Metro changes course on 710 freeway extension

Amid intense public opposition, transportation planners with Metro have recommended against digging a tunnel under Mt. Washington and building highway lanes up Avenue 64 through Garvanza  as alternatives to extend the 710 Freeway to Pasadena.  However,  the transportation agency said that five other proposed alternatives–including a freeway tunnel under South Pasadena and increasing bus and rail service–will remain under study during the environmental review process.

“Among alternatives that would not continue are surface route options for Avenue 64 and San Rafael, or underground in the Mount Washington area or any surface highway options in those corridors,” Metro said in a press release.

The county transportation agency and Caltrans have faced a large amount of public criticism about a dozen potential alternatives and routes to extend the northern terminus of the 710 Freeway, which currently stops on the border of El Sereno and Alhambra, are studied. One of those alternatives is not to build anything. Efforts to close the gap, which is blamed for clogging streets in Alhambra and other communities, have been successfully opposed for decades by South Pasadena and other community groups.  Last week, Councilman Jose Huizar introduced a motion asking the Los Angeles City Council to oppose most of the above and underground routes being studied.

Metro staff decided to drop the Mt. Washington tunnel and Avenue 64 surface routes because they were among “the low performing and/or most environmentally damaging alternatives,” according to an agency report.  Among the options still to be reviewed is a freeway tunnel that would start near the tip of the 710 Freeway and  run north along the border of Alhambra and El Sereno and under South Pasadena and Pasadena  before connecting with the 210 Freeway.

As the environmental study goes forward, staff would consider only five alternatives to close the gap instead of the dozen now on the table, according to Metro staff recommendations. That recommendation will be reviewed at a committee meeting on Aug 29.

“At the meeting the performance criteria for culling the list of alternatives for further environmental study will be reviewed,” said Metro. “The four alternatives plus the no build option will be further refined through the environmental phase, which should be completed by winter 2014.”

Related Links:

  • Metro chooses final 710 routes for environmental review. Star-News
  • Highland Park and Garvanza residents voice opposition to proposed freeway route. Patch
  • Pasadena City Council votes to oppose 710 extension routes through Southwest Pasadena and Northeast L.A. Star-News


  1. Woo hoo!!!! My home is safe…. for now.

  2. Going through South Pasadena is the only route that makes sense.

    • As someone who lives is South Pas, YOUR back yard makes sense!
      They only want to build to have a direct route from the Port of LA / Long Beach along the 710 to the 210 to drive trucks north across the country and avoid Hwy 5. Fix the roads we have.

    • Correction: none of them make sense, Bill.

      There’s no frigging money. The alternate routes already work- we’ve lived with them for decades. This is a non-discussion. Tunneling is far, far from being affordable. Surface routes destroy communities and there’s no fricking way there’s money to buy the land required, especially in high value areas like South Pasadena.

      They’re wasting money they don’t have simply with the discussion.

      It comes up again and again and they never can come up with a solution because there is no solution.

      Anyone who thinks this is a good idea has no idea of how budgets work or any respect for anyone who live in these communities.

      • I agree that none of the routes are good for those who live there. But the bus/light rail option is at least a bit intriguing. I think the success of the Gold Line has proven that some South Pasadena residents’ fears about mass transit in their backyard were misplaced.

        The financing, though, is always an issue. I wonder how much CalTrans could make by selling all the properties they acquired with an eye on eventually extending the 710? Perhaps those funds could be sunk into a mass transit option?

        But, as John points out, that still won’t address the big picture agenda — speeding the transit time for trucks coming out of the port. I don’t think it’s coincidence that this 710 argument has started again. Keep in mind this is the same port that’s been banking on a huge increase in traffic & revenues as the Panama Canal expands to allow bigger ships to pass through beginning in 2015.

    • No route makes sense – there is no need to extend the freeway.

      NO to 710 Extension.

  3. Darn! Guess I won’t be forced to move.

  4. I’m sure they’ll do what they did with the 2 Freeway Terminus Redesign: after they accept the EIR, they’ll say they’ve chosen a plan. Once the window for filing lawsuits is closed, they’ll combine the worst of all alternatives and create something nobody wants and call it a “hybrid alternative.”

  5. The title is misleading. It’s not clearly not considered “changing course” to screen out potential options, in fact that the whole point of an alternatives evaluation.

    and @Jones Foyer “Anyone who thinks this is a good idea has no idea of how budgets work” Actually “anyone” who has any idea how transportation projects are funded understands that roadway projects do not have to be considered affordable or cost-effective, only transit projects do.

    Tunnelling will end up being the preferred solution, the project will get sued, and maybe the project will get funded or built, depending on the current local representative in congress, and the county supervisor. but cost won’t really make a difference, after all $10 billion is already being spent on HSR.

    Welcome to the land of multi-billion dollar transportation projects.

  6. Avenue 64 is NOWHERE NEAR the 710 freeway. Turning it into a freeway could link the 110 with the 134, but what does that have to do with the 710?

    • They proposed a convoluted route up Fremont, west on Monterrey Road, and then north on Avenue 64, to link up with the 13 4 just west of the 134/210 interchange.

  7. Its time to just forget the whole thing. Too much time has passed the cost is too expensive and it wouldn’t get done in time to do any good anyway.
    The crime here was 40 years ago when the state allowed this Dukes of Hazard town of South Pasadena to hold this states drivers hostage in endless protesting this freeway. And making it a 40 year cause.What a bunch of martyrs. They created a nightmare drive from where it ends in Alhambra to where it should start in Pasadena. This would have been an amazing pleasure to be able to commute to the Alhambra area and points south. I live in Pasadena and would shop in this area more it the freeway was complete. I avoid this area like the plague now.

  8. SubStandard Jackhole

    Its amazing that after 50 years of hearing South Pasadena screaming the “Sky is falling, the Sky is falling” about the 710, only when Metro considers several alternatives that South Pasadena Fwy Fighters wanted them to consider, this year all the NEW activists from tony SW Pasadena and Ave 64 show up and protest “Not in My Backyard.” Funny last year 2011 those same Neighborhood Councils, Eagle Rock and Historic Highland Park, refused to support South Pasadena’s efforts to get their legal rights back through legislation to stop a 710 freeway between Alhambra and Pasadena. Now a chorus of No 710 across the NE and SW Pasadena is heard to save their homes and local schools from the potential of increased traffic and pollution which comes with it. But all ignoring the need for easing traffic throughout the East LA / Boyle Heights / neighborhoods opposing any effective connection or completion of this “gap” which has been causing daily backups in the “brown (air quality) Triangle” between the 5, 10, 101, 60 and 710 which for the last 50 years has polluted the lives of a dozen elementary , middle and high schoolers in the greater East LA area. You all forget those who really live the experience of a incomplete transportation network. You in So Pasadena, Boguartville SW Pasadena, and now the Hipster NOYO and Ave 64 want to make sure their children and schools dont feel the effects of possible traffic solutions….. Maybe thats why the LA City Council punted on today’s vote…. they are forgeting the “bigger” picture or maybe we in East LA and those at Metro know that there are “other” residents that are looking for a real traffic solution, not pie in the sky “light rail”, rapid bus, etc that will not make a dent in the “brown triangle”. We have families too, and we have been living this traffic nightmare for over 50 years…..

  9. No route makes sense, the City of Alhambra is allowing more developments taking away single family homes which creates more traffic, the fwy should go through the City of Alhambra. Have you driven down Garfield, Atlantic, Valley, New etc. . . there is so much traffic! No freeway extension will make a difference.

    NO to 710 Extension

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