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South Pasadena Mayor Urges NELA to Oppose 710 Extension

Mike Ten asks the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council to work with the City of Los Angeles to regain its right of control over the 710 extension after 47 years.

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 [710] 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.

Elijah H October 05, 2011 at 04:16 PM
I oppose the 710 freeway's extension through the City of Los Angeles, because the only way that would happen is if the City of South Pasadena succeeds in its campaign to get the CALTRANS monkey off their back by building through our community. I support the completion of the 710 through South Pasadena, through the two existing stubs. The majority of Northeast and East LA would benefit from the completion of the 710 through South Pasadena, in the form of reduced freight traffic through the East LA interchange, and a reduction in smog generated by idling trucks stuck in the interchange and flowing through the 5 North in their forced detour away from the 710 North. South Pasadena needs to bear its fair share of the burden, and refrain from not-so-subtle threats to, once again, as it did with the Gold line, throw its political weight around to secure an ideal outcome for their community at the expense of reduced options for its neighbors. At the very least, we shouldn't allow ourselves to be pawns in their game. But I only speak for myself, and don't presume to speak for anyone else...
Ajay Singh (Editor) October 05, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Thanks for your analytical comment, Elijah. Clearly, this is highly complicated issue that, one way or the other, requires cooperation and sacrifice from everyone affected by the 710 extension. There's an interesting thread of comments you might want to peruse on South Pasadena Patch about South Pasadena's own politics surrounding its 60-year opposition to the 710 extension. Here's the link: http://southpasadena.patch.com/blog_posts/patch-blog-710-freeway-its-time-has-past
Craig Ochoa October 05, 2011 at 07:43 PM
I am in agreement with Elijah H for several reasons. After commuting throughout LA county over the last 30 years I've often marveled at the disastrous result of both the east LA interchange bottleneck and the additional route mileage required to circumvent a situation that is a direct result of decades of NIMBYism. It would be enlightening to calculate how much pollution would not have been pumped through our lungs, how much gasoline, time, infrastructure, and other resources saved had the completion project not been delayed to coddle a small priviledged enclave at everyone else's expense. The people of Los Angeles County require a regional solution. EVERY community in our city is valuable, and I respect those of us who reside in South Pasadena enough to believe that they may come to realize this fact. We have a huge opportunity to refashion how such projects are designed, incorporating bikeways, tech infrastructure, mass transit, green space, and many other concepts that will make us a model for the nation, changing the perception of physical and political gridlock. Eagle Rock and the Northeast have certainly borne our share of freeway expansion with the 2 and 134 freeways (I doubt anyone in South Pasadena boycotts the use of these on principle), and we are still dealing with the impacts. It's time to go about this more intelligently. I suggest we suspend any rhetoric until the facts are outlined in the environmental impact report. Jobs anyone?
Ernest Arnold October 05, 2011 at 09:23 PM
Ellijah/Craig, I how you feel, but let me give you a little background and perspective. The City of South Pasadena is not part of larger city. As an independent incorporated city we must provide our own police and fire protection, water, sewer and public works. Because we have these obligations we the right to protect their viability. The state needs and agreement to put a freeway through any city. In 1964 the State of California and the City of Los Angeles ignored our city's rights and tried to force the 710 freeway through the very center of our small 3.4 sq. mi. city, without an agreement. This route would have taken 10% of our tax base and destroyed our very city. The city tried to negotiate a route on the west side of the city. While the westerly route would take additional properties in El Serreno, it would not effect the ability of the City of Los Angeles to deliver public safety and public works to the community of El Serreno. So while you might not like the impasse, understand that the only reason the 710 Freeway is not built is because the City of Los Angeles refused to compromise in the late 1960's. Now with environmental issues it has become impossible. The 710 Freeway is not a route critical freeway. If this freeway was so important, a route that did not cut through the heart of our city could have been found. This has been all politics, and try to destroy my city and our legal rights over politics, andl we have a problem.
CanyonMan October 05, 2011 at 10:51 PM
Craig is South Pasadena Mayor Mike Ten feeding you your talking points? You said: “I suggest we suspend any rhetoric until the facts are outlined in the environmental impact report.” Isn’t it funny that South Pasadena Mayor Mike Ten just said that here http://www.burbankleader.com/news/tn-gnp-1006-freeway,0,6603040.story According to this article, he said “Officials and residents should be willing to look at the solutions that come out of the environmental review process,” We all know that means the tunnel. But, I don’t think any of us in Eagle Rock or Mount Washington need to worry that the tunnel will go through here. “Ten said the long standoff over the freeway extension serves no purpose.” Mayor Ten wants that freeway to go straight through his own city.
Peter Choi October 06, 2011 at 12:01 AM
OK Eagle Rock, let's get busy and Take Back The Boulevard ASAP! If we decrease Colorado Blvd's lanes and increase the sidewalk then it may discourage CalTrans from considering a tunnel to Glassell Park as the environmental impact of run-off traffic up Eagle Rock Blvd and onto a smaller, narrower Colorado Blvd. would be very negative.
Ron Rosen October 06, 2011 at 12:59 AM
I'm confused. We get a law passed that seems to give us veto power over the freeway, but somehow we're worse off than we were before? Is this the case?
Ajay Singh (Editor) October 06, 2011 at 02:01 AM
Walk Eagle Rock—As LAUSD Super John Deasy recently said about education reform: We govern by Proposition in California. Instead of spending all that money on lawyers, why not launch a sustained "blitz" of a grassroots environmental campaign to put a cap on ALL freeways in the state, thereby dealing the death knell to the 710 extension and the decidedly 20th-century "fourth ecology" thinking about freeways that the British architect and LA admirer Reyner Banham flaunted, going to the extent of calling the 10 and 405 freeway exchange by LAX as one of the modern wonders of mankind. (All ideas may arguably boil down to aesthetics but that doesn't always make for the common good.)
Craig Ochoa October 06, 2011 at 02:20 AM
Ernest, Thank you for the comment and perspective. There has been a lengthy debate and much frustration around where the route should/shouldn't go. I believe South Pasadena is a special place that, like our other County neighborhoods and municipalities, should be respected and conserved. I admire the community activism it takes to derail Caltrans' more abusive plans. I also believe that South Pas does not exist as an island and benefits greatly from it's position on the Pacific rim in LA county with full access to the surrounding ports, airports, manufacturing, entertainment, distribution, and financial sectors. We live in a very different world both demographically and economically than we did in the 1960's. I suggest the 10% of tax revenue you cite would be 10% of very little without the surrounding overburdened infrastructure systems around you doing the heavy lifting.
Craig Ochoa October 06, 2011 at 02:33 AM
The wholesale elimination of large scale transit infrastructure in the world's major cities could be an enormously beneficial global paradigm shift. I hope to live long enough to see it. Until then, I don't envision walkers carrying sea/land containers very far or commuting beyond their immediate locale. The negative impacts you describe versus a functional transit sytem represents a false choice. Smart engineering mitigates many things when allowed into the discussion.
Susan R October 06, 2011 at 06:12 AM
No to the 710 Freeway!! The mayor needs to also go to other neighborhood councils like Greater Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Lincoln Heights, ect. The 710 extension is a bad idea for lots of reasons. No to the 710 extension.
Joanne Nuckols October 06, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Elijah and Craig, our small City of South Pasadena has "shared the burden" of a freeway, 70 years to be exact, a lot longer than any other city west of the Mississippi...the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway). If you would look at a map, you see it goes through South Pasadena, east/west, to Pasadena but not into Pasadena. We could not survive another freeway, the 710 going north/south, cutting our city into quarters. The 710 extension was a bad idea when proposed 60 years ago and is still a bad idea, which is why two federal judges put injunctions on the project which have existed since 1973. And, it's not just South Pasadena that's "throwing it weight around" to stop the disastrous for all tunnel idea. The NO 710 Action Committee consists of activists from many communities...Glendale, Pasadena, La Canada Flintridge, Burbank, La Crescenta, many neighborhoods of Los Angeles, including Eagle Rock. There are much better, less expensive ways to improve the traffic than spending $11.8 BILLION (SCAG figure) on a toll tunnels.
Ernest Arnold October 06, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Ron, It is good that the Martinez Bill was repealed. The concern is what we gave up to get this AB751 approved. This city council has been soft, and often implies that the tunnel could be a solution to our "freeway problem". I am glad the state agrred to gave us back the rights which were stolen, but I can't get excited until I find out .what this council offered for them.
Clyde Williams October 06, 2011 at 07:11 PM
I Strongly DISAGREE with Elijah You are still thinking in surface freeways rather than tunnels I support the completion of the 710gap closure, through SoPas' MultiMode or ElSereno's TransMode alternative which benefits NELA and WSanGaValley commuters and bus rapid transit -coming soon after Wilshire. Apparently you did not attend any of the MTA/CT scoping sessions or read the CT Scoping Report Without trucks in the tunnel or freeway CT can't afford the project and Antonovich can support his HiDesert Logisitics Corridor - Palmdale The tunnel or freeway would divert all HvyDuty Trucks from I5/710<>134 and allow a toll lane thru downtown to complete the ExpressLane program = hammer us in E/NELA CT/MTA is counting toll revenues from I-5 to benefit the SR710 project ElSereno stopped the project once along with SoPas, we are investigating the FraudAbuseWaste in the CT housing in LA90032, and we have proposed using the Measure R for ParkNRides on Valley, Huntington, Figueroa, EagleRock/SanFern., street improvement, and the SCIG/BNSF truck<>rail project which will change the entire goods model for PoLA/LB SR710 wont help any of the NELA (other than taking local/thru trucks off I-5).and is unsupported by all other than big contractors and those depending on their political donations. If you really want to know BEFORE voicing come to ElSereno and I will buy the coffee...Tom
Elijah H October 07, 2011 at 09:26 PM
Craig, I'm very interested in the EIR too... Joann, you omitted a few notable neighborhoods: how does Boyle Heights feel about the 710? Alhambra? If they don't support the anti-710 movement, have you given any thought into why wouldn't support a campaign to maintain the status quo? Why would I want to support South Pasadena's cause and not the welfare of less privileged communities? In my view, the tunnel option removes the primary "blight" issue of having a freeway bi-sect the community. It further allows those run-down Caltrans properties to finally be resold. Now, in what appears to be pure obstinance to me, you're nit-picking over potential air quality concerns and imagined fire-safety concerns. Guess what... simple mathematics: if your air quality worsens, that means somewhere, you have neighbors whose air quality improves a bit. Factor in the scrubbers planned for the tunnel air vents, and wouldn't that be an overall improvement in air quality? Tunnels like this exist in much longer distances, in other communities, and function without a problem.
Elijah H October 07, 2011 at 09:50 PM
Tom, I'm glad you agree there is a benefit to a tunnel in the reduction of freight truck traffic. You're using jargon that's unfamiliar to me, so I can't say whether I've read this report or that, but I do read up on many topics obsessively, and I think a tunnel is an appropriate compromise. I certainly understand your concerns as an El Sereno resident whose community would be disproportionately affected by a tunnel. I'm certain that you are aware that the 710 is primarily designed to be, and utilized as a freight freeway. Those freight trucks don't just disappear once they reach Alhambra... Many don't get that far, and detour to find other routes North (expending unnecessary fumes and fossil fuels in stop-go-traffic along the way), and many end up on the streets of Alhambra (also expending unnecessary fumes and fossil fuels in stop-go-traffic along the way). Plans are currently under consideration to increase the number of freight lanes from 2 to 4: http://www.lbreport.com/news/jun11/710fwy14.htm Surrounding communities at the northern end will need relief from this traffic, and a tunnel to complete the 710 would be a critical source of that relief.
Kyle Jonathan Chang October 09, 2011 at 03:07 AM
What about all the traffic that many cities in the San Gabriel Valley suffer from everyday ? Cities such as Monterey Park, Alhambra,San Marino,San Gabriel, and Pasadena all suffer from the fact that the 710 Freeway Gap has not been closed all at the expense of South Pasadena.The 710 Freeway Extension will help take cars and trucks off surface streets such Valley Blvd,Fremont Ave,and Atlantic and relieve Traffic Congestion and improve air quality and the San Gabriel Valley Area.
Ernest Arnold October 09, 2011 at 05:34 AM
Kyle, Neither San Marino nor Alhambra would not accept a freeway up Atlantic Blvd. San Gabriel would not accept a freeway up New Ave. or San Gabriel Blvd. Montery Park could not accept a freeway up Garfield. Why should the City of South Pasadena accept a freeway through the heart of our city? Alhambra has more than doubled in size since 1960 and add big box retailers such as Home Depot to attract people to Alhambra. They do not want the 710 Freeway to relieve traffic but to assist people in coming to Alhambra to shop. Pasadena has added over 10,000 housing units in the last 10 years. How can you blame the failure to complete the 710 Freeway for traffic caused by cities development plans? Cal Trans estimates that the completion of the 710 Freeway will add over 300,000 trips per day through this corridor. The problem with you argument is that is is an old argument that just does not stand up to scrutiny.
Elijah H October 09, 2011 at 05:52 PM
Ernest, you and others have made it crystal clear that South Pasadena opposes any compromise that remotely impacts South Pasadena. However, you're asking uninvolved parties to support your position, using (in your case) unsubtle threats of retribution. In fairness, I can't support your position, not when the greater community will see a benefit.
George Lasla December 10, 2012 at 04:17 AM
So LA should not develop?, get real. Imagine what LA would be like without freeways, much poorer dysfunctional and no one could live farther than ten miles from work, Everything you see every day aside from dirt and oak trees was brought here by truck at some point, everything. Of course they are obnoxious, as are semi trucks but they are vital. Now they are proposing an underground tunnel that would effect South Pas almost zero and even that is being opposed. Shut up and let them finish the freeway, it connects to the Port of Los Angeles and will be economically perhaps the most vital transportation artery in Los Angeles.
nonoise December 10, 2012 at 03:28 PM
The tunnel would effect many communities not just south pasadena. The tunnel would be a disaster.

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