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YUCK, the TRUCKS: How People Power Is Killing 710 Freeway Extension and Winning the Fight for Sane Transit Solutions

On Tuesday at LA City Council Chamber before a sea of NO 710 red shirts, the spike likely will finally be driven into the money-sucking heart of a freeway nobody wants.

It has taken more than 50 years of community efforts and every time it appears dead, a new 710 Gap proposal comes to life just as it has once again in recent months.

What was different this time, why the extension from Alhambra to Pasadena, will finally be buried once and for all is the amazing efforts of ordinary people from the affluent San Rafael neighborhood and the guardians of Old Pasadena’s values to the historic Latino community of Garvanza in LA as well as Highland Park and El Sereno among other neighborhoods to the south.

Armed with research that exposed what this is all about — moving hundreds of trucks spewing exhaust fumes from the ports to the north and northwest, not relieving congestion for the residents and businesses in the region — community leaders along the 710 corridor pulled together, flexed their muscles in public meetings and rallies and showed just how weak and cynical the power structure.

All they want is people’s money to redistribute it to consultants, contractors, labor unions even if they destroy the quality of hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. Their greed has no respect for people, their money or the environment.

So in the face of a firestorm of negative publicity, MTA staff killed seven of the most obnoxious proposals for the 710 off the table and left one freeway extension plan — F-7 the staggeringly costly 4.5 mile tunnel from the 10 to the 210, the longest tunnel in America.

On Monday, an LA City Council committee unanimously added opposition to even that proposal to five other freeway plans already in its motion of condemnation.

The action sets the stage for the issue to be taken up at Tuesday’s full Council meeting he public’s money and they will take find out just how badly the downtown political machine wants another 30 years of taxes that would be mortgaged at a steep discount to and used now to make today’s crop of second-rate politicians look good and stay in office.

Getting the issue to the Council floor wasn’t easy.

The Pasadena City Council which called a special meeting, put the MTA on the carpet and let an overflow crowd of 500 tear apart the 710 plans before voting unanimously to oppose them.

The LA City Council reluctantly put a resolution of opposition on the calendar last Friday because Northeast LA (and now downtown) Councilman Jose Huizar feared his constituents were mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.

But his superiors in high places ordered him to pull the resolution and send it back to the Transportation Committee that had waived it to allow them time to try to massage the message and to deny the dozens of community activists who had trekked to City Hall to be heard about what a horrorshow the 710 would mean to their community and the whole Arroyo Seco.

To Huizar’s credit or more likely the power structure’s realization that pushing the 710 extension could bring down Measure J, the sales tax extension to 2069, the committee added to its list of undesirables plan F-7, the only one the MTA ever took seriously. All the rest were nothing but distractions.

What the power structure wants is a toll road tunnel that will get cars off of other freeways to make room for the trucks from the ports or to speed the trucks to the 210 to go north or west to the 215 and regions far away. But they will not jeopardize tens of billions of dollars for the subway-to-the-sea and the skyscraper developments it will bring just to destroy the environment along the 710 corridor for the benefit of truckers.

Their miscalculation is these communities have gotten organized and know what they want.

In the techno-parlance of the MTA, they want “multi-modal” solutions to traffic congestion — rapid buses, jitneys, bike paths, anything that doesn’t poison the air and gets people from where they are to where they want to go.

It’s called a public transit SYSTEM — something the MTA still doesn’t understand.

This entry was posted in 2012 Election, 2013 Election, 2013 LA Elections, City Hall, Community Activists, Glendale-Burbank, Hot Topics, LA County, Los Angeles, Transportation and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to YUCK, the TRUCKS: How People Power Is Killing 710 Freeway Extension and Winning the Fight for Sane Transit Solutions

  1. Teddy says:

    Hurray – cities are for people and families who need fresh air
    wherever they can find it!!!!!, BRAVO…

    Thank you, Ron Kaye. You are a breath of fresh air. Please
    do not stop writing. We need you.

  2. NoFWYNoTunnelNoWhere says:

    Thank you Ron. Thank you for a complete summary of the disasterous tunnel and freeway plans of Metro & Caltrans. Metro thought this would go away with the elimination of a few routes. No, communities are TOGETHER, and will stay together until these tunnels and freeways/highways are dead once and for all. There are better alternatives such as RAIL, and multi-model to move the goods. Adding more lanes and more freeways are not 21st century solutions.

    Stan Clark
    Pasadena, CA

  3. Vicki says:

    You have told the complete truth, Mr. Kaye. There is a sentiment out there that now that the San Rafael and Garvanza areas of Pasadena and Los Angeles are “safe” we will “calm down” and stop resisting. This could not be further from the truth. We will stand for what we believe and know. We will not back down and disappear. As Teddy says, please do not stop writing the truth about this issue. We need you.

  4. MB says:

    Thank you for telling it like it is!
    It’s all for the truckers and the ports.
    Us folks in Pasadena could not have rallied with out the support of all the
    great people in Garvanza, Highland Park, El Sereno and South Pasadena.
    Please keep on writing to get our message across.MB

  5. rtdbum says:

    Well done! Mr. Kaye. Please keep writing and exposing the truth for us. The community will not relent until extension of 710 is dead.

  6. Cheryl says:

    Thank You, Mr. Kaye. We need to continue to educate our neighbors in other surrounding communities as well, like Altadena.

  7. Sam Burgess says:

    Well said, Mr. Kaye.

    A minor quibble. The City of South Pasadena has, over the many years, spent a million plus $’s successfully stopping this montrosity. Metro’s unintended wake-up call to the people of Highland Park, Garvanza & Pasadena was and is a great bonus to those of us who have been fighting the extension for many years.

    Your are correct about Jose Huizar. If you listen carefully to his comments at the Council meeting you will realize that he and the City Council gave themeselves an out. All it will take for the City Council to change their vote to one of support is for Metro to move the proposed southern 710 portal out of El Sereno (Los Angeles) and into Alhambra/Monterey Park.

    Let’s be honest. The 710 was 1st proposed about 1959. In that entire 60+ years EVERY councilmember to represent El Sereno & N.E. Los Angeles has strongly supported the 710 extension. Today, those representatives who support the 710 and also represent El Sereno & N.E. Los Angeles include Congressman Xavier Becerra, State Senator Kevin DeLeon, State Assemblymember Gil Cedillo; County Supervisior Gloria Molina and, of course, Jose Huizar.

    If the 710 extension is built in any form or in any direction the community of El Sereno as we now know it will cease to exist. El Sereno has long been considered acceptable collateral damage.

  8. janet says:

    The PPP (public/private partnership) that Caltrans and Metro would promote to finance the tunnel would appeal to those foreign investors primarily concerned with moving goods from the ports to the Wallmarts accross the US. They would charge heafty tolls that commuters couldn’t pay, and the tolls for trucks would mean added costs to everything carried by the trucks. This is their strategy to try to compete with the soon to be completed expansion of the Panama Canal.
    For what it would cost to build and maintain a tunnel, we could have a great inter-connected light rail system throughout LA County to help us commuters.
    Shipping containers must be put onto heavy rail. That would take the trucks off of our freeways.

  9. Thanks for saying it so succinctly and plainly. This 710 concept was created in the 1950s when no one thought about the future, and security and comfort were the hallmarks of the day. We continue to pay for those ill-conceived policy decisions that worshiped the automobile and subjugated community spirit. In the 2010s, we care about sustainability, the future, social/economic responsibility, our interconnectedness, environmental stewardship, and responsible resource management. This fight represents the clash of 1950s and 2010s concepts. Policy makers embracing the old style of thinking will fail.

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