710 North extension affects community

By: Diego Linares

Five cities suffer from congestion, pollution and inconvenience.

Is convenience more important than pollution and traffic control? We have enough freeway problems to worry about.

In 2008 Measure R gave the Metropolitan Transport Authority the right to be, “…in a position to address traffic relief and make transportation upgrades throughout Los Angeles County,” with two-thirds of  County  voters approving.

Mayors and council-members from Glendale, South Pasadena, Pasadena and La Canada Flintridge have protested at meetings regarding the extension of the 710 freeway.
I am a cyclist who commutes to the Monterey Park, South Pasadena, Glendale and Downtown area from Highland Park, there are alternate resources for us (as commuters) to use rather than building a six-lane strip of freeway through beautiful and historic parts of Los Angeles.

With the northbound 710 freeway coming to an end on Valley Boulevard, drivers are forced  off into the streets of Alhambra.

People in the city of Alhambra have encouraged the extension of the 710 freeway, hoping for relief in the congestion of local streets.

A three year Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement by MTA began in 2012  will determine the outcome of five proposed alternatives.

MTA is in the environmental study phase for the 710 project, looking at several possible options: “No build,” traffic management solutions, light rail, bus and an underground freeway tunnel.
These proposals inclucde;Transportation System Management solutions/Transportation Demand Management (a county-wide strategy to improve and enhance traffic operations).
Bus Rapid Transit (between East Los Angeles and Pasadena).

Light Rail Transit (aerial and tunnel rail service between East Los Angeles and Pasadena, with connection to the Metro Gold line) and a freeway tunnel are all alternatives proposed by MTA.

“This tunnel idea is ill-conceived,” said Glendale City Councilman Ara Najarian to KABC TV station. “It is impossible to fund and will do nothing to solve our traffic and mobility issues in                 the region,” said Najarian.

I remember sitting in class at Benjamin Franklin High School when I first heard of the idea of freeway construction in Highland Park.

I disliked the idea then, and even more now with the thought of what I have considered my hometown being surrounded by freeways.

In the Spring of 2015 the final decision will be announced by MTA following the study completion in the Spring of 2014.

With numerous anti-710 posts in lawns across the South Pasadena/Highland Park area, this process will prove to be crucial in determining the future of houses that have become homes to thousands.

En route to their final decision, MTA will continue to encourage public participation, as well as attempts to improve their performance and avoid/minimize impacts to the communities.

Ongoing environmental studies, preliminary engineering and technical analyses for each alternative will dictate the outcome of the 710 expansion.

A large percentage of ELAC students reside in the Monterey Park, Alhambra and South Pasadena area. These students would also be affected if the county decides to extend the 710 freeway.

Highland Park has been my home for 18 years and I dread the day a freeway takes over the parks where I enjoyed my childhood.

The duplex in which I currently reside and the schools I attended as I was growing up would be taken down to make room for a freeway.

This area of Los Angeles will always have a special place in my heart and I’m hopeful it won’t solely be in my memory.

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