LocationAlhambra , CA United States
Two I-710 bills preventing either a surface road or tunnel from being built to close the gap between the I-710 freeway in Alhambra to the I-210 freeway in Pasadena, were signed into law recently by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Newsom signed SB 7, introduced by state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada) and AB 29, introduced by Assemblyman Chris Holden (D-Pasadena). Both bills identify the surface route and tunnel as non-viable alternatives to completing the I-710 freeway, and stipulate that the same stub areas will be excluded from the California state highway and expressway system by Jan. 1, 2024.
“This is a historic moment for the San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles ending this 70 year old battle,” Holden said in a press release. “Now is the time for the region to lead the way in implementing transportation solutions that move us past a car centric approach to reduce pollution and improve health and safety.”
Portantino made a similar comment about the importance of his bill. “Generations who have been fighting this freeway can now rest in peace knowing that they made this day happen and that the 710 freeway will never be completed,” he said in a press release.
SB 7 goes further than AB 29 in giving tenants of nonresidential properties in the I-710 extension corridor in Pasadena priority to purchase the property at fair market value. Caltrans would also be prohibited from raising the rent of tenants living in properties in that area. There’s also a provision for the state transportation committee to release portions of the northern stub to the city of Pasadena under an agreement between the two parties.
An agreement over what to do with the southern I-710 stub, which is located between the I-10 freeway and Valley Blvd. in Alhambra, has not yet been reached between San Gabriel Valley cities, Cal State LA and other parties affected by southern stub traffic. During the summer, state Sen. Susan Rubio held a meeting for the cities in her district affected by the I-710 as the starting point of a process to reach consensus on what happens to the southern stub.
Completion of the I-710 freeway was a subject of controversy for well over 60 years. In 2017, Los Angeles Metro withdrew Measure R funding that had been set aside for completion of the freeway, effectively killing the tunnel option. A year later, Caltrans certified the TSM/TDM alternative, allowing cities affected by I-710 traffic to institute local traffic controls including signal synchronization and other mobility improvement projects.
On Sept. 18, Metro approved a second round of funding for TSM/TDM projects. San Gabriel Valley cities affected by I-710 traffic applied for the Measure R funding that would have gone to building a tunnel. About $280 million was distributed during this second round. Last year, more than $500 million was distributed in the first round of funding. During this round the city of Alhambra got $160 million to redesign the I-710 and I-10 interchange and the on and off-ramps connecting the I-10 from Fremont Avenue, Atlantic Boulevard and Garfield Avenue.
During the second round of funding, Alhambra received money to add lanes and make other improvements on Fremont Avenue between Valley Boulevard and Mission Road. They also received money to redesign the I-10 on and off-ramps at New Avenue and to widen the bridge over the Mission Road railroad trench at Atlantic Boulevard and Garfield Avenue. The city received $77.4 million in total during this second round.
The Alhambra City Council held a special meeting with Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger at the Alhambra Civic Center Library last Wednesday, and discussed issues facing the city, including the I-710. Mayor Adele Andrade-Stadler said that the city is still waiting on the results of the traffic modeling that Alhambra is conducting with the help of a Iteris Inc., a transportation engineering firm, and will share the results at a stakeholder meeting in the future. The Alhambra city manager’s office could not be reached for comment.
Barger’s office is supportive of the San Gabriel Valley cities working together to alleviate traffic caused by the southern I-710 stub. “It’s great to see cities coming together on this, where there once was great division over the 710 gap, and we commend Alhambra for bringing forth quality projects that will bring relief to their city streets,” said Tony Bell, Barger’s assistant chief deputy communications director, in an email statement to the Alhambra Source.