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Metro Board Votes to Kill 710 North Freeway Tunnel

Map of the canceled 710 North freeway tunnel project – via Metro

This morning the Metro board of directors voted to approve a motion that effectively kills the $6 billion 710 North freeway tunnel project. Under a motion introduced last week by board chair John Fasana, the Metro board supported putting several hundred million project dollars towards soundwalls, resurfacing, transit, signals, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements instead. These will be in the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena, Alhambra, La Cañada Flintridge, and the 90032 zip code, which is mostly the neighborhood of El Sereno within L.A.

Since last week, Fasana retooled his motion to ensure that projects in the central region (for this project, largely El Sereno and East L.A.) receive a fair share of funding.

Streetsblog readers likely know that, since the 1960s, there has been disagreement about closing the gap in the 710 freeway, with some pressing to finish the freeway and others fighting against it. See today's L.A. Times for a recap of the long history of the project.

The issue brought out a large number of people offering public comment. Two hours of public testimony saw a majority of voices against the tunnel, although numerous speakers supported it. Representatives of the cities of Monterey Park, Alhambra, and Rosemead spoke in favor of the tunnel. Representatives from South Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge, and Sierra Madre spoke against. Numerous residents from El Sereno and East L.A. opposed the tunnel and urged that their areas get a fair share of any 710 North funds that would be reallocated.

There was no board opposition to the motion, though several boardmembers acknowledged that the decision does have winners and losers. Some boardmembers acknowledged that communities at the stub ends of the freeway are facing adverse impacts from high volumes of traffic they experience. Long opposed to the tunnel, Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian nevertheless said that "no one should gloat about this."

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