A day after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill requiring state transportation authorities to seek South Pasadena’s approval in the long-planned extension of the 710 freeway, the city’s mayor urged Northeast L.A. neighborhoods to assert their own right to similar negotiations over one of the nation’s most contested freeway projects.
In a brief but pointed presentation before the on Tuesday night, South Pasadena Mayor Mike Ten said it’s vital for the City of Los Angeles to rescind a freeway agreement that it signed in 1964, effectively agreeing to allow either a surface or tunnel extension of the 710 through its territory.
“If Eagle Rock is very concerned about where the  tunnel might go, you need to get completely all your rights back,” Ten told the ERNC at its monthly board meeting held at the .
Ten said that with the signing of AB 751 into law, South Pasadena successfully lobbied to repeal a 1982 legislation that deprived the city—as well as Pasadena and Alhambra—from exercising any control over the roughly 6-mile extension of the 710 freeway from the San Bernadino (10) freeway to the Foothill Freeway (210).
In response to Ten's appeal last June, the ERNC narrowly failed to muster a vote to support the legislation now passed by Gov. Brown after Assemblymember Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) introduced it in April. At the time, the ERNC told South Pasadena’s mayor that while it opposes the 710 extension, including in the form of a tunnel that would run some four miles from Mount Washington to Glassell Park, it needs to deliberate further whether or not to offer formal support for any 710-related legislation.
In response to a question from ERNC President Michael Larsen on Tuesday night about the extent to which South Pasadena is now immune from the 710’s extension, Mayor Ten said his city is only “free to negotiate with CALTRANS—we’re not safe from anything.”
A clause in CALTRANS’ agreement with the four cities that would be affected by the 710 extension—including Alhambra and Pasadena—says “there’s no guarantee they [CALTRANS] are going to build a freeway or a tunnel where they thought it was going to be,” Ten said. “CALTRANS and the state of California are pretty good at writing things they can move around how they want.”
CALTRANS and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are undertaking a three-year environmental impact study about the freeway’s extension. “The environmental process is going to start probably next year, so you need to get involved,” Ten told the ERNC board, adding: “And I think to fully participate in the environmental process, you want to have all these restrictions from 1964 taken away.”
Ten said he is going to make a similar appeal to the neighborhood councils of El Sereno on Wednesday and Highland Park on Thursday.