After a Failed Freeway Plan, Alternatives Prove Controversial

With plans to extend California's 710 Freeway off the table, cities in the path have been awarded funds for alternative road projects. But residents of San Marino aren't all on board.

1 minute read

May 30, 2019, 1:00 PM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Interstate Highway

Ken Lund / Flickr

"The city of San Marino is considering returning $32 million in grants earmarked for street improvements and awarded by Metro as alternatives to extending the 710 Freeway after many residents said the city should not be hoodwinked into projects which would bring in outsiders and degrade their quality of life," Steve Scauzillo writes. 

Plans to extend Southern California's 710 Freeway to cover a 4.5-mile gap are now dead, following a drawn-out debate. In their place, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) provided $515 million to fund 34 road projects submitted by cities with land in the gap. They include modifications like adding turn lanes and synchronizing traffic signals.

Now, citing concerns over traffic speeds, residents of San Marino may turn down projects proposed by city staff. According to an email from Metro to San Marino Councilman Steven Talt, Scauzillo reports, "the city could start from a clean slate as long as the new projects meet Metro's criteria of reducing congestion and enhancing safety."

At a public meeting to discuss the proposals, Scauzillo continues, some residents revisited "old wounds" from the long debate over whether to extend the 710. "Alhambra and San Marino fought for the freeway extension/tunnel and lost. South Pasadena and later Pasadena and La Cañada Flintridge opposed the freeway extension, even as a tunnel, and won the battle."

See also: Where a Freeway Plan Failed, a Development Opportunity Rises

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