A key insight of Beyond the 710 is to understand that more than 85% of commuters exiting the 710 Freeway at Valley Boulevard are intent on reaching local destinations. The on-going debate of a tunnel under homes and businesses in South Pasadena and surrounding cities is a 1960s era solution, says the group.
A "21st century mobility strategy" should include improved public transportation, biking lanes, and pedestrian friendly streets.
The organization called on LA County Metro and CalTrans on Thursday to scrap the tunnel plans and make major adjustments.
“For too long, the debate over the 710 freeway has been fought with a 20th Century mindset that emphasizes more highways and all of the congestion and pollution that comes with them,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank).
Damage to communities and costs of completing the tunnel are reasons to abandon the project said various members of Beyond the 710. Pasadena's city council has voted to oppose the tunnel in lieu of better north-south connectivity options.
“While the 710 Tunnel would cost many billions of dollars and not promote economic development at all, Beyond the 710’s plan would create thousands of long-term jobs, promote sustainable growth, and create opportunities for new housing and recreation,” said John Harabedian, councilmember of the City of Sierra Madres. “It’s based on four pillars of modern planning: community-serving transit, congestion reduction, Great Streets concepts that encourage bike use and walking, and managing traffic demand.”
Not everyone is impressed, especially those with the City of Alhambra. In a quote in the Los Angeles Times, Alhambra's vice mayor, Barbara Messina, said it would be "unconscionable" to disrupt the process of time and money spent on the tunnel.
Messina referred to the options proposed by Beyond the 710 as “politics" and it would not do enough to solve the challenges of street congestion and air pollution.
Link to the Beyond the 710 website for full plan details and economic studies.