Town Council letter to Caltrans

Opposition to the proposed 710 freeway extension tunnel was the primary discussion at last week’s Crescenta Valley Town Council executive committee meeting.

This following last month’s presentation by Caltrans officials at the Town Council meeting, regarding the recently conducted SR-710 Tunnel Technical Study.

The study already has cost nearly $4 million for drilling, sound tests and community outreach, including the Crescenta Valley presentation and similar presentations in other nearby cities expected to be affected by the additional noise and traffic if the tunnel is built. Caltrans representatives have said they won’t discuss the potential cost of building the tunnel — though they admit it would be in the billions.

At the Town Council’s executive committee meeting, members discussed a letter the council was drafting to Caltrans and Metro to protest the tunnel and its anticipated detrimental effects to the community, including additional truck traffic, noise and pollution.

Although council members are opposed to the tunnel for a variety of reasons, locally and regionally, the letter addresses only the issues directly affecting La Crescenta and the Crescenta Valley.

“The majority of the community has said ‘We don’t want it here — you’re not bringing it through this town,’ ” Councilwoman Robbyn Battles said. “We want to say [in the letter]: We’re going to do everything possible to fight it. We’re going to be opposed to this no matter what concessions you make. Drive the point home. Beat them with a stick on it. … Our job is to be the voice of the community. We don’t want [the tunnel] under any circumstances.”

Although Battles was not alone in her passion, a few members of the council expressed a desire for the letter to take a “softer” and “more professional” approach.

Town Council President Steve Pierce yesterday morning told the Valley Sun he was pleased with the final draft of the letter, which was distributed to the council through e-mail.

“It’s interesting, I think we were kicking around whether to take a nicer approach with points and why we felt this way, or Robbyn’s get down to business approach, and we settled on a halfway point. Without a doubt it represents what our community is saying to us,” Pierce said.

“No one likes [the prospect of a tunnel]. … I think we all know it’s not a good thing. And it’s important to say what our constituents are saying. We are an elected body, and the people don’t want the tunnel,” he said.

The letter also will be available on the council website and, in addition to being sent to Caltrans and Metro, is copied to neighboring city councils of Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge and Los Angeles, as well as to county, state and federal elected officials.

Dear Sirs:

The Crescenta Valley Town Council is strongly opposed to the 710 Tunnel Project and the technical study, which is underway.

While the first letter, sent May 17, 2007, has not had a response, let us be clear in this correspondence. As elected representatives of the unincorporated area in La Crescenta, we have recently held a public meeting in which there was strong opposition to the 710 Tunnel Project. We request that our opposition be acknowledged and filed along with other Foothill Communities.

It is estimated by experts that the 210 freeway thru the Crescenta Valley would bear the brunt of the traffic and congestion resulting from the completion of the 710 tunnel. This is not acceptable to us and we cannot see any type of mitigation that would ease this unequal burden that our community is asked to bear. Congestion, noise, and pollution from the additional traffic is unacceptable to our community.

Additionally, we are strongly opposed to the study in progress. Studying five zones, at an approximate cost of $10 million, is wasteful and irresponsible, with funds that could be better used elsewhere in our state, especially during this time of budget crisis. More consideration should be given to the way taxpayer money is spent and the way taxpayer concerns are addressed. It appears that this project has been decided upon and the “study” is merely a way to waste our money on a project not supported by a majority of municipalities.

We support the alternate plan, proposed by Supervisor Michael Antonovich more than ten years ago, which would move containers from LA Ports to an inland site in Lancaster via rail. This would alleviate traffic congestion from many parts of Los Angeles as well as our community.

Sincerely,

Steve Pierce, President


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