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Los Angeles County, CA March 6, 2007 Election
Smart Voter

San Gabriel Valley Transportation Options

By David L. Margrave

Candidate for Council Member; City of South Pasadena

This information is provided by the candidate
Whether and how a 710 Freeway Extension should be constructed is of major concern to all of us living in the Foothill communities. Proponents in Alhambra and Monterey Park claim that the Extension will:

1) facilitate growth and development, 2) generate sales tax revenue, 3) relieve traffic congestion, and 4) reduce smog.

These claims are simply not true. This thinking is inconsistent with the realities of existing local street and freeway flows, environmental impacts, and population densities preferred by most San Gabriel Valley residents. Traffic on the 210 Freeway is already backed up both east and west of the 134 Freeway. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has stated that the 710+134+210 intersection would be rated "F" from Day 1, whether via an extension, tunnel or otherwise. (An F rating indicates clogged freeway.) Elected officials in Alhambra and Monterey Park don't seem to concern themselves with costs to neighboring communities, just the supposed benefits for themselves. If elected officials in Alhambra and Monterey Park were really concerned about traffic, they would limit development within their communities.

As an elected official of the small, beautiful City of South Pasadena, my concern is weighing the cost and benefits of all local transportation issues. The original proposal of putting a freeway down Los Robles was not popular with the residents of San Marino. Los Angeles didn't like the option of running the 710 Freeway along the Arroyo to the Colorado Bridge. I am sympathetic to these concerns. A surface freeway will destroy historic districts, schools, parks and open space in all affected communities.

MTA CEO Roger Snoble stated, "With advanced tunneling technology, the 710 Tunnel could go anywhere." But a 710 Freeway Tunnel which could pass beneath Los Angeles, San Marino or South Pasadena is fraught with technological construction risks (like the collapses during and subsequent to the "Big Dig" in Massachusetts) and would endanger many of the same schools, historic districts and parks. The Tunnel option would bring 100-foot smoke stacks spewing toxins and creating smog, yet not even provide an on-ramp for the affected citizens. The astronomical scope and expense of a tunnel makes it especially vulnerable to contractor error, shortcuts, miscalculations, cost overruns and funding short-falls. Those living along the Gold Line and near-by hillsides know how the burdens of these tradeoffs transferred an environmentally unacceptable circumstance to their properties permanently. The Tunnel option is far more complex. At best, the Tunnel would channel 300,000 cars and trucks to then surface and exacerbate congestion for our good neighbors in Pasadena, Arcadia, Burbank, Glendale, and La Canada.

The Parsons Brinkerhoff Tunnel Study indicated that any tunnel in any location would cost $5+ billion. But we all know that $5 billion could be better spent on light-rail expansion connecting the Bob Hope and Ontario Airports. Just as the Internet reduced traffic by facilitating working at home, expanding light rail options rather than freeways will encourage more environmentally beneficial transportation alternatives and incentives for the San Gabriel Valley and Greater Los Angeles.

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