Friday, April 16, 2010

Around Town: Ixnay on the 710 tunnel


Like they used to say in the ’60s, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

If you live in La Cañada Flintridge and drive the 210, you don’t need a federal study to prove the increase in traffic since the completion of the 210 and I-15 interchange.

You don’t need a CHP study to prove the increase in big-rig accidents on the 210.

You don’t need a Caltrans study to experience the spillover traffic jams on Foothill Boulevard that follow the big-rig accidents on the 210.

Do we really need a Girl Scout to prove these facts as part of her Gold Award? Can’t common sense prevail?

On March 29, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council passed a resolution opposing the proposal to connect the 710 Freeway with the 210 with an underground tunnel. The underground area, of course, would be in Pasadena, not La Cañada Flintridge.

In considering the resolution, our city council noted a USC study on the environmental impact of the proposed connection:

“The University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Division of Environmental Health, Department of Preventive Medicine, independently reviewed the Metro study. Dr. Rob McConnell stated in his analysis that ‘the increase in truck and automobile traffic on the I-210 freeway resulting from the proposed SR-710 extension would increase the exposure of surrounding communities to vehicular pollutants that may cause asthma and other respiratory disease.’ In addition, the USC Children’s Health Study stated that there is ‘emerging scientific consensus that residential or school proximity to major traffic corridors is associated with respiratory impairment in children and in adults.’ Additionally, this study indicated that residential proximity to freeways is associated with increased rates of asthma, and that a group a pollutants is associated with slower growth in lung function, which is a strong predictor of debilitating lung disease and mortality in later life.”

The City Council noted that here in La Cañada Flintridge we have more than 20 schools close to the freeway, as well as many homes. The city called on Metro, Caltrans and SCAG to “ find other new, effective alternatives to these projects, including those alternatives using rail as the mode of transportation, which will truly solve the region’s congestion problems.”

Imagine this scenario: Instead of a tunnel, the Gold Line branches off at Sierra Madre Villa into the Gold Line West extension. This above-ground light rail will run down the center of the 210, with stops at JPL, St. Francis, Memorial Park and points east, like Magic Mountain and CalArts. At the juncture of the 2 and the 210, there’s another station, an above-ground light rail that runs south on the 2 into Union Station.

Wouldn’t that be a better use of the funds?

With the extra money, we could buy some cute trams to supplement the B line, running up and down Foothill Boulevard from JPL to Oceanview.

There is now a Facebook group, “No 710 Freeway Tunnel.” If you can’t find it, friend me on Facebook and I’ll send you the link.

The “No 710 Freeway Tunnel” Facebook group is administered by concerned citizens Jan SooHoo, Scott Piotrowski, Brian Kinney, Aaron Sonderleiter, Vickere Murphy and Kathy Christie Hernandez. Their mission is as follows: “Don’t let Caltrans extend the 710 Freeway via a tunnel under South Pasadena. We don’t want it, we don’t need it, and we can’t afford it.”

It’s time to stop the 710 tunnel.

Published Published: Thursday, April 15, 2010 4:08 AM PDT
Around Town:
710 tunnel is a bad idea
By Anita Susan Brenner

Get in touch: ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La Cañada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. E-mail her at">anitasusan.brenner@

La Cañada Valley Sun: La Cañada Flintridge, California

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