report revises the list of project alternatives that Metro narrowed in August. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much change and, most importantly, Metro chose not to drop any of the alternatives.

    Metro also updated its project web site with fact sheets for each of the project alternatives (with maps): 1) light rail (lrt); 2) bus rapid transit (brt); 3) freeway tunnel; and traffic management/do nothing (the same thing for all practical purposes).

    The light rail route would connect the Gold Line in East L.A. with the Gold Line’s Fillmore station in Pasadena. It would have 7 stations, including two serving Alhambra (Cal State LA and Fremont/Commonwealth). Most of the route would be elevated or in subway tunnels. A map is included in the fact sheet.

    The bus rapid transit (brt) alternative will provide high frequency bus service through a combination of dedicated existing bus lanes, and mixed flow traffic lanes to between East Los Angeles and
    Pasadena/La Cañada Flintridge. It will use Atlantic Blvd through all of Alhambra.

    The freeway extension, as proposed, would have 2 two-level tunnels with 4 lanes in each direction. As proposed, trucks would be able to use the tunnels as long as they don’t carry hazardous materials. All drivers would be required to pay tolls. As noted by the folks from El Sereno, high tolls may not resolve local traffic in Alhambra and may in fact make it worse. Caltrans and Metro estimated that $3 tolls will cause 20% of drivers to avoid the tunnel (called the diversion rate), while $5 tolls will cause a %30 diversion rate. See Route 710 Tunnel Technical Feasibilty Assessment Report, Table 10-3, Page 10-128.

    1. Dan, one reason this thread has become active again and why Los Angeles residents are attending Alhambra City Council sessions are two-fold.

      1. The mayor of Alhambra is actively blocking our areas representation on the Metro Board.
      2. We attend the meetings so that the Alhambra City Council will be accountable to the facts and log in the publc record the impact their decisions have on the health and well being of others outside city boundaries.

      It seems you are a believer in proper debate and attribution, so if you are an Alhambra resident, please appeal to your mayor, Barbara Messina to join in a proper debate. Her name calling of certain Metro Board members in the press without supportive facts is not improving the dialog as her own political contribution record is not blemish free.

  2. On Nov. 19, Alhambra City Council held a meeting about the 710 at which Doug Failing from Metro presented data showing that only 20 – 25% of the vehicles exiting the 710 stub are what he called “through trips” — vehicles trying to get to the 210 to go out of the area. Since this tunnel would have no exits between its portals, that means that fully 75 – 80% of the traffic exiting the 710 at its terminus would still exit just before the tunnel and continue to drive on the surface streets.

    No one at the meeting asked Failing about this. They all seem to think that the tunnel would solve all the surface street congestion. Failing’s own data don’t support that conclusion. In addition, Metro hired a company called Infraconsult to do a financial analysis. Their report predicts a 35% diversion rate — people who don’t want to pay the toll and will exit the 710 at the portal to avoid paying the toll. This would only exacerbate the surface street congestion.

    Wake up, Alhambra!

    1. @Grace: Sadly, most of Alhambra does not read the Source. Those who do are quite awake. And you’ll find your arguments go further when you’re less condescending and when El Sereno (Los Angeles) residents don’t take over meetings in the City of Alhambra.

      The issue regarding the diversion rate isn’t new. I’ve brought it up in comments before.

      In their 2006 technical feasibility report, Caltrans and Metro estimated that $3 tolls will cause 20% of drivers to avoid the tunnel (called the diversion rate), while $5 tolls will cause a %30 diversion rate. See Route 710 Tunnel Technical Feasibilty Assessment Report, Table 10-3, Page 10-128.

      1. Dan, First, let me say that it was not my intent to sound condescending. Rather, my reaction was one more of surprise that no one questioned Failing about the percentages he quoted at the meeting itself. Also, when Hasan Ikhrata claimed the tunnels could be finished in 2-3 years, no one questioned the feasibility of that. It’s taking 3 years for a 1.7 mile single bore tunnel in Seattle, so 2, 4.5 mile bore tunnels are quite unlikely to be done in 2-3 years.

        I am aware of the Caltrans and Metro estimates for the relationship between tolls and diversion rates. The rate I quoted was from a consultant hired by Metro to do the financials for the PPP, and is more recent than the 2006 values. Like much associated with this project, the estimates vary a bit depending on the study/source/year.

        I realize that a couple of LA people made comments, but in no way did they take over the meeting.

    2. @Grace,

      You nailed it. Your description corroborates with my (unscientific) observations on my commute home: Most vehicles that exit on Valley from the 710 are residents. Most, by the time you get to Commonwealth, have dissipated. Traffic gets backed up around Alhambra Rd, but that’s only because Fremont becomes a 2-way street at that point from 4 lanes.

      I’m sad that the 710 extension keeps getting portrayed as something that will alleviate local traffic: It does not. Especially with the tunnel option (with no other exits except for south and north portals), residents will keep flowing out on Valley and without a comprehensive transit, development, and road plans, the people who live along the thoroughfares and residential streets will continue to suffer.

      1. Robert,

        I would think that most vehicles that exit on Valley from the 710 would be residents because many commercial truck operators already know the logistical issues involved at this terminus. Thus, many trucks coming from the ports who do utilize the 710 fwy will have exited by then (such as the 10 fwy, for example) before reaching this freeway end. They plan accordingly to what viable routes (fuel costs and time) exists now.

  3. Here is a link from the No 710 Freeway Extension group that is on FB.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/No710freewayextension/

    We also have the Twitter feed @ Metro710pr

  4. ears back the ACC turned down projects that would have substantially reduced traffic on Fremont. One way to greatly reduce the cut-through traffic exiting the 710 is to end the 710 at the 10, just like the 605 ends at the 210. Drivers would simply have to go left or right onto the 10. Eliminating the stub would solve that problem and free up space for a great park. http://asset-ng.org/

  5. First of all No on Measure J. Please see our FB page….No on Measure J as well as No 710 Freeway Extension. We have documents from Metro and news articles regarding the SR-710 Extension. Our forum of members are well informed and include individuals that have engineering degrees. Some have worked for Parsons and have built tunnels all over the world. We have neurological specialists and health technicians from the communities on the health effects of the project to the people’s living around this nightmare. If you want to join our discussion, please do so. We welcome the community of Alhambra to join our pages and share their concerns with us even if they differ. We would appreciate a dialogue with your community.

  6. Tina Gulotta-Miller

    First of all No on Measure J. Please see our FB page….No on Measure J as well as No 710 Freeway Extension. We have documents from Metro and news articles regarding the SR-710 Extension. Our forum of members are well informed and include individuals that have engineering degrees. Some have worked for Parsons and have built tunnels all over the world. We have neurological specialists and health technicians from the communities on the health effects of the project to the people’s living around this nightmare. If you want to join our discussion, please do so. We welcome the community of Alhambra to join our pages and share their concerns with us even if they differ. We would appreciate a dialogue with your community.

    1. A link would help. I assume this is your Facebook link: No on 710 in El Sereno. If not, please provide it.

  7. Stop spreading misinformation about the project. Whether you are in favor or against a particular project you hurt your cause if you spread misinformation because you will not be trusted. And if you have particular details not widely available you will need to provide your source. A link or even bare URL is preferable, seeing that we are online.

    The environmental review process will answer a lot of the questions we all have such as the route, pollution, other impact on communities, and costs. It also provides us an opportunity to provide input and criticize the process, data, and analysis.

    From what I’ve seen we do not have these details yet:
    1) Whether trucks will be allowed in the tunnel. Frankly speaking, the cost to build will go much higher — and likely cost prohibitive — if trucks are allowed according to one of Parsons Brinkerhof’s tunnel engineers who spoke at a transportation forum about 18 months ago.
    2) Costs. The costs to build will come together with the environmental review process. Toll costs probably cannot be calculated until after Caltrans/Metro know the costs of the project and how much financing is needed.
    3) Size of the tunnel. Where is that available? My understanding is that the tunnel will be huge because it is part of an interstate. Will it be 30 feet wide like a rail tunnel currently under construction in Switzerland? How many tunnels will it be? I haven’t seen those details yet but I think it is reasonable to assume one tunnel bore for each direction of traffic.

    Personally, I think a tunnel is a waste of resources and will not benefit Alhambra. Closing the freeway gap on its own will not solve traffic congestion in Alhambra or other impacted cities and high tolls will lead people to bypass a tunnel by pouring out into city streets. Also, I agree with other commenters that cargo trucks should not use a tunnel if that is chosen.

    Also, please keep in mind that you lose people when you start using acronyms without defining them. For example, I assume LACC means L.A. City Council. You could just as easily spell it out the first time and then put the abbreviation in parentheses to serve as a key.

    1. @ Dan,
      Congratulations. You are another person Metro’s “outreach”, didn’t reach.

  8. Years back the ACC turned down projects that would have substantially reduced traffic on Fremont. One way to greatly reduce the cut-through traffic exiting the 710 is to end the 710 at the 10, just like the 605 ends at the 210. Drivers would simply have to go left or right onto the 10. Eliminating the stub would solve that problem and free up space for a great park.
    Local traffic in our city has increased over the years since developers started buying up single family homes and building apartments and condos. Commercial construction is booming too. Now the city is going to allow the construction of 400,000 square feet of new commercial buildings along Fremont. Would you use a 4 1/2 mile long toll tunnel that you would have to enter a mile south of the 10 and exit at the 210 in Pasadena? There will be no entrances or exits except for the portals. We taxpayers don’t need to pay billions for a tunnel to handle the freight traffic from the ports of LA and long Beach. All of those containers can be put directly onto trains, and all of those thousands of trucks will no longer clog the 710.

  9. Taxpayer not Toll payer

    Attention all pro tunnel Alhambrans: Nat Read will happily help Metro wastefully spend all of the remaining Measure R funds in the kitty. They just spent over 4 million doing “outreach”, that didn’t reach anybody. Did they reach you? Did they reach the Asian community, or the Spanish speakers? Now, quit drinking Leland Dolley’s kool aid. He is a paid lobbyest, hired to sell you on this thing. It will not change traffic in your neighborhood, since most commuters will refuse to pay the $5+ TOLL.(trucks, $15+) Are you ready for 7-10 years of massive construction upheavals in your area?( did Leland tell you that it will be the largest diameter tunnel in the world) Did you think you would blink and the tunnel would magically appear? Statistics show property values drop, as people start moving away during construction of freeways and tunnels. The area becomes blighted, since only investors(landlords) buy properties in this kind of area. An entire neighborhood of rental properties will start to develop rising crime stats. I won’t even begin to get into the health risks.
    Time to use your head, and start thinking about what you are wishing for.
    Lee Dolley has thrown you under the bus for lots of $$$$$$ VOTE NO ON MEASURE J (THE NEWLY DISGUISED MEASURE R)

  10. LACC Vote was in the morning not evening like in ACC.

    JH initiated this vote on A week ago, then held the Transportation Committee meeting on Monday morning followed by the vote on Tuesday.

    REASONS:
    Poor public outreach to those in LACity

    and WITHOUT ANY PUBLIC participation
    Caltrans compiled the alternatives from “Scoping”
    Caltrans selected alternatives to transfer to MTA
    MTA selected the estimated 200 alternatives down to 60, and then down to 42 before giving then over to the Consultants and first light of public awareness

    Then without any public participation they selected down to 12 and finally just before JH resolution was floated they selected down to five – including the F-7 and excluding the F-6/Surface Route with the hope that this would avoid the flck of trying to keep the surface route…

    Then they put the all of the real heavy construction works next to the Alhambra City line/Westmont Dr. and Front Str Alhambrans ratherr than putting it down from Ramona to Hellman overpass and keeping it away from most people…MTA also put the LRT Yard/Maintenance Works between Valley and UPRR again NEXT to the WESTMONT and FRONT neighborhood…although they could have put it south of Hellman…

    As before it is a mess….OBTW ACC wants to put another 400,000sqft retail space on FREMONT…these are the people you left in charge since no one wanted to fight for Alhambra’s 99%

  11. “We as a city and any other public agency should not take for granted the communities that would be impacted the most,” –L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar

    Would be nice if you took Alhambra into account.

    1. ALHAMBRA WANTS THE TUNNEL. According to your elected officials, and that paid lobbyist representing Alhambra, Mr. Leland Dolley.
      The Mayor of San Marino wants YOU to have the tunnel too. He stood up at the last Tech. Advisory meeting at Metro, and said so. Then he proceeded to sit there reading a newspaper until he dozed off for a few minutes. Then he left before the meeting was over. I’m not really sure he cared about the info being presented, but if you do : Check out the
      No 710 Freeway expansion on Facebook. Oh , and VOTE NO ON MEASURE J!!
      In the meantime, I really wouldn’t wish it on San Marino either. Hopefully they will see the light, because what has been covered up by Metro, that has now been uncovered, is that the most direct route from the 710, to the 210, is a much shorter direct route RIGHT THROUGH SAN MARINO.
      The bottom line is this: No community deserves to have this thing ruin their neighborhood, ruin their air quality, and tank their property values, so the shipping industry can be competitive at the ports level. Tunnels are 20 century technology. Cargo on Heavy rail, from the ports, to emerging transportation hubs, which are outside of LA county. I

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