Chance for Caltrans to gain some respect

Caltrans has seven fewer reasons to hold on to homes it has mismanaged for years, now that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency has eliminated seven routes from its proposed fix for the so-called 710 gap.

MTA moved more quickly than expected. On Aug. 13, MTA planners told the Pasadena City Council and 300 or so angry residents that it would be late October before it could eliminate from study any of the 12 proposals for easing congestion near the eastern end of the Long Beach (710) Freeway.

Under increasing political pressure, 11 days later MTA tossed out several routes, including proposals to make Avenue 64 a highway and a plan to extend the Long Beach (710) Freeway to the Glendale (2) Freeway.

If MTA can be that nimble, perhaps Caltrans can follow suit. Because of the state audit released earlier this month that exposed its pitiful work as a landlord of nearly 500 properties in the 710 extension right of way in Pasadena, South Pasadena and Los Angeles, the agency is facing at least as much political heat as MTA.

In the past, Caltrans officials have said they must keep the properties until they know whether they will build a tunnel connecting the 710 to the Foothill (210) Freeway or follow some other course. While the controversial tunnel option remains on the table, Caltrans now knows it will not be building a freeway to Glendale or Eagle Rock.

It would show good political sense and restore some respect for the agency among the people in this region if Caltrans used this opportunity to study its maps, identify properties it does need and take a step away from its failures as a residential landlord.

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