Representatives of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reported the results of a study of how a tunnel extending the Long Beach (710) Freeway from Alhambra to Pasadena would impact La Cañada Flintridge and other communities along the Foothill (210) Freeway, where truck and vehicle traffic would increase.
Councilman Stephen Del Guercio said that the report used broad statements to address the environmental effect of increased traffic.
Council members expressed concern that connecting the freeways will dump about "2,500 more cars in the peak direction," — according to the report — during rush hour on to the Foothill (210) Freeway, causing noise and health problems for the community.
Increased health problems for school-aged children are of special concern to council members, since the city's schools are clustered near the freeway.
Traffic wasn't the only problem Mayor Greg Brown had with the report's findings.
He pointed out Tuesday that by only considering cars traveling "in the peak direction," the transportation officials had placed a "disturbing spin" on the findings and cut the amount of possible increased traffic nearly in half.
Brown asked if other aspects of the study had been spun.
A feasibility report revealed in June found the tunnel extending the freeway under South Pasadena was technologically and environmentally feasible, which prompted the council to ask City Manager Mark Alexander to measure the environmental effect of the proposed tunnel on the community.
Pressed by Del Guercio, Sam Tso, a representative from the consulting firm that conducted the study, said Tuesday that the study did not include an in-depth environmental-impact report.
The Southern California Assn. of Governments has included a 710 Freeway extension in its Regional Transportation Plan since 1989 and it its Regional Transportation Improvement Plan since 1991, according to the feasibility study.
The association, the California Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the transportation authority support completing the extension to relieve regional and local traffic congestion and to enhance air quality, according to the study.