HomeCity NewsMetro Directors Reject 710 North Freeway Tunnel

Metro Directors Reject 710 North Freeway Tunnel

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Directors voted on Thursday, May 25 to recommend that over $700 million of available transportation funds be spent on a variety of transportation improvements to address traffic concerns at the northern end of the 710 freeway in Alhambra.

The unanimous decision, which identified the transportation system management option as the locally preferred alternative, brought an end to a decades-long debate about the demand for a freeway to connect the 710 freeway in Alhambra to the 210 freeway in Pasadena.

Metro Board Chairperson John Fasana cited the cost of the single-bore, two-level freeway tunnel, which is estimated at over $5 billion, as the primary reason to deny that option.

For Mayor Richard Sun of San Marino, a city that has endorsed the freeway option since 2012, the Metro decision was not welcome news.

San Marino Mayor Richard Sun told The Tribune that he felt “extremely disappointed to know that Metro dropped the tunnel option even though it is the recommended option.”

“I truly believe it is the way to solve the local congestion and air pollution. Any other options to solve the 710 matter, to me, is like scratching an itch through one’s boot,” he added.

The City of San Marino is a member of the 710 Coalition—along with the cities of Monterey Park, Rosemead, Alhambra, Downey, Cudahy and San Gabriel—which has advocated for a tunnel connection for several years.

San Marino resident and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger is a member of the Metro Board of Directors.

In a public statement released on May 29, Barger said, the Board’s decision would be “delivering something now for our communities that have been suffering for decades.“

“The Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management option (TSM/TDM), which we identified as the ‘Locally Preferred Alternative,’ will not solve all of the issues — but is an important first step in a process that will continue to play out with local input,” she added.

San Marino’s neighbor to the west, the City of South Pasadena, was a vocal opponent of the 710 freeway tunnel due to proposal that indicated the connector freeway tunnel would pass directly underneath the city.

“After years of requesting better mobility for the region, the residents of South Pasadena and our C3 coalition partners are relieved to know that the SR-710 tunnel is now highly unlikely,” South Pasadena City Council Member Marina Khubesrian M.D. said in a public statement on the day of the Metro Board’s vote. “We look forward to working with all of the corridor cities to develop projects that will be better for their communities, relieve traffic and provide more options for people to travel to their homes, jobs, schools, and doctors’ appointments.”

San Marino resident Raymond Quan has followed the debate around the 710 for several years.

He told The Tribune that, at the end of the day, no one on either side of the debate made concessions.

“It is what it is,” he said of the decision.

Metro announced last month that it expects to release its final environmental impact study, which will detail the environmental impacts of the connector alternatives, in early 2018.

[This article was corrected on Monday, June 5 at 6:25 p.m. to reflect the accurate remarks of South Pasadena Council Member Marina Khubesrian, M.D.]


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