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710 extension meetings continue

Metro and extension opponents grapple over project and its impacts.

March 02, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

Traffic congestion, safety hazards and air and noise pollution topped a list of concerns put forth by community members Saturday at a public outreach meeting on the proposed Long Beach (710) freeway gap-closure project.

The meeting, which drew about two dozen people to Glendale Community College, was the last of six hosted by Metro over two weeks. The goal was to bring residents of Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, South Pasadena and northeast Los Angeles — communities that would be impacted by the 710 project — up to speed on the history of growth and mass transportation in the region, as well as to develop discussion themes for future meetings, said Metro spokesperson Helen Ortiz Gilstrap.

Attendees were led through a brain-storming session during which they identified daily transportation concerns and possible solutions.

The project would connect the Long Beach (710) and Foothill (210) freeways, possibly by a 4.5-mile long underground tunnel, between Alhambra and Pasadena.

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Metro began a second series of meetings to detail the environmental studies, known as CEQA/NEPA, on March 1 at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. A third series will aim to gather public input for “scoping” purposes, required as part of the environmental review process approved last spring by the MTA.

Metro’s community meetings met with criticism from opponents, who characterized them as a waste of time and money. Los Angeles County transportation officials plan to push for the project despite resistance from the cities of La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, Glendale and others, critics said.

“We have learned from the geotechnical meetings that it is just their attempt at outreach, which falls extremely short,” said Susan Bolan, a La Crescenta resident and a member of the No 710 Action Committee. “We haven’t even officially entered scoping, and we see this as a touchy-feely, we-are-going-to-tell-you-how-it-is sort of thing. We are not taking them seriously, but we want to be here representing our point of view.”

“Scoping” helps define the scope of a pending environmental review by including public comment on the project involved, according to Metro documents.

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