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605 Corridor Improvement Project

Metro Postpones 605 Freeway Widening Project Community Meetings

Metro had announced corridor-wide 605 Freeway Corridor Improvement Project meetings would take place June-July 2023, but this week pushed them back to Fall-Winter 2023

Visualization of Downey homes threatened by Metro and Caltrans 5 Freeway widening – via segregation_by_design Instagram

Remember Metro and Caltran's proposed 605 Freeway Corridor Improvement Project? It's a $5+billion 12+mile project that would widen the 605, 5, 10, 60, and 105 Freeways, including tearing down homes, apartments, businesses, and more - including in Downey, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, Pellissier Village, and Avocado Heights.

In March, Metro announced it was planning to host 605CIP "corridor-wide community meetings" in "June-July 2023." Now, halfway through July with no meetings announced, Metro posted a new 605CIP project status report that states the community meetings have been pushed back to "Fall/Winter 2023."

Metro July status report on 605 Corridor Improvement Project - now states "Corridor-wide community meetings (Fall/Winter 2023)" - via Metro presentation. Compare to March 2023 status.

Back in 2020, Metro and Caltrans announced that the 605CIP would demolish hundreds of homes mostly along the 5 Freeway, also along the 605 and 60. Threatened communities sounded the alarm, and the board directed Metro staff to come up with less harmful alternatives, doing so in conjunction with outreach to project stakeholders.

For the past two and a half years, there have been no Metro community outreach meetings for the 605CIP, though Metro has been meeting behind closed doors with governmental entities generally supportive of widening.

Metro staff have made a couple of 605CIP presentations at sparsely publicized Council of Government committee meetings. In January and February 2021, Metro staff shared a vague outline of project revisions, which reduced project demolitions, but still appeared to include hundreds. An April 2022 Metro presentation included even less detail.

Metro's public statements do point to greatly improved new 605CIP designs. A 2020 Metro statement that noted that "freeways... built through minority communities" are not part of Metro's "building a better future." Metro canceled approved demolitions along the lower 710 and 91 Freeways. Last year, Metro announced it was funding "highway projects... on SR-91 and I-605, all done within existing freeway corridors - meaning there is no need for relocations." A January 2023 Metro 605CIP memo notes that new project alternatives "reduce or avoid" demolitions "significantly, or by several orders of magnitude," while adding "multimodal improvements."

Metro and Caltrans have spent a couple years coming up their new 605CIP plans. It's not clear what the latest three to six month delay indicates. But it is nonetheless a respite for the people who live, work, play, or go to school at sites that had been targeted for demolition, and for the already pollution-burdened communities along the corridor.

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