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Metro and Caltrans Still Planning 605 Expansion, Plus Four Connecting Freeways

Metro and Caltrans are planning to spend billions of dollars widening the 605, 5, 10, 60 and 105 Freeways. Really.

Metro Project Manager Carlos Montes explaining a 605 Freeway Corridor Improvement Project alternative that would widen the 605 from ten lanes to twelve. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetblog

Metro is hosting a series of five community meetings where they answer questions and receive comments on the agency's proposed 605 Corridor Improvement Project which would expand the 605, 5, 10, 60 and 105 Freeways.

Downey City Councilmember Claudia Frometa addressing last night's meeting

Last night's meeting started with remarks from Downey City Councilmember Claudia Frometa who claimed that "this [605CIP] project will reduce pollution". Frometa claims that pollution would decrease, "because by having more lanes we increase the traffic flow and we reduce vehicles idling on the freeway" and added that the project would be "promoting alternative transportation options like biking and walking."

Frometa also asserted that adding more lanes will reduce freeway noise - due to better sound walls - and will mean "less traffic coming through" and reduced wear and tear on "our streets."

No, honorable Ms. Frometa. No past freeway expansion has ever produced these results and it is clear this one will not. Expanding freeways worsens air and noise pollution, and generates more car traffic, meaning more wear and tear.

From there, Metro Project Manager Carlos Montes delivered a presentation on Metro's current 605CIP plans, covering specifics mostly available on the project storymap website. After the presentation, Montes responded to attendee questions, frequently responding that it is "too early" to provide project specifics.

605CIP presentation last night notes "some partial acquisitions might be needed, but no residential relocations are required"

In 2023, Metro staff announced that the 605CIP would have "no residential displacements" which was a massive reversal of the hundreds of homes and apartment building demolitions Metro announced in 2020. But last night Metro seemed to be slightly backing off its no demolitions pledge with qualified statements including "some partial acquisitions might be needed, but no residential relocations are required" and a confusing (or typo) assertion that Metro and Caltrans will "avoid residential property relocations to zero."

605CIP presentation slide notes Metro and Caltrans will "avoid residential property relocations to zero [SIC?] by staying within the State property along the majority of the corridor"

Montes received a question regarding whether the project would actually eliminate congestion, inquiring if it would be different from Metro and Caltrans' recent 405 widening that didn't improve congestion.

Montes' responded, "if people start carpooling based on our design, and if they start using the bus more often, if they use other modes of transportation [then] some of the congestion will be reduced."

"It will be different from the 405, I'm hopeful" concluded Montes' answer.

Metro and Caltrans 605CIP meetings continue tonight, tomorrow and next week. The revised project is expected to go to the Metro board this Fall/Winter, which would then be followed by the formal environmental clearance process.

Metro's planned 605, 5, 10, 60 and 105 Freeways expansion

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