Briganti Restaurant, Mission Street off Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena, CA

photo by: Barry Schwartz

11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Historic Communities of the 710

  • Location: Los Angeles, California

For nearly 40 years, a proposed five-mile freeway and tunnel in the Los Angeles metro area threatened to displace residents, destroy historic homes, and cost billions of dollars—all without improving mobility or air quality. But thanks to constant pressure and forward-thinking alternatives, a coalition of neighborhood advocates, city and state leaders, and preservation organizations (including the National Trust) successfully and definitively defeated the plan.

The coalition’s vision of “Beyond the 710” encouraged a smarter transportation model that better serves a 21st-century metropolis while also protecting the historic fabric that makes its neighborhoods vibrant and livable. Now, thousands of people whose homes were once threatened can remain, and the communities in peril can look forward to a dynamic future.

A proposal by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) to build an eight-lane, 4.5-mile freeway tunnel threatened to cost taxpayers billions and had the potential to significantly harm the dense, desirable, and irreplaceable historic fabric of several cities and neighborhoods in L.A. and the San Gabriel Valley that are in its path.

This massive transportation project stretched over more than 5 miles through a collection of some of the oldest, most historic cities, neighborhoods, and streetscapes in the San Gabriel Valley. These communities are defined by dozens of vibrant historic commercial and residential districts, hundreds of individual landmarks, groundbreaking infrastructure projects such as old Route 66 and the Arroyo Seco Parkway (the oldest highway in the United States and a National Scenic Byway, respectively), and nationally prominent cultural events like the Annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

Mission Street and Meridian Ave., South Pasadena, CA.

photo by: Barry Schwartz

Mission Street and Meridian Ave., South Pasadena, California.

The National Trust was actively engaged in the fight to stop the 710 freeway for decades, bringing extensive legal expertise and media visibility in the 1980s and 1990s (including five appearances on our annual list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places) to successfully halt the proposed surface freeway. In partnership with the cities, organizations, institutions, and political leaders of “Beyond the 710,” the National Trust encouraged the adoption of a smarter, regional model for transportation planning better suited to the 21st-century needs of a dynamic and growing metropolis.

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