Last Thursday, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) – in a 12 to 0 vote – elected to fund local road improvements instead of closing the 4.5 mile SR-710 gap between Alhambra and Pasadena. One of five options proposed by Metro staff, these improvements (known as the “Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management” option) would channel $105 million of Measure R funds to develop and implement local road improvements within the San Gabriel Valley. These road improvements would focus primarily on communities along the SR-710 corridor with the goal of easing congestion caused by the unfinished 710 gap.
The City of San Gabriel has long supported the completion of the SR-710 freeway to mitigate traffic congestion on city surface streets. The 710 Coalition, a group of cities that include San Gabriel, Monterey Park, San Marino, Alhambra and Rosemead, expressed disappointment at Metro’s decision, noting that “a freeway tunnel will reduce congestion and air pollution in local neighborhoods, provide a missing link to the gap in the regional freeway system, reduce emissions and decrease cut-through traffic in surrounding communities.”
For its part, city officials also expressed disappointment at the Metro board for selecting the TSM/TDM option in lieu of the tunnel. "For environmental justice and transportation reasons, I’m disappointed that the 710 will now never be completed as recommended by the environmental impact data, the Metro staff report and the passage of Measure R in 2008,” Councilmember Jason Pu said in a statement. “However, I applaud the Metro board for unanimously keeping most of the Measure R funds for the 710 in the West San Gabriel Valley communities that those funds were meant to benefit, and we look forward to working with Metro to determine how those funds will be spent,” Pu said.
Despite Metro’s decision, the city continues to support efforts to close the 710 gap, noting that it would continue to explore its options moving forward.