While people for and against a project to close the gap between the 710-Long Beach Freeway in Alhambra and the 210-Foohill Freeway in Pasadena may disagree passionately on whether the project, over 50 years in the making, is a good idea, it’s likely they can all agree on one thing: It is important for stakeholders to attend at least one of three “All Communities Convening” information sessions being put on by Metro starting next week.
Lea esta nota en ESPAÑOL: Metro Presentará Alternativas Refinadas para Cerrar la Brecha del SR-710
The sessions will update the status of the 5 project alternatives still under consideration in the SR-710 North Environmental Study, and give people an opportunity to ask questions and be heard during the planning process, according to Metro.
The study looks at the various options to reduce traffic congestion caused by a gap from where the 710 Freeway ends and the 210 Freeway.
While many residents see it as a local control issue, the gap closure project has regional transportation implications. It’s goal is to relieve street congestion in several cities, along State Route 2, Interstates 5, 10, 210 and 605, as well as East/Northeast Los Angeles and the San Gabriel Valley, say transportation authorities.
$780 million in voter approved Measure R tax revenue has so far been approved for the project; about 10 percent is being used to complete required environmental studies, according to Metro Highway Program Project Manager Michelle E. Smith.
Measure R is expected to generate $40 billion over the next 30 years for projects aimed at traffic relief, and for transportation upgrades in Los Angeles County. The 710 gap closure project is one of many projects under Measure R.
The upcoming information sessions — July 18, July 20 and July 23 — will include a presentation by a moderator, with members of the 710 study technical team on hand to answer questions, according to Metro spokesperson, Helen Ortiz-Gilstrap.
The sessions will layout refinements and variations made to the designs for the four build alternatives that address stakeholder comments, and better meet the “performance measures and objectives” of “improving connectivity and mobility, reducing congestions, increasing transit ridership and minimizing environmental and community impacts,” Ortiz-Gilstrap told EGP in an email.
Those alternatives include a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that among other things would include more dedicated bus lanes to provide “high speed, high frequency bus service” between East Los Angeles and Pasadena/La Canada; a light rail system similar to the Gold Line; better traffic management including synchronizing traffic signals, ramp metering and street widening, and the most expensive of all the alternatives, an underground tunnel connecting the 710 and 210 freeways.
Leaving things as they are, or a “No Build” option is the fifth alternative under consideration.
Ortiz-Gilstrap told EGP that the information being presented at each of the sessions will be identical, so residents only need to attend one meeting.
Metro completed the project alternative analysis last year and is now in the environmental document preparation phase which includes an extensive number of technical studies that will look at the impact of each of the alternatives on the air, water and cultural resources in the affected communities as required under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The results will be included in the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Metro Highway Programs Executive Director Frank Quon told EGP recently.
Despite Metro’s statements to the contrary, residents in some communities have alleged that the transportation agency has already decided on its preferred route. They are concerned their homes and businesses could be taken to make room for a tunnel or light rail system.
Quon told EGP that at the information meetings residents will be able to look at detailed maps of the alternatives to see what is really being considered, ask questions and raise any concerns.
“I would like to … be able to say, ‘here’s your home, what do you want to know about what’s going on around your home? What do these alternatives mean to you?’” Quon told EGP.
For example, one of the light rail transit variations includes an elevated track that goes down Mednik Street in East Los Angeles toward Cal State Los Angeles, before going underground in Alhambra and heading to Pasadena. It’s possible eminent domain could be used to get land needed for the stations, Quon told EGP.
The light rail option is estimated to cost between $2.4 and $2.6 billion and would require funding beyond the $780 million approved. The bus route is estimated at $50 million, the traffic and transportation management system would be less than that, and the “no build” option would basically be $0, Quon said.
A surface route, considered too disruptive to communities, has been eliminated, Quon said. The route involving Avenue 64 in Northeast L.A. is also long gone, according to Metro officials. However, one of the equally, if not more controversial alternatives, an 8-lane tunnel 150-200 feet below ground, is still on the table.
A public-private partnership could be formed to build the tunnel which could cost upwards of $5.4 billion, with the private investor operating the tunnel as a toll road to recoup their investment. If built, the tunnel would have portals on the south end of Valley Boulevard and the north end between Green St. and Del Mar, according to Metro.
Exhaust vents would utilize the latest technology to clean the air. Quon said. “It’s not going to be an open-ended pipe, regulating agencies won’t allow that.” Because some of the studies are still very preliminary, Quon said Metro is not yet able to answer every question being raised, but is attempting to share the information as it is developed.
The Draft EIR/EIS are expected to be published this fall and Metro envisions conducting another round of meetings before the release, according to Ortiz-Gilstrap.
Metro’s Board could receive a recommendation by the summer of 2015, she said.
For some of the opponents to the SR-710 freeway extension, however, it’s not about which route; they oppose all of the build alternatives. They say all four options are aimed at making it easier for companies to move goods at the expense of people’s health and finances.
However, two recent occurrences are giving them hope that the tide may be turning in their favor: The Metro’s Board’s vote to remove the SR-710 Gap from the list of highway projects to receive accelerated funding through Measure R, and the addition of new Metro board members, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Last week, about 150 opponents of the SR-710 freeway marched and chanted “No 710” at South Pasadena’s July 4th Festival of Balloons Parade, according to Joanne Nuckols of the No 710 Action Committee. The committee was marking a 60-year anniversary fighting the extension of the freeway through their community.
Nuckols says the removal of the 710 from the list of accelerated projects is a major victory: “It is the first time the majority of the board has voted against something on the 710,” Nuckols told EGP.
She also noted that as a councilman, Garcetti, along with Councilman José Huizar and former Councilman Ed Reyes authored a resolution opposing the 710 Freeway extension; above ground or by tunnel.
The 710 Freeway currently ends on Valley Boulevard in Alhambra, just bocks north of Monterey Park where some city officials say they are frustrated that the project’s been stalled for so many years. It needs to be completed to help alleviate all the traffic spilling off the freeway and onto Monterey Park streets, the city’s mayor, Teresa Real Sebastian told EGP.
Monterey Park residents are tired of dealing with the pollution and traffic that has resulted from their main streets — Fremont, Garfield Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard —being used as connector roads to Pasadena, she said.
As a former South Pasadena resident, the mayor says she prefers the tunnel option because “it does not divide the city in half.”
Metro says it is doing extensive outreach to residents and community, religious, business and non-profit groups.
It emphasises that while all the alternatives are viable, the “no build” option would not resolve traffic congestion problems.
“When voters voted [for Measure R] the 710 was identified as a project in this area and it identified $780 million toward that project. So it’s a significant message that came from the voters of LA County,” Quon said.
The board’s decision to not fast track the project doesn’t kill it, it just doesn’t speed it up.
The “All communities Convening” schedule is as follows:
– Thursday, July 18, 2013 – 6-8 pm at Los Angeles Presbyterian Church, 2241 N Eastern Ave. in El Sereno
– Saturday, July 20, 2013 – 9:30-11:30 am at Blair High School, 1201 S. Marengo Ave., Pasadena, CA.
*This meeting will be streaming live or on-demand at SR 710 North Study USTREAM channel.
– Tuesday, July 23, 2013 – 6-8 pm at the Langley Senior Center, 400 W. Emerson Ave., Monterey Park, CA
A brush fire broke out Monday in Montebello near the Whittier Narrows Dam at 12:37 a.m., said a dispatcher with Verdugo Fire Dispatch.
It soon charred around 7 acres of heavy brush inside the Rio Hondo riverbed, near Lincoln Avenue and San Gabriel Boulevard, a news photographer reported from the scene.
A helicopter made water drops on the blaze throughout the night and crews from Montebello, Monterey Park, Downey and Los Angeles County worked to clear a line of vegetation around the flames. No structures were threatened and no evacuations were ordered, the dispatcher said
No injuries were reported.
A pesar de que los proponentes y los oponentes del proyecto para cerrar la brecha entre la autopista 710-Long Beach en Alhambra y la autopista 210-Foothill en Pasadena, están en desacuerdo, ambos lados probablemente acuerdan que es importante que el público asista a una de las tres sesiones comunitarias informativas “All Communities Convening” (Convocatoria a todas las comunidades) que Metro presentará durante las próximas dos semanas.
Read this story IN ENGLISH: Metro to Share Refined SR-710 Alternatives
Las sesiones presentarán información actualizada acerca de las cinco alternativas aún bajo consideración para el estudio de impacto ambiental (EIR) para un posible proyecto para hacer frente el embotellamiento de tráfico debido a la brecha de la autopista SR-710 al norte. Las reuniones también le darán la oportunidad al público de hacer preguntas y someter comentarios durante el proceso de planificación, de acuerdo con Metro.
Mientras que muchos residentes ven este asunto como un problema de control local, el proyecto tiene implicaciones regionales. La meta del estudio es ubicar la mejor opción para aliviar la congestión en las autopistas del Condado de Los Ángeles, específicamente sobre la Ruta Estatal 2, las carreteras interestatales 5, 10, 210 y 605, pero también reduciría el tráfico en Alhambra y ciudades de la zona ya que muchos conductores utilizan las calles de las ciudades cercanas para llegar a su destino, dicen las autoridades de transporte.
En 2008, los votantes del condado de Los Ángeles aprobaron la Medida R para proyectos de transporte que aliviarán la congestión en la región. Se anticipa que la Medida R generará $40 millones durante los próximos 30 años. De estos fondos, $780 millones se han apartado para cerrar la brecha de la autopista 710; el 10 por ciento se utiliza para completar los estudios ambientales requeridos, de acuerdo con la gerente de proyecto de autopistas de Metro Michelle E. Smith.
Las próximas sesiones informativas—el 18, 20 y 23 de julio—incluirán una presentación por un moderador, con los miembros del equipo de estudio técnico del 710 a su disposición para responder a preguntas, según la portavoz de Metro Helen Ortiz-Gilstrap.
Las sesiones mostrarán los diseños refinados y variaciones introducidas a los diseños para las cuatro alternativas de construcción que también responden a los comentarios iniciales de los residentes. Además, responden mejor a las “medidas de desempeño y los objetivos” de “mejor conectividad y movilidad, la reducción de la congestión, aumento del uso de transporte y minimizar los impactos ambientales y comunitarios,” Ortiz-Gilstrap dijo a EGP en un correo electrónico.
Esas alternativas incluyen un sistema de buses de tránsito rápido (BRT), que entre otras cosas incluiría carriles exclusivos para autobuses para proporcionar “servicio de autobús de alta frecuencia y de alta velocidad” entre el Este de Los Ángeles y Pasadena / La Cañada, un sistema de tren ligero similar a la Línea de Oro de Metro; mejor gestión del tráfico, incluyendo señales de tráfico sincronizadas, medidores de rampas y ampliación de calles; y la alternativa más costosa de todas un túnel subterráneo que conecta las autopistas 710 y 210. Dejar las cosas como están, lo cual es la opción de “no construcción” es la quinta alternativa bajo consideración.
Ortiz-Gilstrap dijo a EGP que la información que será presentada en cada una de las sesiones será lo mismo, por lo que los residentes sólo tienen que asistir a una reunión.
El año pasado, Metro completó el análisis alternativo y ahora está en la fase de preparación del documento ambiental que incluye un gran número de estudios técnicos sobre el impacto que cada una de las alternativas podría tener sobre el aire, el agua y los recursos culturales en las comunidades afectadas, como es requerido bajo la Ley de Calidad Ambiental de California (CEQA) y la Ley Nacional de Política Ambiental (NEPA). Los resultados se incluirán en el proyecto de Informe de Impacto Ambiental (EIR) y la Declaración de Impacto Ambiental (EIS), dijo a EGP el director ejecutivo de Programas de Autopistas de Metro Frank Quon.
Algunos residentes alegan que Metro ya ha elegido una ruta, pero Metro niega esto. Hay residentes que están preocupados que sus hogares y empresas podrían ser tomadas para hacer espacio para un túnel o un sistema de tren ligero.
Quon dijo que en las reuniones los residentes podrán ver los mapas detallados, hacer preguntas y plantear problemas acerca de las alternativas.
“Me gustaría poder decir, ‘aquí está su hogar, ¿qué es lo que quieres saber acerca de lo que está pasando alrededor de su hogar? ¿Qué significan estas alternativas para usted?’” Quon dijo a EGP.
Por ejemplo, una de las variaciones del tren ligero incluye una vía elevada sobre la calle Mednik en el Este de Los Ángeles que viaja hacia Cal State Los Angeles, antes de pasar subterráneamente por Alhambra en rumbo a Pasadena. La expropiación de terrenos se podría utilizar para obtener lotes necesarios para las estaciones, Quon dijo a EGP.
La ruta sobre la superficie que implicaba la Avenida 64 en el Noreste de Los Ángeles hace mucho fue eliminada, de acuerdo con funcionarios de Metro.
Sin embargo, un túnel de 8 pistas, de 150-200 metros por debajo del suelo, todavía es una opción.
El túnel que podría costar más de $5,4 millones, podrá necesitar una asociación público-privada para cubrir la financiación del túnel, lo cual podría resultar en que el túnel sea una carretera de peaje para pagar la inversión privada. Si se construye, el túnel tendría portales de entrada y salida en el extremo sur de Valley Boulevard y el extremo norte entre Green St. y Del Mar, de acuerdo con Metro.
Las ventilaciones de escape utilizarán la última tecnología para limpiar el aire, dijo Quon. “No será un tubo abierto, las agencias reguladoras no lo permitirán,” explicó. Y debido a que algunos de los estudios son todavía muy preliminares Quon dijo que Metro aún no es capaz de responder a todas las preguntas que son planteadas, pero está tratando de compartir la información a medida que se desarrolla.
Se anticipa que el borrador del EIR / EIS se publicará este otoño y Metro prevé la realización de una nueva ronda de reuniones antes de su liberación, según Ortiz-Gilstrap.
La junta de directores de Metro podría recibir una recomendación para una de las alternativas durante el verano de 2015, ella dijo.
Los residentes a favor de cerrar la brecha de la autopista 710 enfatizan que están cansados del tráfico paralizado y la contaminación por autos parados, muchos de los cuales no son de la zona, simplemente están pasando por la comunidad.
Algunos de los opositores creen que construir un proyecto para cerrar la brecha creará aún más contaminación del Aire. Algunos dicen que las cuatro opciones están dirigidas a facilitar la transportación de mercancías por empresas a expensa de la salud y las finanzas del público.
Individuos que prefieren pedir información por teléfono pueden llamar (855) 447-7100. Metro también ha desarrollado una herramienta interactiva en la Internet que ayudará a los residentes ver las alternativas, para utilizar la herramienta visite www.sr710etool.com.
Detalles de las Sesiones
–Sábado, 20 de julio – 9:30 a 11:30 a.m. en Blair High School, 1201 S. Marengo Ave; Pasadena.
–Martes, 23 de julio – 6 a 8 p.m. en Langley Senior Center, 400 W Emerson Ave; Monterey Park.
Personas que no pueden asistir en persona una de las reuniones podrán ver la transmisión de la reunión del sábado, 20 de julio, empezando a las 10 a.m. en: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/sr-710-study.
Para obtener más información acerca del estudio ambiental del SR-710 visite www.Metro.net/sr710study. Información también esta disponible en www.facebook.com/sr710study o en Twitter en Twitter@sr710study.
California came in at 41st in a nationwide ranking of children’s well-being, according to a report released late last month.
The state ranked just ahead of Texas, which finished in 42nd place. New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts earned the highest rankings, while Nevada, Mississippi, and New Mexico ranked lowest.
The report, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in partnership with Children Now, determined rankings by taking into account the state’s performance in 16 areas, including graduation rates, parental unemployment rates, and the percentage of children who are uninsured. California placed 41st in 2012 as well.
Jelena Hasbrouck, Children Now’s member recruitment manager, called the findings “alarming” and said they “signal a need for those in our state that want to improve children’s lives to collectively work together for greater impact.”
The state fared worst in children’s economic well-being, where it placed 46th in the nation. In recent years, California has worsened in all four areas that the study uses to determine economic well-being – the percentages of children living in poverty, children whose parents lack secure employment, children living in households with a high housing cost burden, and teens not enrolled in school who are unemployed.
Notably, over 50 percent of California’s children live in households with a high housing cost burden, compared to 40 percent of children nationally. Over 75 percent of children from low-income families in California live in households where housing costs exceed 30 percent of the family’s income.
Nearly one in four (23 percent) California kids lives in a family whose income is below the federal poverty level, up from 17 percent in 2007. Of those, 37 percent are American Indian, 34 percent are African American, 31 percent are Latino, 14 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, and 10 percent are white. Seventeen percent are members of two or more races.
California ranks 29th in health, down from 23rd last year. Health was scored by the percentages of low-birth weight babies, child and teen deaths, teens who abuse alcohol or drugs, and children who lack health insurance. The state has made modest improvements in health; currently, 8 percent of California’s children are uninsured, down from 11 percent in 2008.
Jessica Mindnich, Children Now’s research director, notes that the report shows that as employer-based health coverage is trending down, public coverage is picking up the slack. The most recent data available show that 43 percent of kids are covered by their families’ employer-based plans, down from 47 percent in 2007. Thirty-five percent of kids are covered by public plans like Medi-Cal, up from 29 percent in 2007.
While findings show that over 90 percent of California’s kids have continuous health insurance, Mindnich says that with more children being covered by public programs, Children Now is concerned with their real access to medical providers.
For example, though Children Now found that 80 percent of California’s kids have dental insurance, Mindnich says that in 29 counties across the state, there are no pediatric dentists that accept Denti-Cal, the state’s dental program under Medi-Cal.
“We want to make sure that the state is prioritizing children and treating them like a treasured human capital,” says Mindnich.
The city of Montebello has been awarded an $8,000 grant to help pay for renovations to a veterans memorial at Montebello City Park.
The Home Depot Foundation grant will be used to makeover the memorial which in recent years has been the target of graffiti vandals, and in 2011 the theft of copper plaques commemorating the U.S. Constitution bicentennial.
Vivian Romero and John Paul Garcia, both members of the city’s Culture and Recreation Commission, spearheaded the effort to restore the memorial and remove the signs of “disrespect” that continue to happen despite the city’s efforts to beautify the area.
Romero notes that the park and memorial have been neglected for a very long time.
“The veterans memorial has become a defunct skateboard park,” and “getting ruined by skateboarders that are using it as a platform to do tricks,” Romero said.
“Its about being tired of the way things looked,” he said, explaining why they have worked so hard to bring about the memorial’s renovation.
Home Depot’s community service foundation helps fund veteran-related projects like the one at City Park. On Aug. 22, Team Depot will be at the park to make the renovations, which, among other things, will include installing 2000 square feet of pavers, resurfacing and planting new vegetation in eight flowerbeds and installing tile on the memorial wall.
Romero told EGP she hopes the city will do a better job of policing the area, and if necessary, adopt stricter penalties for offenders.
The city is also looking into skateboard deterrents and using anti-graffiti coating as a way to discourage vandals, Romero said.
During a park beautification day in May, residents helped clean and prepare the area for the city’s Memorial Day observance. They planted dozens of 20-foot trees and plants donated by a local wholesale tree distribution company. The city, after years of tight budgets, paid for new plaques to be installed in time for the public ceremony.
Anyone interested in volunteering to help renovate the site in August, should contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (323) 887-4540.
Bus benches throughout Boyle Heights and downtown Los Angeles are becoming the canvas for a visual public art project debuting this week.
Curated by the city of Los Angeles’ DoArt Foundation (DoArt) and Make Art Public (MAP), in coordination with Martin Outdoor Media — the company that has the contract to sell advertising on the benches — the art installations will display unusual scenes captured on Google Earth Street View and images of superheros portraying immigrant workers.
Councilman Jose Huizar approached Martin Outdoor Media with the idea of filling available spaces on bus benches with art until they are leased out for advertisement, according to the councilman’s office.
Martin Outdoor Media has agreed to offer free space on up to 100 bus benches in Council District 14 through September for the artwork.
Twenty of the public art images were installed on July 5.
“This project gives us the opportunity to bring art to the public right-of-way,” said Huizar, thanking all those involved, including the artists.
DoArt, a local organization focused on public art and education, and MAP, a Montreal-based collective dedicated to creating public art on unsold advertising space, is funding the project. They selected works by artists Dulce Pinzón and Jon Rafman for the public installations.
The color photographs of Mexican immigrants dressed in the costumes of popular American and Mexican superheroes are the work of Pinzón, an artist from Mexico.
Her “Superheroes” series explores the lives and labor-intensive jobs held by many migrant workers, specifically those of Mexican heritage. Her work pays homage to the brave and determined men and women who somehow manage, without the help of any supernatural power, to withstand extreme work conditions in order to help their families and communities survive and prosper, according to Huizar.
On the other hand, Rafman’s contemporary pieces depict interesting and unusual images caught on Google Earth Street View from around the world. His “9 Eyes” series of Street View photography shows “a spontaneous quality unspoiled by the sensitivities or agendas of a human photographer.”
Responding to excessive heat warnings issued last week across the Southland, the City of Commerce announced that city facilities will become public “Cooling Stations” on days when the temperature is forecast to be 95 degrees or above.
Residents can take refuge from the heat in one of the city’s air conditioned facilities, which include four parks, each with an outdoor spray pool for children; four libraries; an indoor swimming pool at the Brenda Villa Aquatic Center; the Commerce Teen Center and the Commerce Senior Center. Except for the indoor pool, the facilities are free of charge to enter.
As an added bonus, on days where extreme heat is forecast, City parks will show family movies and provide cold water during operating hours from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the age limit at City spray pools will be waived; and the Senior Center will be kept open on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
For hours of operation or other information, call the facility you would like to visit at one of the following numbers: Brenda Villa Aquatic Center (323) 887-4407; Bandini Park (323) 887-4425; Bristow Park (323) 269-5603; Rosewood Park (323) 887-4427; Veterans Park (562) 927-1515; Teen Center (323) 264-4665; Senior Citizens Center (323) 887-4430; Central Library (323) 722-6660; Atlantic Library (323) 887-4494; Bristow Park Library (323) 887-4492; Greenwood Library (562) 927-1516.
A worker was arrested on July 5th for allegedly bringing drugs into the Men’s Central Jail.
Lila Hernandez was arrested around 3 a.m. as she entered the security area of the jail and narcotics were found in her possession, according to the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.
The sheriff’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau conducted a brief investigation before Hernandez’s arrest, officials said.
Hernandez was booked at the sheriff’s East Los Angeles Station. She was being held on $30,000 bail, according to the sheriff’s Inmate Information Center.
Hernandez worked at the Men’s Central Jail for 15 months, officials said.
A man wounded in a shooting in East Los Angeles died from his injuries on July 5th.
The shooting happened around 10 p.m. on July 4 in the 3400 block of Floral Drive, said Deputy Crystal Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau.
The victim was taken to County-USC Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:05 p.m., Hernandez said.
Anyone with information about the shooting was urged to contact sheriff’s homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500. Anonymous tips can be made by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.