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Mailbag: Wait for engineer input on 710 plan

May 28, 2010

An editorial in the May 23 edition of the Los Angeles Times discussed the controversy over extending the 710 Freeway from Alhambra to one of three freeways to the north, probably to the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena.

The editorial stated that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority would meet to consider whether to approve a study of project alternatives. It indicated that a surface extension was essentially off the table due to insurmountable opposition from various quarters. It explained that, if the extension is to be done, a tunnel is the only viable option.

The News-Press has carried a number of stories about the opposition to an extension of the 710 Freeway by Mayor Ara Najarian ("Najarian fights 710 idea," May 27) and other Glendale City Council members. In their public comments they have based their opposition on the concerns of residents in the Crescenta Valley that the extension would cause an increase in truck traffic on the 210 Freeway.


I agree with the Los Angeles Times' characterization of the increased-traffic argument as being "a bit bizarre." The Times noted that completion of the freeway connection could not help but have an overall effect of reducing congestion and pollution in the Los Angeles Basin.

I don't understand the compelling interest that requires the city of Glendale to be involved in this dispute at this time. The tunnel may be impractical or too costly, but the sum of its effects on Glendale would seem likely to be positive rather than negative.

It would provide improved freeway access for Glendale residents having San Gabriel Valley destinations or having southerly destinations served by the 710 Freeway. While it would undoubtedly increase truck traffic on the 210 Freeway in north Glendale, a compensating reduction in truck traffic should occur on the more congested I-5 Freeway in south Glendale.

I can't imagine that anyone in a position of responsibility with regard to transportation issues would be against the project based on the potential increased usage of one of the least congested freeways in the L.A. Basin — the 210 Freeway in Crescenta Valley.

Najarian's passionate opposition must have more to do with concerns about cost and safety than congestion. Opposition grounded on these concerns is premature.

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