Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times
In a major step forward, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board voted to scrap a plan for an SR-710 tunnel, sidestepping the exorbitant costs and destructive effects of a 5.4-mile, 60-foot wide underground route. Without the looming tunnel, communities in the western San Gabriel Valley can finally pursue strategic, sustainable, multi-modal projects that will enhance mobility of the region.
The leaders of Connected Cities and Communities Coalition praised the vote as a forward-thinking and cost-effective solution for the region’s transportation needs. The coalition is a strategic partnership between the cities of Glendale, Pasadena, La Cañada-Flintridge, South Pasadena and Sierra Madre, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the No 710 Action Committee.
Ara Najarian, the Chairman of C3, a Member of Metro’s Board of Directors, and a Glendale City Councilmember said, “Today’s Metro board decision is a vote for healthy communities, fiscal responsibility and a 21st century approach to transportation in Los Angeles County. The time has come for us to move beyond this outdated project." Najarian continued by applauding “the leadership of Metro Board Chair John Fasana, who recognized that the tunnel was not viable, and that the millions of dollars designated for the project should be put to better use.”
According to Metro staff, approximately $730 million remains in the SR-710 fund appropriated in Measure R. Today’s vote directed $105 million of that fund to implement several smaller projects that are identified in Metro’s Transportation System Management and Transportation Demand Management reports.
The reports state that these projects are “designed to maximize the efficiency of the existing transportation system by improving capacity on the local street system and reducing the effects of bottlenecks and chokepoints.” The projects are relatively low-cost and low-impact. The remaining $625 million will be made available for new projects in the corridor communities, which will be developed collaboratively with Metro.
“The 710 Tunnel divides our communities in a time that we desperately need solidarity,” said Glendale Mayor Vartan Gharpetian. “I laud the leaders of Metro, and the Connected Cities and Communities Coalition for their ability to craft transportation projects that benefit all residents, not just the lucky few.”
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Information provided by Metro. Read their full press release here.