California Transportation (CalTrans) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) held their last of 13 Community Liaison Council meetings Monday in the cafeteria of nearby .
The room was filled with representatives from schools, local politicians, as well as CalTrans and Metro. Residents from La Cañada Flintridge, La Crescenta, Glendale, among other neighboring towns attended the meeting to voice their concerns regarding the State Route 710 North Gap Closure Project.
The meeting addressed the gap in the I-710 corridor, which extends from Valley Boulevard to the south and Del Mar Boulevard to the north. The gap is believed to add to congestion on local streets and the regional freeway system. The coordinator of the meeting, Mary McCormick, discussed the proposed project, which may include alternatives like surface and subsurface highway/freeway construction, heavy rail and bus or light rail systems, local street upgrades, traffic management systems, and a no build alternative. All of the alternatives are being studied at this point, with the goal to relieve congestion and improve mobility in the area.
A few people who attended the meeting noted that the project wasn’t taking into account the trucks that utilize the 710, with transportation officials solely focusing on the movement of people and cars.
“The big concern is the truck traffic,” remarked Kurt Friedmann. “If you could bring statistics on the truck traffic and those numbers were available, you could alleviate a few concerns.”
School representatives like Andy Burghdorf of also raised concerns about freeway congestion and how increased smog could affect students’ health conditions.
“There are quite a bit of schools around here and we’re worried about the freeway nearby,” said Burghdorf. “We think it’d be a great idea if you could reach out to the school administration.”
Most of all, participants felt that there was a lack of a feedback loop between CalTrans and Metro and the community. They questioned the roles and responsibilities given to the members of the Community Liaison Council. They felt that comments addressed at the meeting wouldn’t have an effect on the alternatives the technical team was considering.
“I continue to recruit people to these meetings, but right now I’m having difficulty because there’s conflicting information going out,” commented Jan SooHoo, who has rallied La Cañada residents and publicized the CLC meetings with her own resources. “What role do we play?”
Before the CLC meetings took place, there were eight scoping meetings to solicit resident feedback. Following the CLC meetings, there will be six open houses held, including one at La Cañada High School on May 19 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. During the mid summer, there will be a second group of CLC meetings to discuss information received from the Open Houses.
In early fall, the technical team of the project will present a final set of alternatives that will be studied. To learn more about the SR-710 Study, visit the project website at metro.net/sr710study and on Facebook at facebook.com/sr710study.