Board of Directors vote to launch new round of 710 gap studies

The agency’s Board of Directors voted Thursday to launch a new round of studies to consider how to improve traffic in the area around the gap in the 710 freeway between Alhambra and Pasadena.

Here’s the link to the report on the issue by Metro staff.

The studies will initially begin with a scoping document that lays out the problem and examines a long list of potential solutions, which will most likely include surface street improvements, mass transit improvements and a tunnel, among other things. (Here’s a post from last month looking at the issue).

That will be narrowed down to a shorter list that will be studied in an alternatives analysis that will define what the project actually is. Then a draft environmental impact study will be launched on the project.

The Measure R sales tax increase approved by voters in L.A. County in 2008 included $780 million for a tunnel project — should the project ever be pursued and pass muster with a lengthy environmental review. The Measure R expenditure plan estimated the price of a tunnel at $3.7 billion, but it is important to note that was not based on a specific tunnel design.

If, of course, the project ends up being a tunnel. It may. It may not.

Several dozen public officials and members of the public spoke on the issue this morning before the meeting was interrupted by protests from the Bus Riders Union over unrelated fare increases. Opinions ran the gamut from those who said a tunnel was an expensive folly that won’t solve traffic woes to those who thought it was time to finally seek some type of traffic fix for the area.

There were also several amendments introduced — but no votes were taken as Metro staff gather more information on them. The most interesting, perhaps, was a motion by Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar who called for Metro to eliminate a surface route for the 710 from being considered. Huizar’s motion also asked that the negative impacts on El Sereno of a tunnel portal north of Valley Boulevard be considered.

The issue there is whether it’s legal to eliminate an option before it is considered in the environmental review process.

Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects

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