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A Sustainable Ending for the 710 Tunnel Debate – Let’s Build Light Rail for Everyone

The Orange Line is the proposed light rail line to be built instead of the 710 Connector Project.  Image by Carlos Vazquez
The Orange Line is the proposed light rail line to be built instead of the 710 Connector Project. Image by Carlos Vazquez

The never-ending debate over whether or not to “complete” SR-710 so that it connects with the 210 provides a  great opportunity to create a sustainable option for the 710 Tunnel.  Instead of a tunnel designed to move trucks and cars, we need to create a light rail alternative that connects the region’s biggest job centers with the poorest, transit dependent communities.  Yes, let’s build a light rail alternative between Long Beach and Pasadena!

This public transportation line will connect Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, East Los Angeles, City of Commerce, Maywood, Bell, South Gate, and Long Beach. This is a much needed North-South connector that can rival the Long Beach Blue line, one on the heaviest used light rail lines in the nation. This rail line will connect the Blue Line, Green Line, and East Los Angeles and Pasadena Gold Lines.  Moving around the region via transit would be much easier and more people would be attracted to our transit system.

This Long Beach/Pasadena North-South light rail line can connect to the San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange County Metro Link Lines.  In addition the rail line can also connect to the Anaheim and San Diego future high-speed stops, alleviating some of the pressure from Union Station.

A closer look at the Northeast part of the line.  Image by Carlos Velasquez
A closer look at the Northeast part of the line. Image by Carlos Velasquez

Los Angeles is not a centralized city.  It is a spread out city and our public transportation system should reflect the way it’s residents move around the region. It’s silly to tell people to come downtown for public transportation connections when most of LA County residents have never been there!  This is one of the failures in LA is that all the public transportation rail connections are at Union Station.

Instead of building a four-mile tunnel for cars at the cost of billions, we should build a light rail line regional light rail line to service more people at half the cost.

This will bring much need investment through public transportation through the poorest part of the Los Angeles County. It can position Alhambra, Monterey Park and City of Commerce in becoming regional jobs centers by providing regional public transportation because of their central location in Los Angeles County.

This rail line will service LA’s County’s Asian, Latino, and African=American communities and create a multi cultural transit line.

With the price of gas reaching four to five dollars, driving a car will no longer be a sustainable option fiscally or environmentally.  Let’s create a sustainable, pedestrian, bike friendly system that is also good for the environment.   Let’s scrap the car tunnel and create light rail for everyone instead.

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