Would a dual-bored tunnel under Emery Park’s 100 year old homes been damaged, too, with a 710 tunnel construction. Here’s indication based on what’s happening in Seattle.


Bertha may have dealt a blow to Seattle’s police museum

by Knute Berger

The Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum, one of the historic gems of Pioneer Square, has announced that it is closing and moving its collection due to safety concerns.

The museum, located near Third Avenue South and Jackson Street, is devoted to the history of the Seattle Police Department and the King County Sheriff’s Department.

The man in charge and the museum’s guiding spirit is SPD Officer Jim Ritter. He says he believes the building has become untenable for his museum due to ground settling and visible cracks that he suspects are due to Bertha and the waterfront tunnel project.

Ground settlement has been a big issue in Pioneer Square, much of which is built on landfill and former mudflats. The city had to contend with replacing a major sewer line on First Avenue due to settlement. Buildings near the Bertha tunnel boring machine rescue pit were also at risk. Other property owners have filed claims with the state over tunnel project-related damage.

SPD Officer Jim Ritter, head of the Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum.

Ritter says some of the building’s floorboards have rotted due to damage from a steam tunnel break. One of the museum board members put her high heel right through the rotten floorboards, he says. Some of the damage is very visible: The sidewalk outside is sloping. Cracks have appeared in the original 1909 plaster walls of the building, but also in newer drywall. One of the original brick walls appears to be bowing. Many of the doors that Ritter installed himself can no longer be closed properly.

All of this damage, he says, has occurred in the last 18 months to two years. Ritter emphasizes that he’s no engineer, but from a layperson’s perspective, he’s very concerned.

The building has survived several major earthquakes and Ritter can point to some old scars from the 1965 and 1949 Seattle earthquakes. Also, part of the facade collapsed during the 2001 Nisqually quake, but that was repaired and the building was deemed sound after that. Since there hasn’t been a major quake in the last 18 months, but tunnel and seawall work has taken place, “when you start looking, you can make a circumstantial case” for Bertha, he says.

The building is owned by the Samis Land Company, which owns 11 properties in Pioneer Square, according to Adam Hasson Samis’ director of real estate. Hasson says Samis has seen some damage at its other properties, but mostly cosmetic damage — some drywall cracking or stick door jams, “not anything dangerous,” he says. Samis has not yet filed any claims with WSDOT for tunnel-related damage. An engineer will inspect the museum’s space this week to determine whether there’s a true safety risk.

Ritter says Samis has been very good to the museum and gave them a break on rent that enabled them to afford the space. The museum was facing a rent increase, but Ritter says that’s not the main reason for the move. He wants to ensure the safety of the museum’s one-of-a-kind-collection and its patrons. All of SPD’s history could be gone if there were a major problem or collapse in a quake, he says. His opinion is informed by experience: The museum only has one document on exhibit dating from before 1889 because virtually all of the city’s police records were destroyed in the Great Seattle Fire.

Ritter says the extensive collection, which includes uniforms, records, photographs, badges, weapons and other artifacts, will be placed in storage, but that won’t be the end of the museum. He hopes to also put much of the collection online for researchers, and the museum has an extensive collection of police vehicles from the 1940s on that are shown off at public events and parades. The museum is financed through a payroll deduction plan of law enforcement officers at the city and county.

Whatever the reasons for the museum’s closure, it is not a happy occasion for local historians or police personnel. Ritter says the museum is valuable for new recruits who come to the city without any sense of local history. With the issues of police reform having taken center stage in recent years, the need to study and understand the history of law enforcement in Seattle is more important than ever. The closure of the museum and putting its collection into storage makes that a little harder.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Alhambra might have dodged a bullet!

Tolls or not, Seattle tunnel will push vehicles onto surface streets 

OCTOBER 27, 2017 AT 1:40 PM

Once the Alaskan Way Viaduct is no more, drivers will have to choose between and tunnel and surface streets. (WSDOT)

Punishing drivers who divert to Seattle’s surface streets once the new tunnel is in place would be a disservice to people who do so out of necessity.

RELATED: Tunneling machine completely disassembled

Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien proposed spending $200,000 in the next budget to study tolling Seattle’s surface streets. His reasoning is that drivers are going to avoid the tunnel to avoid the toll associated with it.

“Folks that are on 99 that are going to try to divert to get out of the tunnel, because they don’t want to pay that toll, do we have some sort of toll that says, ‘You are going to pay a toll one way or the other’? So if you are going to use the tunnel, just use it,” he said.

Downtown, and really all of Seattle, doesn’t have the capacity for additional cars. The director of Seattle Department of Transportation said so himself when he said the city couldn’t handle more vehicles. A toll to use surface streets, like congestion pricing in London, would be a method to keep the number of vehicles down.

But O’Brien’s comments are directed at people avoiding tolls. The proposal to make drivers pay “one way or the other” ignores the fact that many people use the Alaskan Way Viaduct to get in and out of downtown and Belltown, not just to avoid the area.

A study estimated that between 20,000 and 25,000 additional vehicles will be pushed onto I-5 and surface streets once the tunnel is open, depending on the toll “scenarios.” The Washington State Transportation Commission has not set toll rates for the tunnel. However, those estimates include all drivers diverting around the tunnel; not just the ones expected to avoid paying a few dollars. A spokesperson for the Washington State Department of Transportation confirmed as much.

Once the tunnel is in place and the viaduct is gone, drivers will not have mid-town exits, according to WSDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson. The tunnel will no longer have ramps to/from Seneca Street, Columbia Street, Western Avenue, or Elliott Avenue.

Demolition of the aging viaduct is expected to occur in early 2019. The tunnel is expected to open in the same time period.

The tunnel is more like an express lane through downtown, rather than into it. That means drivers who currently use the viaduct to get closer to their destination in downtown or Belltown will be forced to find an alternate route.

That alternative route will likely be an expanded Alaskan Way surface street, which will have more lanes and better access along the waterfront, Bergerson points out.

“The new tunnel will be just one of several transportation investments to the Seattle waterfront over the next several years, including the new Alaskan Way surface street with improved capacity and connections to downtown Seattle,” Bergerson wrote.

O’Brien says “places around the country” are having the difficult conversations about tolling congested areas. He reportedly said, “there aren’t very many tools that have been proven to work around the world, and I think it’s important that this be part of the conversation.”

But should we toll drivers who were forced to change their routes? Maybe the city council should keep digging through that toolbox.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gov. Jerry Brown gets our signatures

In May, the Metropolitan Transit Authority voted to recommend to the California Department of Transportation a different alternative than building a tunnel to complete the 710 freeway. The unanimous vote essentially kills the 710 freeway project after a 60-year fight that divided the region. County Supervisors and local city leaders have begun in earnest to develop common interest projects that will meet local traffic issues, tapping into Measure R resources previously dedicated to the tunnel.

Senator Anthony Portantino is moving things right along, and met Governor Jerry Brown to deliver signatures in opposition to the 710 Freeway Tunnel.

“The demise of the 710 tunnel is a testament to grassroots activism in its finest form. I am so pleased to have seen MTA respond to these local efforts, first in stopping the threat of the tunnel, and now through the engagement of our local cities in moving into the future. Our region is certainly better served by this collaborative planning approach now that the tunnel threat is behind us,” concluded Portantino.

Read the press release here: Portantino Meets with Governor Brown Talks 710 Tunnel (Final)


Meanwhile, here’s what Barbara Messina has to say on the fate of her 710 pet project: Alhambra Source: The 710 Tunnel’s Fiercest Advocate Reckons with its Defeat. 


Portantino and Governor (3).jpg

Anthony Portantino delivered the scroll along with a book of additional
signatures to Governor Brown in his office last week.











Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Let’s take a Victory Lap at 4th of July Festival of Balloons Parade

Calling all No-710’ers in Alhambra!

This is the victory lap for the No 710 Fight. It’s time to honor all the freeway fighters from 1947 to 2017.

When: Tues. July 4, 2017  10am-1pm

Where: 806 Meridian Ave (1 block north of Mission.) Pick up balloons, signs, water and free t-shirts.

About parade: You can walk, bike, skateboard along this approx. 1 mile long parade route.  We will all walk together to celebrate the amazing work of the No 710 freeway fighters and the community.

Post-parade lunch celebration: El Super Burrito is a hosting taco lunch, and there will be margaritas and cold drinks.  Meet back at 806 Meridian Avenue.

Don't tunnel our town

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Metro puts a nail in the freeway coffin


On May 25, 2017, by a 12-0 vote, the Metro Board of Directors approved directing the SR-710 project funds to local operational improvement projects to address traffic congestion caused by the 4.5-mile gap in the 710 freeway between Alhambra and Pasadena.

Under the motion approved by the Board, $105 million from Measure R would be used for local improvements listed in the Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management (TSM/TDM) option in the environmental document including: traffic signal upgrades and synchronization, local street and intersection improvements, improved connections to existing bus service and the promotion of rideshare in the area. The remaining Measure R funds could be used for other mobility improvement projects that can alleviate congestion on local streets along the SR-710 corridor.
The SR 710 North Study undertaken in 2011 explored solutions to traffic congestion caused by the freeway gap. The project’s environmental study looked at five alternatives: a “no build” option, a freeway tunnel, light rail, bus rapid transit and TSM/TDM.  The Study results indicate that the alternative that best addresses the project’s purpose and need is the Single Bore Freeway Tunnel.

While the Metro Board adopted the TSM/TDM as the Locally Preferred Alternative, the decision on a Preferred Alternative will be made by Caltrans later this year.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Front Page News: The 710 Tunnel is Dead!

On May 25 the Metro Board voted unanimously in favor of using existing funds to fix local transportation issues, and have decided a freeway tunnel is NOT the way to go. Not surprisingly, Alhambra’s legislators are still clinging on to the antiquated pie in the sky.

Front page news in the LA Times today!

But Alhambra’s City Council is still clinging on:

“Supporting the tunnel should be a no-brainer for the board. Our goal is to relieve congestion in our neighborhoods,” Alhambra Mayor David Mejia said.  Pasadena Patch


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Assemblymember Chris Holden Announces Legislation to Kill 710 Freeway Tunnel


Pasadena Star News, Feb. 9, 2017: Chris Holden Introduces Bill to Kill 710 Freeway Tunnel: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/general-news/20170209/assemblyman-chris-holden-of-pasadena-introduces-bill-to-kill-710-freeway-tunnel-project

Alhambra Councilwoman Barbara Messina, who leads the 710 Coalition of cities and labor unions in support of constructing the gap-tunnel, took Holden’s announcement personally. She said she and Holden were in lock-step on the freeway completion for decades and had been friends since the early 1980s. “This really upsets me. I feel betrayed by him,” Messina said

Assembly Bill 287 establishes a local advisory committee to recommend a definitive solution for the State Route 710 corridor between the 10 and 210, but would prohibit this advisory committee from considering or recommending a freeway tunnel alternative.

·        Chris Holden, Assemblymember, 41st Assembly District
·        Terry Tornek, Mayor, Pasadena
·        Michael Cacciotti, Mayor, South Pasadena
·        Damon Nagami, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council
·        Will Eley, Policy Advocate, California Public Interest Research Group

Thursday, February 9, 2017
10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Mission Street Metro Station
901 Meridian Ave
South Pasadena, CA 91030

Read the bill here:20170ab287holdensr-710-advisory-committee_99

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment