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A New 710 Freeway Will Bring No Traffic Benefits

August 03, 1989

The evidence is starting to come in and be heard. The completion of the 710 Freeway will not only be devastating and destructive, but will not substantially relieve any traffic problems.

New transportation studies show that if the 710 Freeway is completed through El Sereno, Pasadena and South Pasadena, it will operate at level "F" the day it is completed. That means "severe congestion." The same studies show, if the freeway link is completed, it will increase the amount of traffic on the 210 Freeway, the San Bernardino Freeway and California Boulevard, which is a main thoroughfare through Pasadena. More traffic, more congestion!

In a recent article by White House Fellow Richard Sybert, he called for charging fees for usage of highways during peak hours. He also wisely pointed out we need more parks, trees, schoolyards and public places, not more concrete and fumes. The 710 extension will destroy 7,000 trees and run side-by-side with three schoolyards where children will live and breathe high concentrations of lead.

Even top transportation bureaucrats understand the future lies in alternative solutions to relieving congestion, not paving our way out of it. Caltrans Director Robert Best recently said: "In Los Angeles, there's no more room for new freeways, and the next advance has to be technological." U.S. Secretary of Transportation Samuel Skinner is currently involved in a massive public outreach program. He's touting double-decking existing freeways in L.A. and high-speed methods of transportation.

UCLA Transportation expert Martin Wachs estimates the 710 extension may cost more than $1 billion, possibly $3 billion or $4 billion.

Caltrans will tell you the cost is $425 million. They continue this low-ball figure in order not to alarm taxpayers. It's basing its numbers on ancient history. All it need do is look at the Century Freeway and the billion-dollar-plus price tag.

Alhambra Mayor Michael Blanco and L.A. City Councilman Richard Alatorre are encouraging San Gabriel Valley cities to support a freeway through their neighborhoods. Alatorre is vehemently for this freeway despite the destruction to low-cost housing in his East Los Angeles community. He has not been responsive to grass-roots opposition. Blanco believes Alhambra's traffic congestion problems will be alleviated, but studies show the relief will be temporary.

There must be alternative solutions to easing traffic congestion rather than uprooting lives, bulldozing homes and trees and destroying neighborhoods.

EVELYN FIERRO

mayor pro tem,

South Pasadena

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