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Freeways Were the Answer of the Past

October 11, 1990

It is interesting to note that a committee of San Marino residents (Times, Sept. 20), in the hopes of "preserving" their "wonderful and unique" community, are willing to sacrifice the tree-lined streets and turn-of-the-century charm of their next door neighbor, South Pasadena, by recommending support for completing the Long Beach Freeway north/south through the middle of South Pasadena.

Just in case anyone failed to notice, South Pasadena already has one freeway. The city sacrificed 50 years ago by having the first freeway west of the Mississippi (Pasadena Freeway) cut through the middle of town.

Freeway systems have gone through many cities in California. But, I seriously doubt that anyone could find a city as small as South Pasadena in the state that has two freeways cutting it in quarters and that is still a desirable place to live.

South Pasadena will continue to oppose the proposed Meridian Variation as well as any other freeway connector, including the Atlantic-Garfield Alternative through San Marino, because they impose an unacceptable impact on South Pasadena and our neighboring city of Pasadena and community of El Sereno.

No, I have not forgotten Alhambra. You see, contrary to a popular misconception, that city does not give up one inch for this freeway. The freeway extension will not solve anyone's traffic congestion problem, particularly Alhambra's, which appears by the recommendation of the committee to be affecting San Marino.

If Alhambra continues to increase its population, 46% since the freeway controversy began more than 30 years ago, and continues to satisfy its voracious appetite for large developments on the west side of town, including an auto row, their neighboring cities of South Pasadena and San Marino don't stand a chance.

As Alhambra's population continued to grow, South Pasadena's and San Marino's remained relatively stable. San Marino is looking to the wrong neighbor to solve the problems. San Marino should be urging, no demanding, that Alhambra, while choking on its own gas fumes, come to the table in good faith and cooperatively discuss with its neighbors the "low-build" alternatives that have been proposed and projected to improve the traffic flow by 50%.

Freeways were the answer of the past, but we are living in the future. It is time we move into that future and pursue less destructive solutions to our traffic problems . . . solutions that don't destroy 1,500 homes, 7,000 mature trees and evict 4,500 people.

LESLIE ESTEP

South Pasadena

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