MTA outreach meeting on '710 gap' proposals draws strong crowd

Roughly 100 people showed up Thursdayin San Marino for a public meeting on the final list of options for addressing the “710 gap” between Pasadena and Alhambra.

The analysis by the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority focuses on five options, including a “no build” option, better managing street traffic flow, bolstering rapid bus transit, light-rail transit and constructing a tunnel to connect the 210 and 710 freeways.

Representatives for the MTA and the California Department of Transportation were at the open house at San Marino Community Church to answer questions, but the minds of many residents — as with most of the stakeholders in this issue — appeared to already be made.

San Marino resident James Okazaki said he supports the freeway tunnel, light rail and bus transit system enhancements.

“I like the elements of all,” he said. “You’ve got to have a balanced approach to solving the overall mobility [issues].”

Though a supporter of closing the 710 gap, Okazaki said he also understands other residents’ concerns.

“They [MTA officials] are talking fast and moving fast, but I hope they take everybody’s input,” he said.

San Marino, San Gabriel and Alhambra are among the cities supporting the extension, while residents in La Cañada, Glendale, South Pasadena and Pasadena strongly oppose the connection.

Frank Beyt, a Montrose resident and regular attendee at the MTA meetings since the project resurfaced in 2011, said the 710 Freeway tunnel expansion was not the best option.

“I am very, very much opposed to this tunnel issue,” he said.

Though the meeting provided background information, he said his specific questions on costs, traffic and health issues remained unanswered.

MTA officials said answers to those concerns are expected to come from the pending draft environmental impact report and urged residents to continue using the comment-card sections at the meetings.

The draft EIR is expected to be completed in spring 2014, said project manager Michelle Smith.


Follow Mercedes Aguilar on Twitter: @Merci85