More than 20 California congressmen, led by Rep. Matthew G. Martinez (D-Monterey Park), have signed a letter to Elizabeth Dole, U.S. secretary of transportation, asking her to approve the Meridian route for the Long Beach Freeway through South Pasadena.
The California Transportation Commission has recommended the Meridian route over the objections of the City of South Pasadena and the National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Federal approval is needed because the federal Highway Administration is being asked to pay 86% of the $400-million cost. The project would complete a 6.2-mile link to the Foothill Freeway.
Rep. Carlos Moorhead (R-Glendale), who represents South Pasadena in Congress, said he, too, plans to write a letter to Dole urging "immediate completion" of the freeway, but not specifying a route. Moorhead said that while Pasadena, which he also represents, is anxious for completion of the freeway, South Pasadena residents don't want it "going right down the middle of the city."
Martinez said failure to complete the freeway is creating severe traffic congestion on Valley Boulevard, Atlantic and Garfield avenues and other streets. In the letter to Dole, Martinez noted that the state has agreed to $30 million worth of environmental protection measures, including the moving of historic buildings, and said, "We believe the Meridian route is the least disruptive to the community, historically, environmentally and socially."