Some data on traffic and environmental impacts are conflicting. Environmental studies from 1990 have shown that the proposed tunnel would reduce traffic congestion on Interstate 5 and the 134 and 2 freeways. Yet the same study states that a completed 710 Freeway would attract 30,000 more vehicles onto the 210 each day.
Adding to the public morass, a poll released a few weeks ago found that Glendale residents favored the tunnel by a 2-1 margin. This despite repeated public statements from some of our own elected officials claiming that the project wouldn’t fly with local residents.
In reality, a survey of 200 residents has little significance. It does not prove that Glendale residents want the tunnel. Polls are often conducted to predict elections or certain ballot measures to help direct political or public relations campaigns. They are not appropriate for gauging support of and pushing a public works project that will affect the quality of life in an entire region.
The issue at hand is quality of life, yet without the right type of debate and a dissemination of quality information, it’s unclear how the tunnel will affect the lives of future generations.
Many areas and neighborhoods I have visited in the Los Angeles area have great histories, yet their current economic and environmental state is depressing at best. At some point, politicians, developers and industrialists must have made some key decisions that adversely affected the development and future of those cities and neighborhoods. Many of those areas will never be revived.
“I can’t vote for or against the project when I have nothing to look at,” Councilman Dave Weaver said last week as the City Council prepared to officially oppose the 710 Freeway tunnel.