COMMUNITY COMMENTARY:

After reading Greg Wilkinson’s community commentary (“Nothing to ‘study’ here: Tunnel is a terrible idea,” June 3) and Nat Read’s letter to the editor (“710 tunnel would benefit Glendale,” June 6), I have come up with the solution for the 710 corridor between the 10 Freeway and the 210 Freeway.

I agree wholeheartedly with Wilkinson’s well-thought-out letter in that having a tunnel to please the NIMBY (not in my back yard) crowd would be a very ridiculous idea. Too expensive, too dangerous, too claustrophobic, too unsafe at any speed, too much smoke and fire concerns, too much pollution-ventilation and definitely too lengthy at 4.4 miles.

I found it laughable how the current politicians have said that the tunnel idea would “preserve the quality of life for the affected communities.”

Larry Zarian, member of the California Transportation Commission, has avoided taking a position until the project is fully vetted — spoken like a true leader who just came out of the rain. The politically connected California Department of Transportation wants to spend more taxpayer money on research and studies.

The 710 corridor has been studied to death for many years just to please the “arrogant” people affected by a “normal” above-ground freeway. Their claim is almost the same as those of the people who live on the west side of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and points west — we do not want a freeway in our backyard; the freeway would disturb our quaint neighborhoods and our historical homes; too much traffic; crime will increase; my home and business may go down in value; the wrong element will be entering into our neighborhoods.

The upscale residents of the affected 710 corridor should all be taxed several thousands of dollars a year for the privilege of using the 2, 210, 5 and 134 freeways that they utilize daily to commute into their neighborhoods. It is OK to use other neighborhood freeways to commute throughout the Southland, but not a freeway in my backyard.

And the politicians who want a tunnel, no above-ground freeway or “let’s do another wasted study,” should all be voted out of office for wasting taxpayer time and money. It has already been established that a roadway between the 10 and 210 freeways is needed. The do-nothing politicians and bureaucrats pander to the local citizens, but not to the rest of society’s needs for public transportation.

A real test for leadership will be seen if Councilman Ara Najarian, who will be assuming the leadership position of the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority, will be persuasive. He is on record as opposing the 710 underground extension, but will he push for an above-ground expressway? Will Najarian be willing to take the “political heat” and convince his colleagues that this will be the historic year that an above-ground freeway will come to fruition?

Construction costs are down during this current recession and some “stimulus money” from Washington, D.C., will also be available to help fund the roadway.

As they say in baseball, “let’s play ball,” and get this show moving forward! It would certainly be great if this project could be completed in my lifetime, Najarian.


 MIKE MOHILL is a Glendale resident.

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