Pages

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Living in the Past


I've already harped on talked about the 710 freeway extension. I'm about to do so again. I will try to be entertaining (woohoo! cars! fumes! circus music!) but my feelings will not be hurt if you click away. Please come back tomorrow for silliness.

To recap: Caltrans, its proverbial finger on the proverbial pulse, thought now would be a good time to push ahead with an ancient plan.

OMG, we said, or letters to that effect.

Could we unite behind a presidential candidate? Could we unite over a sports team? Could we unite over so much as a flavor of ice cream? No.

However, nobody, but nobody wants a 710 freeway extension. We don't want it so fiercely that we are practically up in arms against it. Even local governments are involved in the fight.

For a moment it looked like Caltrans (finger to pulse) thought a tunnel under our communities might be some kind of cheery compromise, but yesterday the news broke: I first read it from Elise Kalfayan of Glendale's The Sunroom Desk. Lauren Gold also had the story at the Pasadena Star-News. The Los Angeles Transportation Committee, as Gold reports, "unanimously approved a resolution to oppose the F-7 tunnel route for the proposed 710 Freeway extension."

This is good.

Today at 10 am at City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street in Los Angeles, the LA City Council is scheduled to review and vote on a resolution opposing all six alternative freeway routes. You can go to this meeting. You are encouraged to show up and express your views. The more the merrier, and the better chance of showing Caltrans and the State of California that there are more forward-thinking ways to spend taxpayer money than on outdated concepts like freeways. The idea is so old fashioned that by the time a proposed 710 extension is finished, we'd be able to teleport goods from Long Beach to the Panama Canal.

If the resolution passes at today's City Council meeting, that doesn't guarantee that Caltrans will be stopped. Caltrans is like a chicken with its head cut off--it just keeps on running around in circles, even without a brain. The "No 710 Freeway Extension" group on Facebook grows every day. Feel free to join up.

Freeways have served their purpose, but here in the 21st century where you and I live they represent a disappearing, unenlightened age. They've already gone through Pasadena. They've already divided our city. They've already destroyed homes, businesses and neighborhoods. It's time to move on.

26 comments:

Paul @ Leeds Daily Photo said...

I am not sure what the answer is but I too feel its not a multi lane road. They certainly do divide communities and rip them asunder too, here in my city Little London is cast adrift by roads.

Laurie said...

Say it, sister.

I'm pretty shocked that all this has come about again.

Book Dragon said...

I love reading your posts when you feel passionate about something!

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I so agree w/you on this!. I am dreading the day when our mountain west of us which divides us from Granada Hills is knocked over and then connects to GH... omg, the traffic will be horrendous!! somehow those city officials w/big, deep pockets will get what they want!. We will get the riff raff, more robberies and crime...

Bellis said...

At the start of the 710 in Long Beach, it still says Pasadena on the sign. It's the same at the junction of the 5 and the 710. Until Caltrans rewords those signs, they will try to get to Pasadena.

There needs to be a better way to get freight, such as fresh produce from the Central Valley, quickly to the port of Los Angeles, the largest port on the west coast, and to get imports from the port to the rest of the USA. This is where all those goods "Made in China" come into the country. Most of the container trucks leaving the port already head for the freight trains, but loading the trains takes time, and they chug along incredibly slowly. How about fast roll on-roll off trains like the ones that take freight trucks through the English channel tunnel? It'd mean building large loading and unloading terminals and new track north and east, but it could be done. Does anyone have any other (realistic) suggestions that we could pass on to the politicians as an alternative to the freeway extension?

Petrea Burchard said...

There is a better way, Bellis, there are better ways. And you've already mentioned one.

KBF, don't let them do it. The freeway is an ancient idea whose time is past. It's no longer commensurate with modern technology. Caltrans officials know it. Make them live up to the 21st century.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

@Petrea: The area I live in is considered higher end, and I think if it goes thru ( they said ten years ago it was suppose to go in 5) it would cheapen the area and lose its exclusivity.. So far nothing has happened but the lane set up is 4 each way w/50mph speed.. Stupid since there are three schools near where they want to knock down the mountain!. Can u imagine the traffic accidents?, as well as kids getting hit?????

Pasadena Adjacent said...

on my way down now

Latino Heritage said...

Your last sentences hit the core for me. As a child who lived through the freeway that destroyed homes in East Los I know what it's like to walk home over the noise and the fumes.

As an adult, learning about where I now live and seeing what happened as a result of the 210/134, a great socio economic divide was reinforced. A multicultural neighborhood that was primarily "established bluecollar" was decimated.

There are folks who live South of the freeway, who will not go north of the freeway - and folks North of the freeway who talk about those South of the freeway.

dive said...

Kudos to the LA Transportation Committee!
And yay you for keeping the pressure on, Petrea.
Love the photo, by the way; other than the makes of cars it could be straight out of the 1950s.
And by the way, why do they need another bloody freeway if nobody's using this one? Do the drivers want one each?

Diana said...

Looks like the L.A. City Council adopted the Transportation Committee's recommendation, a good first step in a large local agency putting pressure on a larger local agency. The issue of rail to move freight from the harbor is one we should all get behind, but it will be difficult because rail is controlled by the Feds, and all this talk of freeway connectors and tunnels is an effort to keep control in the hands of local agencies, at the expense of common sense and what's best for the environment (and people are part of that environment, lest we forget). I sincerely hope the groups that have rallied against the 710 connector will begin to apply some pressure on the rail issue.

Petrea Burchard said...

Book Dragon, I've been thinking about what you said. Thank you. I get preachy, so lately I've been trying to add humor to my diatribes. It comes out kind of snarky, as Patrizzi pointed out the other day (in a good way). Perhaps snark is something for me to pursue!

KBF: knocking down a mountain in a wealthy area. Kind of like building alongside an Arroyo on Pasadena's west side. Are we seeing a pattern? Target beautiful, expensive neighborhoods and see what payoffs you can get?

PA, we anticipate your report.

LH, that's exactly what I was referring to. Some people who live south of the freeway think we're all living in slums and poverty up here! That's how little they know of this part of Pasadena. When the 210 came through, who got displaced (poor people and people of color) and where they were shoved off to (the projects) when they had originally been homeowners and business owners (their businesses ruined, too) is a shameful part of our history. They were never compensated, nor will today's displaced people be compensated. That's only one reason why the 710 extension must never happen.

Exactly, Dive. You get my point.
Goods need to be transported from the ports, of course. But perhaps we could take a tip from the UK and transport them by more efficient, less expensive, less polluting railways.

Petrea Burchard said...

Diana, you're more knowledgeable about this issue than I am and I'm grateful for your comment. I didn't know rail was controlled by the Feds. I agree and I hope people will demand railways. There will likely be something, and if we want a compromise we'd better ask for that one.

Laura Monteros said...

Boy, I am going to be in trouble, but...I want a 710 Freeway extension. It will reduce emissions on our surface streets and save gasoline by allowing cars to go at highway speeds.

BTW, South Pas was fine with the 710 extension when it was first planned for East LA instead of SP. It would have displaced far more people who would have had a more difficult time recovering, but hey, they were lower income folks with brown skin, so who cared?

And please don't suggest rail--SP tried its darnedest to derail the Gold Line, despite it being built on a right-of-way that had freight trains running twice daily until just a few years prior to the Gold Line plans.

A tunnel would not disrupt the city businesses, but they are against even that.

Until SP decides as a community to not use any freeways at all, I find their opposition to be disingenuous. Don't think for a moment South Pasadenans will not use the 710 extension, especially if it went anywhere else but there.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Your wrong Laura. And the brown skinned people showed up at city hall in mass. One read a recent eviction notice Cal Trans sent out to one of it's El Sereno tenets dated august 24. Wow, what could silence people faster then having your boogyman landlord threaten you with eviction for voicing an opinion.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Me and Patrizzi Intergalactic are doing the happy dance. This is the first time the city of Los Angeles has gone on record opposing all 710 Freeway extensions. Pretty heady stuff for those of us who attend these things.

Petrea Burchard said...

Laura, I must respectfully disagree. Fossil fuels are harder and harder to come by, we must pollute the planet in order to extract them. Allowing cars that carry one or two people at a time to go at highway speeds has almost no effect on emissions when you compare that to the efficiency of moving hundreds of people at the same time for the same amount of fuel, or better yet, with electricity.

I can't speak about South Pasadena's history with this fight because I don't know it well enough. And it's no longer relevant, as they are not the only community in this anymore.

As for a tunnel here in earthquake territory--well, I wouldn't use it.

PA, I'm thrilled you were at that meeting with the white and the brown and the beige and the black. Wow, Caltrans has the nerve to evict people already? Are they that sure they're going to build this thing?

Latino Heritage said...

I think you are almost at the point that I hear when people talk about not going north of the freeway.

The point is that I hear is that being poor is bad, therefore the people that live in poverty are bad. That being poor means that the area is a dangerous place. I lived in an area of poverty, but had a very healthy childhood.

One tiny bit of revision to the history of the 210 - folks were compensated and were able to buy in other parts of the area. I know of some folks that were able to move to Hastings ranch. This was not the same sort of thing that happened in Chavez Ravine.

Still the idea of encouraging the physical division of communities is a very unwise choice.

Michael Coppess said...

"Freeways have served their purpose, but here in the 21st century where you and I live they represent a disappearing, unenlightened age."

Wow. That's really good.

Margaret said...

Good job, Petrea! Well said.

Petrea Burchard said...

LH/Roberta, yes.

I live in Northwest Pasadena, as you know. I once read an online discussion about a Craftsman mansion in the area that was priced high because it was worth it--and people were saying what a dangerous area NW Pas is, how they would never consider buying here, etc. I thought a)they've never been here and b)I hope they never show up and discover how good we've got it. Today during rush hour I was able to stand in the middle of my beautiful, tree-lined street to take photographs because there was no traffic. I love it here.

Thanks, Michael. Thanks, Margaret.

Ms M said...

Well stated, Petrea. I hope there is enough opposition to stop the freeway extension.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I see. No, that was not the intent of my comment. It's about turning the blame on the renter for the outward appearance of State owned properties. By bringing up the eviction notice at the LA City Council, I believe it had a damning effect on Metroscheme. They are supposed to maintain those properties but have failed. The recent audit has them scrambling to cover their asses. For instance, building materials that were purchased at Home Depot included a 30% mark-up. The list goes on. Metroscheme has proved to be a vindictive and vicious landlord. This is a start...

http://www.pasadenaweekly.com/cms/story/detail/the_man_who_knew___and_said___too_much/8571/

Petrea Burchard said...

It seems an exaggeration to say it, PA, but reading some of the stuff that has come out lately about Caltrans has me believing in evil. It is so weird!

Susan Campisi said...

Well-said, Petrea. I've been out of commission this week, sick with bronchitis but also working so I've been out of the loop. I'll catch up on this evil story in the next couple of days... but I like the hints I've gotten from PA.

Petrea Burchard said...

PA is an excellent resource, Susan, as is the No 710 Freeway Extension Facebook group.