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Around Town: The future could be L.A.'s legacy of light rail

February 01, 2013|By Anita S. Brenner

If you’ve driven around Los Angeles lately, you’ve probably noticed the poor condition of the streets and highways. La Cañada Flintridge has better roads than L.A., but the local freeways — the 210 and the 2 — are just as battered and worn.

Ever since the 210 connected with the I-15, LCF has suffered through increased commercial truck traffic. The “truck lanes” are damaged and bumpy and we’ve seen some whopper collisions involving big rigs.

Headed to Pasadena? Some folks choose the “back way” through Woodbury, or along Linda Vista, especially during rush hour. Noise pollution? Freeway noise hits most of LCF.

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Those are just a couple of reasons why many locals are opposed to an underground tunnel connecting the 4.5-mile gap between the 710 and the 210.

In a letter to the MTA last September, Rep. Adam Schiff expressed his concerns. “While the project was originally estimated to cost approximately $1.5 billion, a 2011 study estimated it would cost $2.8 billion and now the Measure R extension expenditure plan believes it will cost $5.6 billion. How costly will it be in another year? Or two? Or 10?”

By some accounts, the tunnel connection would not be completed for at least a decade. Existing traffic congestion would not resolve with the tunnel proposal. Schiff proposed that we take the long view.

“I urge Metro to give full and serious consideration as to how funds for a tunnel project could be better spent. I suspect that for less than the actual cost of a tunnel, Metro would have the funds necessary to undertake all of the remaining options under consideration — combined. These options, transportation system management, bus rapid transit and light-rail would help move people in an environmentally friendly manner without disrupting our long-established neighborhoods.”

In December, MTA issued a report, “State Route 710 Study, Alternatives Analysis Report.” It lists five alternatives to close the 4.5-mile gap between the 710 and the 210: “no build,” traffic-management technology, bus, an underground freeway tunnel and several light rail alternatives.

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