Video: Highland Park Prefers 'No Build' 710 Alternative

Residents say freeways and highways should be thing of the past.

Cheers of "No Build! No Build!" filled the on Monday evening as more than 300 Northeast Los Angeles residents gathered to make known their opposition to the expansion of State Route 710 through their neighborhood.

The Los Angles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is mulling a dozen options to alleviate traffic along the SR-710. Among the proposed routes are the below ground freeways F2 and F5, which would run beneath Mount Washington and Garvanza, respectively. A surface route, H2, would run along Avenue 64 through the neighborhood of Garvanza.

Tina Gulotta-Miller, of the Garvanza Improvement Association, said the building of any surface route highway or below ground freeway would "decimate" her community.

Other alternatives include the no build option; which would rely on easing traffic by going through with a variety of projects programmed for completion by 2035 in the Regional Transportation Plan, and the bus and rail option. (A .pdf outlining all of the 12 options, as well as projects included in the Regional Transportation Plan, can be downloaded above).

Mary McCormick, a spokesperson for Metro, said the transportation authority would be narrowing down its list of alternatives by "early October," about a month later than community members initially expected.

Monday evening's Community Liaison Council meeting was being held as part of Metro's environmental review process. According to McCormick, the purpose of the meeting was to share feedback received during previous meetings and to outline the next steps in the environmental review process.

But meeting attendees--many of whom expressed outrage over what they perceived as a lack of transparency on Metro's part--demanded more.

Speaking during a prolonged public comment period, Highland Park residents Gretchen Knudsen and Charles Miller said they believed Metro's plans to expand the SR-710 was less an effort to ease traffic for everyday commuters than it was one to move commercial freight trucks more swiftly out of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

"It's all coming from the goods movement, and that's where I would encourage us as a whole community and talk about the no-build option or the heavy rail option and that's it," Knudsen said.

Official Positions

Spokespersons for Councilmember José Huizar and Assemblymember Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) who were on hand for Monday's meeting were called upon to make their bosses' stances on the SR-710 extension known.

Nate Hayward, a field deputy for Huizar, said the Councilmember was opposed to any surface route option. However, he said Huizar was still waiting to take a public stance on the proposed tunnels.

"Public comment is the most important thing. When the Councilmember makes his decision, that's what he's looking at," Hayward said. "I don't have an answer for you in terms of what our exact strategy is going to be. However, do know that our office is pursuing things in the next week or two, in terms how to go about this." 

Conrado Terraza, spokesman for Cedillo, said the Assemblyman was opposed to any route through Los Angeles, either above ground or below. However, Terraza said he did support a tunnel route beneath the City of South Pasadena.

"That's called NIMBYism," said South Pasadena resident Sam Burgess, in response.

Lastradioman August 07, 2012 at 04:52 PM
We need to get this out to everyione. Mailbox flyers? Get homeowners on Av. 64 to put up large banners and signs? What about local businesses along 64 and the York/64 area? Need to involve them. Need to involve Hillsides and Church of the Angels on Av 64. Need to involve Pasadena and Eagle Rock residents along 64 Do we need to go over the whys again? 1. Pollution 2, Noise 3. Neighborhood & local business blight 4. Increased crime with easy access/escape from neighborhoods 5. ALL property values negatively affected, no mattter how many blocks away 6. More traffic in our streets 7. Reduces, does not create local jobs/economy.
El Cid August 07, 2012 at 05:02 PM
Politicians, Caltrans, and MTA are hoping we retreat into our own little worlds (homes) and let someone else fight this battle. It's important to organize a meeting (preferably a weekend mornings-most people are available), collect donations from residents and businesses, and spread throughout the affected communities and get the word out. Ask businesses to donate their talents (printing flyers, buttons, t-shirts etc...) Get our youth involved - even our little ones! Decorate strollers, wagons and spread the news! Host a wagon, stroller parade through Avenue 64 and get the media there! Let them see who will be uprooted young and old.
jaclyn jones August 07, 2012 at 06:16 PM
How to participate in the opposition to the 710 Highland Park extension........ HOW HOW HOW??????? I'm in!!!!! JACLYN JONES tblanche8@aol.com
John Cole August 07, 2012 at 06:45 PM
There is mopre to be learned from what was not said than from the public relations efforts at the Highland Park meeting. I will list just four considerations: Heat, CO emissions, the mountains and the prevailing westerlies. There are 300 days of sunlight per year in LA. It radiates heat when it strikes concrete. Vastly increased CO (carbon monoxide) emissions will combine with the heat and be blown west by the wind. They will initially disperse but will recombine when they hit the mountains and stop. The result will be very serious, to put it mildly. Increased asthma, emphysema and related respiratory illnesses will emerge. Those most affected will be the very young and the elderly. There are other environmental concerns which were overlooked at the meeting, but which should be brought up from here on.
John Kvammen August 07, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Basic no on 710 signs will work. They have been around for decades. Let's fet them on front yards in all the affected communities.
Don Justin Jones August 07, 2012 at 09:37 PM
There is the closing scene in Casablanca when as the sun rises Rick says to Louis" Welcome back to the fight". At ground zero in the 70's ,Argent now called," the bend at Concord- the S curve" aka Sheffield in El Sereno was a center of the Chicano Art Movement with writers like Bennie Luna ,directors like RudyVargas thinkers like Jesus Trevino and the brothers Penichet and the habitues of Magons,the QC, the Pesta House and Lumis gathered then when the evil Caltrans poisoined the garden ,we in year of the Fox in the month of the hunting Moon (1996) the grassroots went to the American Federal Court and said"Environmental Injustice" and stopped the ground/grind level at grade/degrade traffic facility. HP! " Put on your high heel sneakers and take a boxing glove jus in case some fool might wanna fight" see you Saturday
Monica Alcaraz August 07, 2012 at 10:31 PM
It's because of the work of the Highland Park Neighborhood Council that we had the turnout we did.
nonoise August 07, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Here is a link to the NO on 710 group. http://www.no710.com
irving g. August 07, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I would be glad to help!
CV Gal August 08, 2012 at 02:07 AM
This site has old information right now but believe me, the No 710 Action Committee has been working hard over the last three years to defeat this project. Many of our members have been working it for decades. We have been gathering information and educating the communities through other means and this site is ready for an overhaul. We will be updating it shortly. If you want info sent to you or have questions, please feel free to email the group at no710extension@aol.com.
CV Gal August 08, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Let me explain a little history. As part of the geotechnical study, five zones were sampled for tunnel feasibility. It was during this period of time that the the Glassell Park and Mt Washington people got active because Zone 2 went straight to the 2 freeway by way of Verdugo. When Metro recently held their Open Houses this spring, that was when the routes through Garzana showed up. I pointed out that that area hadn't even been studied and the engineer pointed to a very small corner of Zone 3 that contained the route. These routes are brand new and therefore there has been NO public outreach for them. Your outrage is appropriate, to be sure.
CV Gal August 08, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Now, those of you who have left comments about the Community Liaison Council members not coming forward. You have to understand that these "positions" are a sham. It is only to satisfy for Metro that outreach has been done so they can say that they fulfilled the requirements. I went to the one and only CLC meeting in La Crescenta and I guess you could say I am a CLC member because my name is on a list. But we were told the only reason for the meeting was to get people to the Open Houses and to show us the list of alternatives that had already been narrowed down. Say what? We didn't get ANY questions answered nor were we able to discuss any of the alternatives that our communities wanted. Don't focus on the CLCs. The movement that you guys started is going to finally get some attention. Learn all you can, educate your neighbors. Together we will get it done. no710extention@aol.com
CV Gal August 08, 2012 at 02:33 AM
Oops, TYPO. no710extension@aol.com
frank van neutra lautner August 08, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Monica Alcaraz: "It's because of the work of the Highland Park Neighborhood Council that we had the turnout we did." @ Monica Alcaraz Monica, I don't understand how what you said in your reply pertains to what I said regarding none of the CLC members being present for the meet. Can you please clarify?
El Cid August 08, 2012 at 03:02 AM
The community liaison who bravely raised her hand is Ann Walnum. A longtime Mount Washington resident/activist. I do not know her personally; but, I have served with her on other community concerns. She has championed for NE for many, many years. (I believe I am accurate on the above) Without offending any party above, I do not believe it is relevant who got who to last night's meeting. What is important is that we do mobilize, organize, and get 100 times that at the next meetings. It's going to take a strong united front to STOP the 710 Extension. Again - please do not take offense to my remarks.
Sam Burgess August 08, 2012 at 03:46 AM
CV Gal is correct on her 3 above statements. And the so-called Community Liason Councils (CLC)? They, indeed, are a sham. In a previous comment just prior to the community meeting I tried to explain the true nature of the CLC. Yes, there were so-called "members" of the Community Liason Council in attendance last night--I was one of them. None of us raised our hands for the simple reason that the Metro (public relations) speaker was trying to shift the blame for the lack of community outreach to the community (the CLC members). How did we become members of the CLC? Easy. Upon arrival at a previous CLC meeting we provided our names & e-mail address in the sign-in page. Presto! We were your representatives--without knowing it!! This now applies to all of you who signed in on the Metro sign-in sheet. You are now a CLC member and are responsible for notifing your community of all things Metro. I must now admit to a Mea Culpa. I foolishly told many of you to sign-in on the Metro sheet. I was under the impression they simply wanted a record of those in attendance. How foolish of me. Oh, yes, one further comment. Your local councilmember, assemblymember & senator should have been engaging the community on these matters. Why weren't they? Because, regardless of how they spin it, they want the freeway extension. And believe me, they have had many years to perfect their spin.
CarolK August 08, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Thank you Don Quixote - I've become your fan! Here's my 2 cents: It's equally important to focus on educating the voting public about the politicians involved in pushing this freeway. Assemblymember Gil Cedillo used to "represent" South Pasadena. His spokesman's comment about Gil Cedillo being happy to locate this horrible tunnel though his former constituents city tells you all you need to know about him. Sounds like Cedillo's "spokesman", Conrado Terraza, just ran over Cedillo's former district with a bus (freight truck) then backed it up and ran 'em over again. For a politician, whose asking you to vote for him this Nov., his behavior doesn't engender much trust does it?
El Cid August 08, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Puede ser tu culpa por no haber sabido las malas intenciones the CLC, pero todos somos testigos que se reporto que hasta la fecha menos de 400 personas asistieron las juntas del 710 Extencion. Sencillamente se demuestra que Caltrans/MTA hizo absolutamente NADA para educar y informar al publico. The blame lies with Caltrans/MTA/city/county/state politicians who are bulldozing the 710 Extension plans with minimal effort of a true transparent outreach. It is quite apparent that Caltrans/MTA did not outreach to affected communities!
Lastradioman August 08, 2012 at 06:44 PM
The NO-710 signs along Ave 64 look great and will help a lot. Thanks. May also want to place smaller signs, or yard signs on strategic roads that feed Av 64, so that all local residents can see them. A small minority of Av 64 commuters may see the signs and wish 64 was a freeway, so we need to reach the rest of us who live here - Eagle Rock, Pasadena, Garvanza, HP.
Lastradioman August 08, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Path of Least Resistance? Seeing the posts regarding Metro/Caltrans weasel behavior makes me think Metro/Caltrans sees our neighborhoods (demographically) as a "path of least resistance" for their 710 freeway project? Perhaps these closed-door "old boy networks" imagine that some income, age, ethnic or other groups are timid and will not speak up?
Nico August 08, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Please post the link to exactly where these "alternate" proposal are posted. I cannot locate them on the Metro site
Nico August 08, 2012 at 09:22 PM
And, the PDF pictured doesn't open.
Nico August 08, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Just opened the PDF, but it is missing important information. Specifically, where are the tunnel maps/location of the tunnel entrances and exits exactly?
El Cid August 08, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Request to join: stopthe710@yahoogroups.com for additional information.
Concerned Parent and Community Member August 10, 2012 at 04:05 PM
So much passion against the 710, but I and many like me will continue to support the extension of the 710!
El Cid August 10, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Clearly you have a right to your opinion and I am glad that in this forum you were able exercise your right to express your support of 710 Extension. However, it is important to note that for many residents affected by the potential 710 Extension there was NO outreach informing them of this potential threat. I was at three meetings this week where MTA officials in a powerpoint presentation acknowledged in totality (several months) less that 400 stakeholders attended meetings. In one night Highland Park residents got over 300 stakeholders to attend an informational meeting with next NO information delivered by MTA officials! Next point, for many people - they falsely believe the 710 Extension is to help alleviate the commute for the average Joe! Well, it is NOT!!! It will be a toll freeway for 710 Extension - you will have to pay to use it! Most importantly, it is about moving heavy cargo from Port of LA and Long Beach to warehouses. Can you visual the danger of a tunnel or surface route with these cargo trucks? Lastly, I do not know about you - I am not anywhere near the potential route; but, one reason I've elected to live over 50 years in Highland Park is for the beauty of the arroyos, and serene valley. The last thing I want to do is breath the gases that either surface or tunnel will deposit in our nice little community!!! Unite to Oppose the 710 Extension!
Nico August 10, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Think you are responding to the wrong person. I did not write the opinion directly above your comments. I am against the extension.
El Cid August 10, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Nico- I didn't direct my remarks to you. If you believed I had, I have no problem apologizing for the misunderstanding. My remarks are directed to "Concerned Parent and Community Member" who I imagine as a parent should be concerned enough to worry about the additional poor air we will have in this area if the 710 is extended.
Concerned Parent and Community Member September 11, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Sancho Panza, I have been hearing and reading about this extension since I was five! If people are not informed it has been their lack of interest in the subject matter not the lack of the government not informing them. People need to stop blaming others and realize that they need to do their homework. I live in Highland Park and I will be affected, but I welcome moving forward. I hope I get to drive that extension before I die. Beauty of the arroyos and serene valley...u too are entitled to your opinion! All I hear and see is trash, bums, helicopters, gun shots, and the list goes on and on. Pollution you say...you are blind if you think Highland Park is not already full of pollution, we have the Gold line and the 110 running through the area. People opposed the Gold line and not they are glad it was built!!! People need to look at the positive side of the 110 and stop concentrating on the bad!!!
El Cid September 11, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I appreciate your opinion and you clearly have a right to exercise it! Yet, I disagree with your outlook on the 710 Extension. Ask yourself, "Why is the 710 Extension possible route detoured into Los Angeles?" When quite frankly, it doesn't take rocket science to figure out the direct route to connecting it to the 210 freeway. Therefore, I clearly have a different opinion!


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