Supporters of closing the 6.2-mile gap of Interstate 710 between Interstate 10 and Pasadena took to demonstrating on Fremont Avenue on Wednesday as part of the city of Alhambra’s first-ever “710 Day.”
Not coincidentally being held on July 10 - hence 7/10 - city officials - along with those from neighboring west San Gabriel Valley cities - are making it clear: The want Interstate 710 between Valley Boulevard and Interstate 210 in Pasadena completed.
Barbara Messina, a member of the Alhambra City Council – which has joined forces with neighboring cities Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Rosemead and San Marino – said “it’s time” to get the freeway completed.
“Today is the beginning for us to create awareness amongst the residents not only of Alhambra, but also among the five cities that are part of our coalition,” Messina said. “All of us impacted the same. During the next 18 months, during the environmental impact study it is our time to make the community aware of not only the need but the seriousness of this completion.”
Messina added now that money for the plan is available, now is the time to build it.
“The big lag on our part is because financing had never been identified,” she said. “So, it’s really hard for us to keep people encouraged and interested when we couldn’t say there was money to do this. The tunnel is the only (plan) that’s viable because there’s funding for that. It will be built through a public-private partnership. That means the company fronts all the construction money, they do the maintenance and they will run it. They will collect a toll. It will be a toll road. So that’s why it’s do-able now.”
She added she doesn’t understand why the people of cities along I-210 – namely South Pasadena, Pasadena and La Canada – are opposing the project and have done so for years.
“It doesn’t affect them at all,” Messina said. “I don’t know why they’re so upset, especially the La Canada people. What about all the people south (of Valley Boulevard on Interstate 710)? The Cudahys? The Maywoods who gave their property to get the Long Beach Freeway to where it is now? It was never intended to end on Valley Boulevard.”
Not so fast with the construction, said Pasadena resident Sylvia Plummer with the group “No on 710.” Plummer said the project is just “a bad idea.”
“It’s a bad idea for all the cities involved,” Plummer said. “This tunnel is a five-mile, no-exit tunnel. My concerns are the pollution, the trucks, the goods movements going through the tunnel. We already have enough traffic on the 210 and this is going to bring more. (Alhambra) will suffer more. Alhambra is complaining about traffic on Fremont. What about when people don’t want to pay a toll of $5 to $15? They’re going to find out then what traffic is really like.”
Fellow group member and Pasadena resident Ann Kelley agreed with Plummer.
“It doesn’t solve Alhambra’s problems and it doesn’t solve surface street problems between here and the 210 Freeway,” Kelley said. “I hope it will never go through.”