710 supporter opposes plan to expand Avenue 64
By André Coleman 08/02/2012
The chair of an influential group that supports the idea of connecting the Long Beach (710) Freeway and the Foothill (210) Freeway on Monday called a proposal to link the two roads by building a tunnel underneath Avenue 64 in West Pasadena or turning the residential street into a major highway “utter folly.”
“I understand the angst of the people living in those neighborhoods,” 710 Freeway Coalition Chair Nat Read told the Weekly. “I think it is utter folly to think of any route other than the shortest distance connecting the two stubs. I think it has stirred up all sorts of concerns among neighborhoods where the freeway will never go.”
In the 1960s, Caltrans seized hundreds of properties in Pasadena, South Pasadena and the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles through eminent domain in order to connect the two freeways over land. But three years ago, the overland route was pretty much shelved, due to lack of federal funding, at which time regional transit officials conceived a 4.5-mile-long tunnel to run underneath South Pasadena and Pasadena as part of a longer route connecting the two freeways.
However, plans to connect the two freeways via Avenue 64, which runs through the San Rafael neighborhood of Pasadena, have come under fire by the West Pasadena Residents’ Association. WPRA members appeared before the Pasadena City Council Monday night to denounce any plans that would take the freeway extension through their neighborhoods.
Residents in that area last week delivered a strongly worded letter to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) CEO Art Leahy, Caltrans District 7 Director Michael Miles and other top transit officials, opposing the plan for the tunnel from Alhambra through South Pasadena and parts of West Pasadena.
“Signs are going up around the neighborhoods to inform the community,” said Association President William Urban. The City Council is expected to formally take up the issue at its meeting Monday “We will continue to turn up our efforts as time goes by, and we will continue to reach out to city, county and state officials.”