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Arroyo Community Gears Up For 710 Battle

The HHPNC on Thursday night unanimously votes in favor of writing letters to the city councils of South Pasadena and Pasadena, asking them to join them in opposing any routes that would run through Highland Park.

As the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) prepares to narrow down a list of potential projects that would extend State Route 710 through several Northeast L.A. communities, Arroyo residents made it clear during a Thursday evening meeting of the(HHPNC) that they were ready to fight the freeway.

The HHPNC on Thursday night unanimously voted in favor of writing letters to the city councils of South Pasadena and Pasadena, asking them to join them in opposing any routes that would run through Highland Park. In December of 2010, the HHPNC voted to voice their opposition to any.

"(Metro) thinks of Highland Park as a sleepy little political backwater with no power and no voice, but that is not true," said HHPNC member Janet Dodson. "They've been run out of every other area of Northeast LA and they're coming for us here because they think they can get away with it."

Dodson was referring to a dual effort waged by Metro and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for more than 60 years to extend the SR-710 beyond its northern terminus in Alhambra and connect it to the 210 freeway in Pasadena.

Freeway supporters say extending the 710 would alleviate traffic for commuters. Those opposed say the only beneficiaries would be billionaire business owners who need to move commercial traffic out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach more swiftly.

Metro and Caltrans are currently in the midst of their latest attempt to secure a valid Environmental Impact Report statement, which would allow them to build the project. In the past, the agencies' efforts to extend the SR-710 by surface route have been thwarted by the Federal Highway Administration, which has prompted Metro and Caltrans to consider several above and underground options in this latest round. 

Among the 12 alternatives--which include "no build" and light rail/bus rail projects--are two freeway extensions that would run directly through the heart of Garvanza.

(See the media box above for images of the routes)

Alternative F5 would connect to SR-134 at a new interchange created near the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Avenue 64. According to maps provided by Metro, the bulk of the route would run beneath the neighborhood of Garvanza.

A proposed above ground route, Alternative H2, would connect to SR-134 in the north by way of Avenue 64.

Another proposed tunnel route would connect to SR-2 between Verdugo Road and SR-134.

Garvanza resident and Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Councilmember Tina Gulotta-Miller said any route though Garvanza would "devastate the area."

Those gathered at the were almost unanimously opposed to any extension project, but there was one attendee who suggested the fight was a waste of time.

"It's never going to happen," said Amer Rayes, a field deputy for Assemblyman Gilbert Cedillo.

Cedillo is known among freeway fighters for sponsoring an Assembly bill that would have killed any surface route option, while also expressing support for a tunnel route.

"...[H]e is a supporter of a tunnel to alleviate the region’s traffic congestion," Cedillo Spokesperson Christy Wolfe told EGPNews.com in 2009. "The senator is pragmatic on the issue…he is keeping all options on the table until some of the options are ruled out."

On Thursday night, however, Rayes bristled when community members suggested that Cedillo — now a candidate for the Los Angeles City Council District seat that represents Highland Park--was a tunnel advocate.

"Do you really think its gonna happen? Do you really think the city of Los Angeles is gonna pay $8 billion to make this happen? Let's be realistic. Let's be logical, let's be logical. Let's use factual data," Rayes said. "The tunnel is an idea that he came up with while he was on vacation. There's a difference between an idea and pushing an issue."

Weston Dewalt, a Pasadena resident who strongly opposes the tunnel, said there is no shortage of funding sources for the SR-710 extension, including at least a portion of $780 million in Measure R funds approved by voters in 2008 to pay for various transportation projects.

Upcoming Meetings

Metro will host a Community Liaison Committee meeting on Monday, Aug. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at (4580 N. Figueroa St.) to discuss the proposed routes.

The Pasadena City Council will also discuss the 710 on Monday, Aug. 13 at 6:30 p.m. inside room 107 of the Pasadena Convention Center.

The public comment period for the proposed routes will end on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at which point Metro and Caltrans are expected to narrow the list of proposed routes from 12 to five.

"If we don't stand up for this now, our politicians aren't going to do anything for us," said Mark Khalef, an attorney who lives in Highland Park. "Our politicians, at the end of the day, they could be making money off this thing. They might be getting jobs after they retire. These are billion dollar companies. It has nothing to do with trying to better the commute for you and it has everything to do with pleasing billion dollar companies and getting jobs."

Collis Han August 03, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Who should we direct our letters to if we want to add our voice opposing the 710 extension? Huizar or Caltrans directly or some other advocacy group?
David Fonseca (Editor) August 03, 2012 at 11:16 PM
You can view the draft EIR/EIS and submit comments here: http://www.metro.net/projects/i-710-corridor-project/ You can also attend Monday's meeting and submit comments then.
Freddie Hannan August 03, 2012 at 11:58 PM
I have NEVER met one person in Alhambra who wants this freeway! Exactly WHO in Alhambra wants it? Expain please. And, the freeway is meant for diesel trucks coming from the ports. It's a TRUCK short-cut. Forget about car traffic!
info August 04, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Collis Han I looked for Metro Board emails on their site but most emails are not listed there http://www.metro.net/about/board/executives/ But I found them here http://centurycitysubway.org/get-involved/ Michael D. Antonovich fifthdistrict@lacbos.org and antonovich@bos.lacounty.org Diane DuBois diane.dubois@lakewoodcity.org and kheit@gatewaycog.org Richard Katz Katzr@scrra.net and harperj@metro.net Antonio R. Villaraigosa mayor@lacity.org Don Knabe don@lacbos.org Gloria Molina molina@bos.lacounty.gov John Fasana fasanaj@accessduarte.com Jose Huizar councilmember.huizar@lacity.org Ara Najarian anajarian@ci.glendale.ca.us Pam O'Connor pam.oconnor@smgov.net and council@smgov.net Mark Ridley-Thomas markridley-thomas@bos.lacounty.gov Zev Yaroslavsky zev@bos.lacounty.gov_Katz jacksonm@metro.net Mel Wilson alterawilson@gmail.com ATTN: Metro Board boardsecretary@metro.net Hope this helps
Ellen Biasin August 04, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Clarification: METRO currently has TWO 710 projects: the I-710 corridor expansion project which runs from Long Beach to East LA and the SR-710 Study which runs from Valley Blvd in Alhambra north to the 210, 134 or 2, freeway connection varies with the route. I'm not too conversant on the I-710 project other than it will involve expanding the Long Beach Freeway to 14 lanes, 10 for regular traffic plus 4 lanes dedicated to trucks. The truck expressway will run between the current freeway and the Los Angeles River. if they have a draft EIR ready they are farther along the process than the SR-710, which is still in the study phase. They are in the process of selecting which of the 12 alternatives will make it to the semi-finals of 5 or 6 alternatives. In my opinion, the two projects are really one because the main purpose for both of these projects is go get cargo from the port to other parts of the state and country. If you google SR-710 you can access the two scoping reports from METRO that may shed some light on what is currently being discussed in our area.
Anonymous August 04, 2012 at 05:27 AM
Freddie Hannan to answer your question A lobbyist paid by the Alhambra city council wants the 710 freeway. He makes good money pitching the thing, but apparently he doesn’t live in Alhambra so maybe he doesn’t count. http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/utter_folly/11385/
edem August 04, 2012 at 06:47 PM
I have fought the proposed freeway extension for years beginning in 1993. I continue to oppose it for all the reasons above.
Adrian Balboa August 04, 2012 at 11:29 PM
I wrote to Ktla to ask for some coverage on this issue. I live on 64 and I do not want to move. I don't need that freeway to come through our little Garvanza District. We have a lot of historic landmarks here and running a freeway through the middle of Garvanza is just wrong.
David Fonseca (Editor) August 05, 2012 at 01:02 AM
The lobbyist in question is Nat Reed and he lives in Glendale.
laurie August 05, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Growing up in So Pasadena in teh 1960's adn 1970s we saw the state purchase a number of homes on Grevalia right by the Pasadena Freeway. They were so sure that the sleepy little town of So Pas wouldn't fight the 710. Immediately the local So Pas Review and NE Journal took up the the cause to save So Pas. The logo was a map of So Pas with a heart over the town. 45+ years later the fight is still on. I hope and pray that HP and SP can hold the line and keep this idiocy from taking hold.
Bravo August 05, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Following the steps of Adrian B., I have also sent a request to CBS and KCAL to cover the meeting on Monday the 6th. We need the politicians and locals to know that our voices matter.
ChickenBoyFan August 05, 2012 at 02:23 AM
COME TO THE COMMUNITY MEETING AT RAMONA HALL THIS MONDAY AUGUST 6TH AT 6:30PM-7:30PM It is located on Figueroa, next to Sycamore Park Just look for the throngs of angry people, and join them.
Janis August 05, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Collis, Excellent info on who to email to get some visibility on this. This is goods movement, not traffic relief. The 710 tunnel extension would add greatly to traffic one the 2. I don't get why they don't focus on expanding rail.
Sam Burgess August 06, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Freddie Hannan, As to your question about who in Alhambra is in favor of the 710: The City of Alhambra has for the last 50 years officially been in favor of extending the 710. It is impossible to be elected to the City Council of Alhambra without first stating you are in favor of the extension. At all Metro/Cal-Trans public meetings a councilmember or representative of Alhambra makes it very clear about Alhambra's pro-freeway position. Councilmember Barbara Messina is but one example. Alhambra has for years paid lobbyists Nat Reid & Leland Dolley close to a Million Dollars to lobby for the freeway. One & sometimes both have appeared at all the Metro/Cal-Trans meetings held in the last 2 years. Leland Dolley now serves as one of the 2 Alhambra reps. on the Metro Technical Advisory committee (TAC).
Sam Burgess August 06, 2012 at 01:37 AM
ChickenBoyFan, I'm very happy to see the residents of Highland Park/Garvanza area getting involved in this 710 fiasco. I can only hope you are able to bring many residents to the Metro/ Community Liaison Council (CLC) meeting tomorrow evening--as useless as it will be. A little background on the CLC: Metro created the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) as a presentation & discussion forum on the 710. This committee was to be made up of representatives from the various cities & agencies involved in or affected by the 710. Many residents (myself included) invited themselves to the initial meeting. While it was explained that only official reps. would be allowed to ask questions of the experts we (politely) insisted on asking questions. At subsequent meetings it was made very clear the public was not allowed to ask questions. We could only listen. And what do we have? The CLC. And what is the CLC? From Metro: "As a CLC member, your roll is to help get more of your neighbors involved in the SR-710 Environmental Study process". "Though technical data will not be presented , we will provide a summary of the types of comments heard during the May 2012 Open Houses..." THE REPRESENTATIVES OF METRO ARE PUBLIC RELATIONS PEOPLE. THEY CANNOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE. THEIR ONE & ONLY RESPONSIBILITY IS FOR YOU TO DO METROS JOB & GET YOUR NEIGHBORS OUT TO FUTURE MEETINGS. (This is from past experience). But, PLEASE, come anyway & make your feelings known!
Charles Miller August 06, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Sam - Organized residents will have a table outside Ramona Hall tonight with our sole purpose of taking over Metro's CLC event to organize even more residents. So please show up, bring your neighbors, make the Metro PR flacks earn their big bucks by expressing your rage inside - then come outside and join us all to get the real work done. We will have a checklist of 5 free things you can do today to stop this private/political partnership machine to use our money to make them even more money moving freight from our ports on our backs and lungs. We will also have a list of meetings that may actually make a difference.
Lastradioman August 06, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Seems to me that everyone along the Ave 64 corridor - HP, Garvanza, Pas, South Pas should be uniting on opposition to the 710 "alternates". Let's see anti-710 banners displayed along those doomed Avenue 64 hillsides. The proposed tunnels may seem like a good idea to some, but are smoke and mirrors - a distraction device - to get people to buy in to this project. Later, Metro/Caltrans pleads "no funding" or "environmentalist pressures", backs off, then leaves us with they had planned for us in the first place. I hope no one will believe the cr@# about job creation and community that we will be hearing from Metro/Caltrans. Jobs for whom? Chinese national freight companies in the ports of LA and LB? A greasing of the palms for politicians and developers? When a community is ruined, jobs LEAVE - not the other way around. Politicians may (out of their generousity) give us a little baseball diamond or hand out snazzy t-shirts for some short-lived "community project" - but when the politicians photo-op is over where will our community be? Be wary of politicians, media and bureaucrats if you wish to oppose the 710 extensions and win. They wll use divide-and-conquer tactics and play dirty pool to pit neighborhood against neighborhood; income bracket against income bracket; group against group. Time to get to work?
frank van neutra lautner August 06, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Here, here!!
frank van neutra lautner August 06, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Or actually... Hear, hear!!!
Alan Fishel August 06, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Let’s stop this 710 “closure project” once and for all. Wither it is the Big Dig through South Pasadena or theses new detours. We do not need to keep pouring money into this project that should not even be considered, let alone built. Let’s save this money for projects that will help move people efficiently. The Alameda and the Alameda Corridor East will take most container trucks off the 710 and other connecting freeways and put them on trains. Most everything from the Port will go on trains for reloading in the Inland Empire, High Deserts, go north or go directly east eliminating the need for the closure or widen of the 710.
Steve Burke August 07, 2012 at 12:01 AM
This is what Bureaucrats and Politicians do. This is their jobs. They can't do nothing. They have to do something, even when all people don't want it. Otherwise, they would have nothing to do. They are working FULL-TIME to put in this extension against the wishes of actual citizens. That is their job. Stopping and quitting is something they don't understand.
Bravo August 07, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Where can we get anti-710 banners???
Lonee urtuz August 07, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Hi Sam, Here we go again. We worked together against the Westerly route. Do you remember the AB bill number? Best, Lonee
Lila August 09, 2012 at 01:17 AM
I've been a resident of Highland Park now for the past 9yrs. My children grew up in this home and they are sadden to hear that CalTrans wants to take our neighborhood away. I live right on Avenue 64 and I strongly oppose!!!! Where I can I get an Anti 710 banner???
Sandra Walker August 09, 2012 at 02:27 AM
Thanks for all the e-mails. I'll send out some protest letters! Sandy Walker (Highland Park resident)
Donna Flade August 14, 2012 at 02:56 AM
They are putting a subway under our only high school!!! Do you think they care about anyone or anything but MONEY??? Think again....I'll post your banner at my home in BH! Good Luck, friends!
Margaret August 15, 2012 at 05:21 PM
The SR-710 and I-710 projects go hand in hand. If the I-710 is widened, it creates a juggernaut of truck traffic barreling towards Alhambra, El Sereno, Highland Park, South Pas, Pasadena, La Canada, etc. Many of the communities along the I-710 corridor are opposed to the widening. Communities on this end need to join with them and battle this whole monster.

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