Los Angeles County’s Historic Communities Of The 710 Move Towards Sustainable Transportation Solutions
In a historic vote today, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board ended the 50-year debate over the SR-710 freeway “connector” in California’s San Gabriel Valley. The vote is a major step forward that will finally allow the Historic Communities of the 710, a National Treasure, to pursue strategic, sustainable, multi-modal projects that will enhance mobility for the region, while removing the potential of exorbitant costs and destructive effects of a 5.4-mile, 60-foot wide tunnel proposal.
“Cities are only effective when they work for everyone,” said Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Since naming the historic neighborhoods along the 710 to our annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in the 1980s, we have advocated for a solution that addresses the growing region’s need for equitable transportation while preserving its unique history. As such, we are pleased that today’s Metro Board decision will enhance the character and identity that makes these diverse communities thrive.”
The leaders of the Connected Cities and Communities (C3) coalition praised the vote as a forward-thinking and cost-effective solution for the region’s transportation needs. The C3 coalition brought together the cities of Glendale, Pasadena, La Cañada-Flintridge, South Pasadena and Sierra Madre, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the No 710 Action Committee, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation as partners who share a vision of better transportation solutions.
“Today’s Metro Board decision is a vote for healthy communities, fiscal responsibility and a 21st century approach to transportation in Los Angeles County. The time has come for us to move beyond this outdated project," said Ara Najarian, the chair of the C3, and a member of the Metro Board of Directors and a Glendale City Councilman. “I applaud the leadership of Metro Board chair John Fasana, who recognized that the tunnel was not viable, and the millions of dollars designated for the project should be put to better use.”
The tunnel project has been under environmental review since 2011. While the Metro Board received a staff report recommending the tunnel, the Board acknowledged that the contentious multi-billion dollar project lacked a viable financing plan and they wisely chose to redirect the funds toward a package of new local transportation fixes.
“After years of requesting better mobility for the region, the residents of South Pasadena and our C3 coalition partners are relieved to know that the SR-710 tunnel is now highly unlikely,” said Marina Khubesrian, M.D., vice chair of the C3 and a member of the South Pasadena City Council. “We look forward to working with all of the corridor cities to develop projects that will be better for their communities, relieve traffic and provide more options for people to travel to their homes, jobs, schools, and doctors’ appointments.”
According to Metro staff, approximately $730 million remains in the SR-710 fund appropriated in Measure R. Today’s vote devoted $105 million of that fund to implement the Transportation System Management and Transportation Demand Management (TSM/TDM) list of projects already identified in the Environmental Impact Report. The remainder of the money will be made available for new projects in the corridor communities, which will be developed collaboratively with Metro.
“Taking the divisive tunnel project off the table heralds a new era of cooperation among San Gabriel Valley cities, to the benefit of everyone,” said Terry Tornek, the mayor of the city of Pasadena. “The vision of leaders such as Supervisor Katherine Barger and John Fasana will allow our cities to work together in pursuit of smarter mobility improvements, such as those outlined in the Beyond the 710 Plan.”
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About the Connected Cities and Communities (C3) coalition
Cities, organizations and individuals that make up C3 have come together to find the best way to relieve traffic, connect communities, promote smart growth, and help people get to their jobs, schools, shopping, and recreation. C3 is about connecting communities, increasing everyone’s quality of life, and putting scarce transportation dollars to their best use. This ever-growing coalition is comprised of the Cities of Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, plus the Natural Resources Defense Council, the No 710 Action Committee, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.