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Building Missing Freeway Link: The Controversy Continues

August 27, 1989

Sam Hall Kaplan's Aug. 13 commentary on completing the Long Beach Freeway is replete with errors of fact.

Examples include:

-- Stating that the project cost will be $1 billion when a simple comparison with the more complex Century Freeway project indicates a $100-million/mile cost, or $400 million to $500 million for this project, the amount shown in the most current Caltrans estimate.

-- Significant misquoting of a recent SCAG report, which in contrast to Mr. Kaplan's commentary, states that local residents will experience significant traffic reduction on parallel north-south arterials and a regional benefit will occur by the use of a regional facility as opposed to local streets.

-- Stating that 10% of the city's land will be consumed by the freeway, which absurdly equates to 70 freeway travel lanes, and stating there will be a five-level interchange when, in fact, no such proposal exists in the current design.

Mr. Kaplan's comments focused on only a small area, as the freeway is less than 2 miles in South Pasadena. What about the potential benefits? Mr. Kaplan has chosen to ignore them. Don't the local access needs of residents and merchants along parallel arterials and the regional access improvements deserve airing?

The Long Beach Freeway Assn. has extensively studied the impacts of this 4-mile construction project. A critical safety benefit will result from regional travel using an access-controlled facility, leaving the local streets for pedestrians and local trips.

Improved traffic flow will also result in fuel savings and reduction in emissions, a point acknowledged in the recently approved Air Quality Management Plan.

Recognizing the benefits of the project, agreement among federal, state, regional, county and city governments to complete the gap has been reached, with only the city of South Pasadena dissenting. We firmly believe the city should be supporting efforts to return their local streets to the residents of South Pasadena and renew the "Our Town" atmosphere.

LILA COX

South Pasadena

Cox is chairman of the Long Beach Freeway Assn.

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