LocationAlhambra , CA United States
The California Department of Transportation has officially taken the 710 freeway tunnel off the table, throwing their support behind local traffic improvements instead.
Caltrans published a final environmental impact report endorsing traffic improvements on Monday, Nov. 26. Known formally as the TSM/TDM alternative, these improvements would include upgrading a variety of freeway on and off-ramps in Alhambra, as well as traffic synchronization systems on major city roads.
“The TSM/TDM alternative would provide direct benefits for traffic circulation on local arterials and some benefit to the regional freeway and transit networks,” the EIR said. The report described this alternative as not requiring a lot of investment or resulting in major environmental impacts.
For the last 40 years, the 710 freeway has abruptly ended in Alhambra, bringing out-of-town traffic to city streets and severely impacting quality-of-life. City leaders, including outgoing City Council member Barbara Messina, campaigned for the tunnel alternative until the summer of 2017, when the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority pulled funding from the project, all but guaranteeing that it would not go forward.
Alhambra mayor Jeff Maloney said the priority was to find a way to reduce cut-through traffic from the 710 into Alhambra. “We need to do a lot of research and studying of the issue, but we need to remove the incentive for people to drive a mile into Alhambra and clog up the traffic in front of our houses and schools and businesses,” he said.
While Alhambra has funding for their freeway infrastructure and traffic synchronization, Maloney said that the city has also requested funding for alternative means of transportation that could be approved in the future. This includes a shuttle bus to the gold line.
Maloney also mentioned the possibility of converting the 710 stub in Alhambra into a public park, describing it as an opportunity to add much-needed green space. “Parks are a passion of mine and one of my top priorities,” he said. “If we can [solve the traffic problem] and get a park at the end, what a great outcome.”
He cautioned, however, that such an alternative would take years of discussion and would not occur without the buy-in of Alhambra residents, or solutions for rerouting traffic without adversely affecting the 10 Freeway.
“This is going to be a big process and community involvement is going to be incredibly important,” he said.
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