WPRA Urges the City to Plan for Throrough Review of SR-710 DEIR (Nov2013)
On November 12, WPRA wrote to the City Council urging them to have City staff prepare a plan for a thorough review of the SR-710 Draft Environmental Impact Report. The report is planned for release by LA Metro early in 2014 and is expected to be voluminous, technical and complex. Many of the alternatives especially the six sub-options for highway tunnels, would have severe and permanent impacts on our city and the quality of life for its residents. The letter we sent is here.
WPRA Urges Comments on California State Review of Caltrans (May2013)
WHAT HAS HAPPENED:
Governor Brown has ordered an independent, system-wide review of Caltrans (See articles below). The review was ostensibly triggered by a reorganization of various transportation–related departments into one agency. However, Caltrans has recently come under scrutiny for its management of construction of the $6.4 billion Bay Bridge following reports of broken and suspect bolts on the bridge (see articles below).
Brian Kelly, acting secretary of the Business, Transportation & Housing Agency, said in a prepared statement that experts from the State Smart Transportation Initiative, a group housed at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will "take a fresh look at Caltrans operations and help improve performance, communications and management."
WHAT WE NEED TO DO:
We have a golden opportunity to capitalize on this scrutiny of Caltrans. Write a message to both Governor Brown and Acting Secretary Kelly and let them know that you applaud this investigation of Caltrans and that you want them to be aware of the fact that we in Los Angeles have a multitude of questions and concerns about Caltrans’ handling of the 710 tunnel project.
Just a few of the topics you could address:
• No Cost-Benefit Analysis conducted prior to initiating the EIR/EIS
• False and misleading statements on trucks or no trucks in the tunnel
• Exclusion of tolls from comparative evaluation of options
• The lack of clear definition of responsibilities of Caltrans vs Metro resulting from the lack of a Memorandum of Understanding for the project between the agencies
• The recent bait and switch to a single-bore tunnel instead of the dual-bore tunnel analyzed and specified in the Alternatives Analysis Report
• Ongoing and growing concerns about the reliability of information made available to the public
• The significantly flawed public participation process
• The marketing of the project as a tunnel to potential foreign investors long before the EIR/EIS is completed and a decision made on the preferred alternative
Remember – You don’t need to write a long, eloquent letter to make an impression. What we need are many, many letters.
HOW TO DO IT:
SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO BOTH:
The Honorable Edmund G. Brown
Governor, State of California
Electronically: go to:http://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php
You must use an online form to submit your comment.
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Acting Secretary, Business, Transportation & Housing Agency
By email: email@example.com
Mr. Brian P. Kelly, Acting Secretary
Business, Transportation and Housing Agency
980 9th Street, Suite 2450
Sacramento, CA 95814-2742
RELEVANT SHORT ARTICLES:
This article from The Sacramento Bee on May 28
State orders department-wide review of Caltrans
May 30, this additional article was published: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/30/5457372/decision-on-bay-bridge-delayed.html
Previous website's articles on LA Metro's SR-710 Study
WPRA Urges Withdrawal of Tunnel Option from SR-710 Study (Feb2013)
Click here for a presentation showing why WPRA opposes the freeway tunnel proposal for SR-710 extension.
On February 27, WPRA wrote to the Metro Chairman (Supervisor Antonovich), and the Metro Board, with copies to Pasadena, county and state officials, expressing our concern "about continued waste of valuable transportation money in studying and promoting a clearly flawed concept for supposedly improving transportation in metropolitan Los Angeles." We provided specific examples where we believe "individuals in Metro ... are using biased assumptions to “game” the EIS/EIR process toward the result they have been advocating for decades -- a freeway extending SR 710." The letter was written because we understood that the SR-710 study would be on the Metro board agenda February 28. The item did not appear on the Metro Board agenda, so no action was taken.
In addition, on February 21, Councilmember Steve Madson wrote to Supervisor Antonovich offering to "sponsor a panel of METRO experts whom he will select. I [Madison] would serve as moderator at this event where I will make time for the audience to question the experts." Councilmember Madison's letter is here. He urges that, "If you agree with my position, please join me by writing to the Board of Supervisors in care of Supervisor Antonovich at firstname.lastname@example.org and copy me in your response."
If you want to receive regular updates from the NO 710 group, please can send a request to Sylvia at email@example.com
WPRA Letter Urging Removal of Tunnel Options from Consideration (Feb2013)
Here is a copy of the letter WPRA sent February 27 in anticipation of SR-710 discussion during Metro board meeting February 28. However, the board did not discuss SR-710 study, so no action was taken.
Here is a copy of the letter Councilman Madison sent to Metro Board Chairman Antonovich offering to host a forum with Metro representatives.
WPRA Letter Supporting Pasadena Department of Transportation Recommendations (Feb2013)
WPRA Opposes All Metro Routes for SR-710 Extension(rev Jan 2013)
In light of Metro's recently released list of five alternatives for the SR-710 extension, the input WPRA has received from our constituents, and the dubious process that Metro has followed in conducting their SR-710 study so far, the WPRA Board decided to broadly oppose all Metro routes. The board resolved that
"WPRA is opposed to all of the proposed options for the Draft EIR for SR-710. No persuasive case has been made for these options. West Pasadena, as well as all of Pasadena, has suffered enough from freeway development over the years."
WPRA is especially concerned about the 4.5-mile freeway tunnel, actually "tunnels" because there are two. Click here for a presentation showing why the tunnels are particularly bad.
WPRA has found no persuasive case for any of the five alternatives, and there are many serious concerns. For example,
A primary goal stated by Metro is “to help alleviate congestion and improve mobility,” but Metro won’t say if they are talking about moving people, freight, both; we think it matters.
Is the real purpose to move container traffic from the LA and Long Beach ports? Wouldn’t rail be a better way?
Is it really a good idea to have a 4.5-mile tunnel with no vehicle exits under our city? Where would all car and truck pollution go; how much of Pasadena would be affected? Experts we consulted said that only a portion of exhaust pollutants can be removed with existing technology, and the amount removed decreases quickly if traffic is not moving smoothly.
Would shuttling people under Pasadena, with no exit into Pasadena, impact Pasadena businesses?
Could the money be better spent? Metro estimates the cost at $5 Billion; other experts using comparisons from smaller tunnel projects (this would be the largest in the US) produce estimates of $12 to $25 Billion.
Metro plans to start a two-year environmental analysis of these options early next year, so, for opponents of any of these items, the fight continues.
The five options currently proposed by Metro to close the 4.5-mile 710 Freeway "gap" between Alhambra and Pasadena are:
No Build – this alternative is the existing plus committed system – it is the existing freeway, arterial and transit system plus a series of system improvements that are already programmed in the Regional Transportation Improvement Program (RTIP). None of the future projects included in the No Build are located in Pasadena.
TSM/TDM – this alternative is the existing transportation system plus enhanced operations management and demand management activities
BRT 6 with further refinements – this is a bus rapid transit alternative that in Pasadena would enter from the south on Fair Oaks, travel east on Colorado to Hill, south to California, west to Lake and north to Colorado and then retrace to Fair Oaks and exit at the City limit.
LRT 4 with further refinements – this is a light rail transit alternative that in Pasadena would enter from the south in a tunnel under Fair Oaks and end at an underground station adjacent to the Gold Line Fillmore Station near Arroyo Parkway and Fillmore Street
F-7 (freeway tunnel) – this is a freeway alternative in a tunnel that in Pasadena would be within the corridor already owned by the State, generally following Pasadena Avenue and the existing freeway stub. It is unclear where in Pasadena the tunnel would emerge.
Speak up at Pasadena City and Metro meetings.
Diagram of Freeway and Highway Alternatives through Pasadena being considered by Metro and Caltrans (Aug 2012)
Alternatives F-5 and F-6, shown below, are surface or below-grade freeways. Alternative F-7 is a tunnel under the same route as F-6, which is the current Caltrans right-of-way.
WPRA board formally opposes current SR-710 extension alternatives (July 2012)
The WPRA board of directors, in a July 19 letter to Caltrans and Metro, expressed strong opposition to "any consideration of the SR-710 freeway alternatives routed through the San Rafael area of southwest Pasadena, whether they be surface or subsurface." The board noted that "the serious flaws in the concepts and process that resulted in these unacceptable alternatives must be corrected before any decisions are made." Additionally, the WPRA board "pledged to use of all its political and economic resources to oppose each and every one of these alternatives." Click here to see the letter.
WPRA board and WPRA members are continuing to work with other neighborhood organizations to be sure that Caltrans, Metro, City of Pasadena, Los Angeles County, and California State officials are aware of the strong community opposition to routing SR-710 traffic through our neighborhoods.
WPRA Members and concerned citizens can help
Please review the project alternatives at the SR-710 website, http://www.metro.net/projects/sr-710-conversations/ and submit your comments through the "Questions and Comments Form" on the website or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org