Originally, the connection of the Long Beach (710) Freeway to the Foothill (210) Freeway was considered a vital connection to reduce traffic in downtown Los Angeles. Interestingly, it still is a vital connection.
As the population grew north of South Pasadena, the need to travel south to work intensified. Fremont Avenue, a main north-south street that goes through South Pasadena, and the Arroyo Seco (110) Parkway are the most viable means for traveling south. In the morning and afternoon, both routes resemble parking lots. If one travels on the 110 to connect to the 710, one must travel to the Golden State (I-5) Freeway, then east on the San Bernardino ( I-10) Freeway, or continue south on the I-5 to the 710.
As a volunteer instructor at the Senior Citizen Center in South Pasadena, I’ve traveled many times up and down Fremont for the last 18 years. Original travel time was 15 to 20 minutes from La Crescenta. Now it takes 30 to 45 minutes.
I’ve traveled in many countries that have tunnels five miles and longer. Most of them ban big rigs and trucks that carry hazardous materials. Allowing only cars through the 710 tunnel would reduce traffic downtown. It would free up road space for commercial traffic, reduce congestion and hydrocarbon emissions.
It would also reduce the congestion on the 110, 2 and 134 freeways. The majority of the drivers who would use the tunnel live north of South Pasadena and it would reduce their travel time.
As for earthquake concerns, freeway overpasses and bridges are just as great a threat to life as driving in a tunnel. There are tunnels in Los Angeles County that have survived several earthquakes over the years. Engineers during the design phase must meet the necessary safety standards, faults or not.
There are limits to how much we can protect ourselves from a major earthquake. The prudent decision is to do what is best for our county, considering the population growth.
The auto and oil industries didn’t do us a favor when they destroyed our public transportation system years ago. To describe it best, we are saturated.