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Residents voice 710 plan concerns

Metro officials bring locals up to speed on what's going on with possible extension.

February 26, 2011|By Megan O'Neil
(File Photo )

Traffic congestion, safety hazards and air and noise pollution topped a list of concerns put forth by community members Saturday at a public outreach meeting on the proposed Long Beach (710) Freeway gap closure project.

The meeting, which drew about two dozen people to Glendale Community College, was the last of six hosted by Metro during the past 10 days. The goal was to bring residents of Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, South Pasadena and northeast Los Angeles – communities that would be impacted by the 710 project – up to speed on the history of growth and mass transportation in the region, as well as to develop discussion “themes” for future meetings, said Metro spokesperson Helen Ortiz Gilstrap.

Attendees were led through a brain-storming session wherein they identified daily transportation concerns, and possible solutions.

The project would connect the Long Beach (710) and Foothill (210) freeways, possibly by a 4.5-mile long underground tunnel, between Alhambra and Pasadena.

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Metro is planning a second series of meetings – which kick off Tuesday at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena – to detail the environmental studies, known as CEQA/NEPA. And a third series of meetings will be used to gather public input for “scoping” purposes, required as part of the environmental review process approved last spring by the MTA.

Metro announced the meetings earlier this month to much criticism with opponents characterizing them as a waste of time and money. Los Angeles County transportation officials plan to push for the project despite resistance from the cities of La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, Glendale and others, critics said.

“We have learned from the geotechnical meetings that it is just their attempt at outreach with falls extremely short,” said Susan Bolan, a La Crescenta resident and a member of the No 710 Action Committee. “We haven't even officially entered scoping and we see this as a touchy feely we-are-going-to-tell-you-how-it-is sort of thing. We are not taking them seriously, but we want to be here representing our point of view.”

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