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710 Freeway: Not All in Alhambra Favor It

January 27, 1994

Regarding Alhambra (former) Councilman Michael J. Messina's letter on Jan. 13, we would like to clarify one thing.

Messina speaks about Alhambra's support of the 710 Freeway extension as if he is speaking for the entire city, not just the City Council and Redevelopment Agency, which have staked the city's plans on the construction of this concrete monstrosity.

In fact, many Alhambra residents oppose the freeway for reasons that have nothing to do with South Pasadena. Messina and his colleagues have received letters and petitions telling them of our concerns, but we have been dutifully ignored.

Many Alhambra residents are angry at the prospect of having our neighborhoods disrupted by 10 years of freeway construction, as the Century Freeway did in Los Angeles. Nor do we believe that this $651-million transportation "improvement" will do much to improve traffic along Valley Boulevard, which is heavily congested through Alhambra, San Gabriel and Rosemead, or along north-south arterials such as Atlantic Boulevard, Del Mar Avenue or Rosemead Boulevard.

Unlike South Pasadena, which is pursuing a "low build" alternative to the freeway, we would rather have Caltrans look at solutions for the entire region.

Those of us who drive the streets of the San Gabriel Valley know that roads from Alhambra to Pomona are woefully in need of widening, left-turn lanes and synchronized signals. Why should California taxpayers spend upward of $651 million to alleviate traffic just in Alhambra and Pasadena?

Since street congestion is our agreed-upon problem, we should look to regional street improvements to solve them. How many drivers have asked why Alhambra has only one through lane of southbound traffic on Fremont Avenue at Valley Boulevard? Situations like these are our real problem.

Orange County, which has similar traffic difficulties, is building a "super street" system instead of more freeways to combat its growing gridlock. A "super street" has three open lanes of traffic in each direction, left- and right-turn lanes, timed lights, bus bays and no street parking.

Orange County's first super street project is a seven-mile section of Beach Boulevard through Buena Park and Westminster. While it is similar in length to the proposed 6.2-mile 710 Freeway extension, there is no similarity in cost.

The Beach Boulevard super street, which is nearly complete, is now estimated to cost nearly $11 million. That is about 1/60 the cost of the $651-million 710 extension.

Perhaps we should look to our suburban neighbors to the south for a solution that is affordable, economical and, best of all, immediately do-able.


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