Garrett Damrath, Caltrans District 7,
Division of Environmental Planning,
100 S. Main St., MS-16
Los Angeles, CA 90012
State Clearinghouse Number: (SCH#) 1982092310
File number: 07-LA-710 (SR 710)
Caltrans Project No.: EFIS 0700000191 (EA: 187900)
Title: State Route 710 North Study
Cc: Responsible Alhambrans Against 710, No710Action Committee, Alhambra City Council
April 20, 2015
Dear Metro Board:
I am an Alhambra resident, and I am against all options in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (D-EIR), but most of all, the 710 tunnel.
The tunnel going through Alhambra, South Pasadena and Pasadena would be built for harbor freight traffic, not for local Alhambrans. I am pasting a photo of the 710 freeway. It is not called an “Alternate Truck Route” for nothing. The ‘option’ in the D-EIR that trucks may not be allowed in the tunnel should be struck immediately because that simply is not a reality. Are you planning to direct that freight traffic from Long Beach if that really were the case?
I live in Alhambra and work in Pasadena and would not benefit at all because of the prohibitive toll, because of the lack of exits and because I take city streets to work in Pasadena. Also, I would not be caught dead in that dangerous underground tunnel, especially with the impending bottle neck of traffic up at the 210/134 connector, which is already bad during peak times, as anyone who drives there can attest. Adding one more freeway there would be a terrible idea.
The D-EIR Chart titled “Employment/Fiscal Impacts” shows that the light rail option would offer the most long-term operation and maintenance jobs, and their annual earnings are highest with the light rail. In addition to the jobs provided for actual construction of a light rail, the area will benefit from steady, long-term salaried jobs, which would not be the case with a 710 tunnel.
D-EIR Table 4-8 demonstrates that if the tunnel is built, VMT and C02 emissions would actually increase, and at Metro’s informational meeting on March 12, 2015, the CalTrans/Metro consultant explained that there would be no significant improvement to air pollution. Scrubbers in the El Sereno and Pasadena stacks would not be able to clean out fine particulate matter, which is found in diesel fuel, and what air that does come out of the stacks, in the morning will not dissipate because it is cold and the air molecules are heavier, but rather the exhaust will linger above where the air stacks are built: at the Huntington Hospital and in Alhambra and El Sereno.
Table 4-9 in the D-EIR demonstrates that only 7-13% of all motorists in the study area will save (a whopping) 2.5 minutes should the tunnel be built, in other words 87-95% of all traffic in the San Gabriel area will not benefit at all! Street traffic will get worse in Alhambra with drivers avoiding the toll for a diversion rate of 60,000 cars a day per Cal Trans/Metro’s figures. Couple this with the concept of induced demand (that if you build it, they will come), I do not want this tunnel because traffic will become worse on surface streets in Alhambra and such a costly “solution” will apparently not even help.
What I do want is a more sensible solution for the milieu we live in now. A freeway tunnel is not it, and I hope you carefully consider feasibility, cost, benefits and dangers. If this board for some reason chooses the 710 freeway tunnel as an alternative to a 710 surface freeway, please know that the record will show that decision will have gone against facts and data that you yourselves have provided the public, and would be based on nothing but insignificant, unsubstantiated claims of traffic or air quality “improving”, voters supposedly “wanting” the tunnel, that it would supposedly only take 5 years to build for “only” $5 billion, or that it would be a worthy option for employment in the area. It is obvious this is NOT the case, and you will be doing so at the expense of the public’s best interest.
Please send me a written response to your comments prior to certification of the Final EIR, and put me on the mailing list to receive notification on future public meetings for this project, and answer these questions:
- What is the plan to direct freight traffic if the 710 freeway tunnel does not allow for trucks?
- How many trucks per day leave the port of Los Angeles, take the 710 northbound up to the 5 freeway, and continue going north on the 5 freeway?
- What is the cost-benefit analysis for this project?
- How many years will I expect noise and disruption during construction?
- Currently, how much traffic coming from the northbound 710 actually heads straight up to and goes all the way to Pasadena @ cross-street of California, both on Fremont Avenue and on Atlantic Avenue.
- What is the variable diversion rate of traffic for people avoiding the tolls depending on toll cost, and what direction / streets will they divert to? (Please provide an analysis of tolls in the context of what it will take to provide sufficient revenues for a private investor or to keep people using the tunnel; in other words, what various pricing of tolls will result in different traffic diversion rates.)
- What is the contingency plan if the Tunnel Boring Machine breaks down like it did in Seattle?
- Why was Los Angeles County as a whole used to determine air quality impacts instead of tunnel adjacent communities like El Sereno, Alhambra and Pasadena?
- How much will the tolls be?