Local Blasts City Council's 710 Views

In a letter to San Marino City Manager John Schaefer, local Petrea Burchard criticized the "old-fashioned thinking" of the San Marino City Council's view that the 710 freeway extension tunnel is a good idea.

The and alternatives have been and continue to be a heated topic as locals have weighed in on the possible effects of different options.

Author , who has contributed to Patch and also runs the blog Pasadena Daily Photo, shared her criticism of the San Marino City Council's views of the 710 freeway tunnel extension in a letter to City Manager John Schaefer Wednesday morning. She gave Patch permission to share the following letter:

Dear Mr. Schaefer,

Do I read this right? The City Council of San Marino thinks the 710 Freeway Extension tunnel through South Pasadena and Pasadena is a good idea?

Is San Marino not in proximity to South Pasadena and Pasadena?

Do you not breathe the same air as we do?

Will your air somehow escape the pollution?

Will your businesses not suffer?

Will your property values not plummet?

You do. They will.

Not to mention that a freeway and its tunnel are ideas straight out of the 1950s, and access to the the fuels to operate them is receding faster than you can say "electric rail."

I'm shocked at the old-fashioned thinking of the San Marino City Council.

Petrea Burchard Sandel

What do you think of Petrea's letter? Are you in favor of or opposed to a 710 freeway tunnel extension in the area? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Donald W September 13, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Last time I checked, cars emit pollution whether they are driving on a freeway or whether they are forced into city streets because the 710 deadends abruptly in Alhambra. In fact, cars emit more pollution in the stop and go of city streets than they do moving at freeway speeds. The only old fashioned thinking here appears to come from the letter writer who's reasoning appears to come from the No-Growth mindset of the 1970s, where the attitude was "If you don't build it, maybe they won't come". They are here. It needs to be built and NIMBY excuses wont solve the problem..
Paula shatsky September 13, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Maybe you need to check out the venting issues that have 't. been properly addressed by Metro. Gigantic , hideous towers will be popping up all over my neighborhood, belching out poisonous gases 24/7 from the tunnel , i tithe surrounding communities. We already have poor air quality as it is. This ill conceived project wi Insure that when all of San Marino and the rest and the rest of us surrounding it open our front doors every morning, the air will look, feel, smell and BE just like the air in FONTANA. Your McMansions will be worth a less after that happens. Paula Shatsky
Joya Roy September 13, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I fully support what the article's author is saying. We need to move away from relying on toxic trucks transporting our goods and make better use of rail.
Tom Williams September 13, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Last Night the council were reconsidering their support for the earlier 2006 deep bored road tunnel. It was pointed out that 1) the MTA/CT ARE NOT going to do the Parsons-Brinckerrhoff-2006 tunnel system, NOR that of CH2M/Hill-2011 and 2) the remaining MTA/CT Alternative "Tunnel" F-7. But will it really be a "tunnel" - CT/MTA has defined tunnel to include "Cut-And-Cover" tunnel along the old Meridian/Central Route, probably with an interchange at Huntington Dr. to serve the central San Gabriel Valley commuters. OBTW, alternatives were recommended during 710 Scoping to improve our N-S arterials and provide corridors for tandem buses and improved commuter services between the North and South Gold Lines BUT those didn't make it to the alternatives development-either Caltrans or Metro didn't like them and took them out. Others came back to one question - Trucks/No Trucks - current designs are for Trucks (>16ft clearance,>12ft lane width) ratherr than cars only 12ftx 22ft), therefore we will get TRUCKS. But the supporter said: "Oh No the trucks won't go on the SR-710 but will stay, multiply, and dominate I-5...BUT CT/MTA simply bans trucks from I-5, make some more "Express" (=TOLL) Lanes on the downtwon I-5, and toll Trucks on 710 = $$$. Does SanMarinoCC trust CT, MTA, and Alhambrans??? Seems so, don't they know better...when are next elections. Simply asked MTA/CT to give SM real workshop on how to help SM traffic, what we need to do...or see federal court cases.
Charles Miller September 13, 2012 at 09:13 PM
A point not mentioned in the letter is a shared concern for all in L.A. County -- the 30 year tax extension needed to pay for it, the crushing debt brought by mortgaging that tax to fast track this and other projects (which tax payers will not be able to revoke), and the resulting high tolls that will push toll evaders right back onto the same San Marino streets, making the "solution" prosed here moot. Convince me that one city or few cities can justify the priority to spend the $11-15B L.A. County will ultimately be responsible for (For context, all of the State of California's deficit was $19B in May). Let's solve the State issues first before pushing through a project that puts money in consulting and contractors pockets right out of ours. Orange County tollways and Boston's $24B tunnel debt prove this out. This is our chance to learn from their mistakes before we repeat history.
Tom Williams September 13, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Some proposed alternatives over a year ago to improve the local and commuter bus systems and integrate with our two Gold Lines to help on the North/South commutes. What happen to them?? We don't know and only Caltrans and MTA did their selection out. We along the Huntington Drive are working out a an E-W program to improve Buses 70/71/76/78/79/81 schedules and frequency and to provide Park-N-Ride systems (similar but better than that at ElMonte) on Valley, Huntington, and Figueroa-Monterey Rd. So yeah we maybe old style - 1920s when the system worked but we're bringing it up to the 21st century rather than the 20th century antiquated pavement systems to reward Mike with his "Logistics" land-grab/speculation in Palmdale at our expense, Measure J coming to us in a few weeks.
GK September 13, 2012 at 09:16 PM
The argument that "it needs to built" make zero sense. Why would taxpayers from any community want to fund a toll tunnel that has been projected to cost as much as $18 billion to dig what might be the largest tunnel in U.S. history? Our entire state deficit is currently $19 billion. The 4.5 mile tunnel will not solve congestion. Metro's own admission is that if the tolls are too high drivers will not opt for the tunnel. They will continue to drive their current routes. Who will want to pay $3-$10 (cars) and up to $20 trucks to drive one-way in a 4.5 mile tunnel from El Sereno to the 210? The only safety exits will be ladders. All of the emissions will be collected and blown out at the ends of the tunnel in El Sereno and Pasadena. Guess what San Marino? Given the wind direction, you will be in the direct path of the ventilated vehicle exhaust of 190,000 vehicles per day. How can your electeds support a decline in the air you breathe daily? The list of communities and cities that oppose the tunnel is growing every day. The Los Angeles City Council just voted unanimously to oppose all highway and tunnel routes. This is not a NIMBY excuse. This is a NIABY (Not In Anyone's BackYard) argument. This is the 21st century. We need 21st century solutions that truly address congestion, create jobs, sustain growth, and keep our communities vibrant, healthy and economically viable. Welcome to the 21st century.
MD September 13, 2012 at 09:43 PM
If the tunnel is built in our backyard, it will not be used by the locals. With the proposed toll, we will all continue to use the local streets. The only reason I see this tunnel being built is to carry the truck traffic from the ports to out of LA. Does San Mario really want all that pollution in our backyard if the tunnel won't even benefit the locals? Please, let the cargo be taken out of the ports on a rail system and leave our beautiful communities alone.
Dr. Bill Sherman September 13, 2012 at 09:44 PM
If they build the Tunnel San Marino will not see a change in the traffic pattern in that City. If one is traveling to Long Beach the people of San Marino will enter at Valley and if they are going to Pasadena they will still be on surface Streets. What they will see is when they go to Cost Co or other stores goods will cost more because Shipping Companies will be paying tolls to use the Tunnel. The 10-15 Billion dollar cost is born by the public one way or another. If the people of San Marino do not pay LA County and State taxes, travel into Pasadena, never use the Huntington Memorial Hospital indeed the Tunnel is a good thing. Dr. Bill Sherman
J. Leon September 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I agree with the author. San Marino should be embarrassed. Out of all the ways to relieve congestion a tunnel is the best option? Are we in a position for the costs of this tunnel? I love the NIMBY approach they have. Yeah the cars are off the streets but the freeways are STOPPED at rush hour. What is being improved? If we got rid of the island full of trees in the middle of Huntington Drive and added an additional two lanes each side we could relieve the 210 and 10. This is a backwards approach to transportation. Get the trucks off the freeways during rush hour and introduce mass transit. Invest in the future. This November I'm voting against all 710 supporters. Sad that I must do this but this tunnel is going to cripple our state and destroy the San Gabriel Valley.
Jane Demian September 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM
The proposed 710 extension tunnel is a bad idea, and the San Marino City Council is wrong to support it. A toll will be charged to travel 4.5 miles, $8 for cars, $15 for trucks. Most likely cars will not pay the toll, so instead of relieving traffic congestion, the tunnel will be a throughway for trucks from the Ports who want to fasttrack up to the 210. The 210 is already jammed. After spending upwards of $12 billion for this tunnel, San Marino residents will find that pollution in their neighborhoods is worse, and traffic congestion has not been relieved at all, it will increase. San Marino, please be smart about this. There are better solutions.
Mimi September 14, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Basically the San Marino City Council, SMCC, trusted Metro's process and washed their hands of everything. No thinking or decision making necessary by the SMCC. After hearing Barbara Messina, Mayor of Alhambra, blast opposition comments, she said that all of our comments were too early in the game and the opposition doesn't know anything because Metro has not done the EIR phase yet. My husband commented that other neighboring cities to Pasadena and Alhambra like La Canada and Glendale have well studied and intelligent reports and mostly oppose the 710 completion. SMCC is asleep at the switch and don't need to think because they are just fulfilling the wishes of people like Assemblyman Mike Eng who supports completion of the 710.
Mimi September 14, 2012 at 03:06 AM
My husband and I have been residents of San Marino for over 20 years and we oppose the completion of the 710. I wish the SMCC had informed the residents of San Marino of Metros plans for the 710 extension by having workshops to inform their constituents. The few issues I have approached the SMCC in the past have always been met with dismissiveness and or disinterest. Unfortunately I live here.
Tao September 14, 2012 at 04:58 AM
@Donald W Do yourself a favor and start researching the issue in depth before you add your 2 cents. I suggest you first look into “megastructures” – you will find that tunnels such as the TWO they are proposing can end up having to switch direction during construction if they run into unforeseen issues they wish to avoid. With the very limited core samplings they did, there is a possibility such unknowns will end up diverting the tunnel through Alhambra and San Marino. Second, now that the tunnel may end up under (or close to) a house in San Marino, don’t think you can just sell and run. Did you know that, do to “subsidence”, Insurance companies wont insure a house located over and within a certain distance of a tunnel? If the tunnels end up near your home, not only will you loose your insurance, but prospective buyers can't attain insurance to cover your house should they be so foolish as to want to buy it.
GK September 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM
The mayors of Alhambra and San Marino demonstrated their clear lack of understanding at the meeting when they said our comments were premature because the EIR hasn't started yet. Metro has started the EIR process. They have already nearly completed one phase and will be moving into the next phase shortly. The Mayor of San Marino fell asleep during Metro's Technical Advisory Meeting on August 29th when CHM 2Hill and Metro were presenting their EIR Alternatives Analysis. Perhaps if he would have stayed awake he would have understood we are in the EIR process now. Kudos to the other city councils that have taken a more thoughtful and informed approach to their deliberations on the SR 710 EIR.
Patrizzi Intergalactica September 14, 2012 at 04:13 PM
I think there are people in San Marino that need Huntington Memorial Hospital. Like Dr. Sherman says, that is going to change because of the tunnel, and tunnel construction. Residents of San Marino, call your city hall!
Tom Williams September 14, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Central FOCUS - Measure J and its defeat Measure R had limits which the economy, Caltrans, and MTA don't like because it makes them work hard for our money. Wealthy westside sucks the money out...here on the east side we proposed the Light Rail connectors under/along Rosemead or San Gabriel, the Bus Rapid Transit, and local arterial improvements (all the projects usually put in MTA's call ofr projects, every two years, 2013, yes) to make what we have work better...get it started now rather than in three years, have it done with local Public Works Depts, local small-medium contractors employing local workers...but that doesn't help Caltrans and MTA fund their own contractors and employees - $37+M for consultants...1/3 of total budget for the 2013 Call for Projects for ALL LACo. SO KILL Measure J...they can come back later...and SAVE our cities and our streets from Caltrans and MTA, and Tutor Saliba, Keiwits, Worley/Parsons-Brinckerhoff, and CH2MHill We can get/do better without Measure J.
Sam Burgess September 14, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Back in 1948-49 the State Division of Highways proposed State Route 167. This highway ran from approximately Garvey Ave. & Atlantic Blvd north (on Atlantic) and then as it crossed Huntington Dr., it continued north on Garfield Ave. to the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway). Garfield Ave. is the boundary line seperating San Marino & South Pasadena. These cities opposed the highway proposal. Jump ahead about 10-15 years and the proposed Long Beach Freeway (710) and you have-- A 2 question quiz: #1: What city now says a freeway is desperately needed? #2: How do you properly pronounce NIMBY'ism? Please complete your answers in the comment box below.
Sam Burgess September 14, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Hmmm....Let's see.... In order for the 710 Tunnel Extension to become reality voters must vote in support of Measure J--a tax. Dare we say it? San Marino will support a 30 year tax!!!
ABA September 14, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Excellent! We agree one hundred percent GK. We were at the San Marino CC meeting in our red shirts and buttons and were astonished at the lack of inquiry or "let's look into this before we vote" mentality by the city council members. You would have not have believed what the mayor of Alhambra stated regarding the "tubes or stacks" coming out of the ground. . . "well, they can be cleaned and sterilzed daily so that there would be no polution " . Keep up the great work everyone. This is by no means over and we must continue to fight for our community . . .Art Aviles - Pasadena
Petrea Burchard September 14, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Some people think it's okay to destroy history, neighborhoods and homes, and to not properly compensate people for those homes, just because they want to cut a few minutes off their commute.
Tina Gulotta-Miller September 14, 2012 at 11:22 PM
First of all No on Measure J. Please see our FB page....No on Measure J as well as No 710 Freeway Extension. We have documents from Metro and news articles regarding the SR-710 Extension. Our forum of members are well informed and include individuals that have engineering degrees. Some have worked for Parsons and have built tunnels all over the world. We have neurological specialists and health technicians from the communities on the health effects of the project to the people's living around this nightmare. If you want to join our discussion, please do so. We welcome the community of Alhambra to join our pages and share their concerns with us even if they differ. We would appreciate a dialogue with your community.
Tina Gulotta-Miller September 14, 2012 at 11:45 PM
....and we would love to hear from the San Marino constituents about the 710 in our forums on Facebook. Please see Facebook pages above. No on Measure J
EagleRockMom September 20, 2012 at 04:10 AM
I live in Eagle Rock and have been following the 710 issue for years. I am vehemently against the freeway expansion because it is bad for all foothill communities. No on Measure J.


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