710 freeway extension bill passes Assembly

June 10, 2011|By Bill Kisliuk,

One battle in the war over the proposed extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway may soon be over. A bill by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles) to restore South Pasadena’s power to block a surface freeway through town has passed in the Assembly and is awaiting action in the Senate.

South Pasadena, along with Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge and other nearby communities, is opposed to an extension of the 710 Freeway from its Alhambra terminus to the Foothill (210) Freeway.

Proponents say the link is needed to speed truck traffic from the Port of Los Angeles to inland transportation hubs. Area residents are concerned about construction disruption, traffic, air pollution and costs for the long-planned but never-funded project. South Pasadena is particularly concerned, as the shortest route connecting the 710 and 210 freeways is a 4.5-mile course through the city.


Cedillo’s measure restores South Pasadena’s right to block construction if the highway were to be built at or above ground level. That right is enjoyed by all cities in the state except South Pasadena, according to Cedillo’s office.

In 1982, during another skirmish over the project, language undermining South Pasadena’s right was added to the state’s Streets and Highways Code, according to South Pasadena Mayor Mike Ten.

Restoring the city’s authority would not kill the 710 Freeway extension, since the likely scenario under consideration by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is a tunnel under Alhambra and South Pasadena. An analysis of Cedillo’s bill in the Assembly determined that if it passes, “proponents hope to allay South Pasadena's opposition to the tunnel alternative.”

Ten, who supports Cedillo’s bill, said the measure should not be seen as a way to soften opposition to the tunnel.

“This may have roots in the 710 fight, but it’s more about an individual city’s rights,” Ten said.

But the measure would ensure that MTA’s ongoing feasibility studies fully examine the environmental impacts of a tunnel, he added.

“We don’t want [the study] tainted by saying, ‘We can half-heartedly look at a tunnel, but we know we can always force a surface freeway through,” Ten said.


Glendale may cut its $7,300-a-month lobbying contract with Washington-based Ferguson Group because of local and federal budget constraints.

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