Remove the F7-X Tunnel Alternative from SR-710 North EIR/EIS in Favor of Better, more Fiscally and Environmentally Responsible Solutions!
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We have reviewed the history, purpose and need for the State Route-710 North Corridor and support the development and implementation of a comprehensive 21st-century mobility and transportation alternative to the current limited and antiquated approach for the SR-710 North Extension. We recommend a multi-modal approach that may include implementation of Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management (TSM/TDM), Bus Rapid Transit and Light Rail individually or in combination, but DOES NOT INCLUDE a surface freeway or tunnel connecting the 710 and 210 Freeways.
We oppose the connection of the 710 and 210 Freeways via surface freeway or tunnel for the following reasons:
- Construction of additional roadway lanes has traditionally been the most common congestion relief strategy used by transportation authorities. However, decades of research has demonstrated that expanding highways does not relieve congestion. Every 1% increase in new lane-miles generates a 0.9% increase in traffic in less than 5 years, effectively neutralizing any increase in capacity (http://www.no710.com/_better_solutions_ls/1-repurpose_the_710/highway-expansion-myth.pdf).
- The tolled tunnel will not relieve the congestion on surface streets in the study area. Metro’s own data demonstrate that, after applying a projected toll-diversion rate of 35% (page 18 at http://www.ci.south-pasadena.ca.us/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=346) to the 24% of vehicles that constitute cut-through traffic wanting to reach the 210, the tolled tunnel would serve only 16% of the vehicles currently clogging the surface streets in the study area. Therefore, 84% of the vehicles currently using surface arterials will continue to do so (slide 30 at http://media.metro.net/projects_studies/sr_710/images/SR710_tac_meeting_9_021313.pdf). In fact, arterial traffic will actually increase due to the large number of vehicles exiting the freeway to avoid paying the toll.
- The tolled tunnel is projected to handle 180,000 vehicles a day, more than four times the current figure of 44,000 in the region (http://media.metro.net/projects_studies/route_710/images/sr_710_fwy_tunnel_alt_fact_sheet_post_final_2012_1221.pdf). This increase in traffic will bring additional pollution to the communities and the many schools that are positioned directly adjacent to the 210 Freeway. The link between emissions from mobile sources to reduced lung capacity and major illnesses such as asthma, cancer, autism, more rapid progression of atherosclerosis and other health consequences is well-documented (http://www.no710.com/_resources/4-links_to_research-health_&_pollution_and_other/health-pollution-r-t.pdf).
- Roadway tunnels present inherent safety issues that cannot be mitigated (http://www.no710.com/_critical-issues-links/2-concerns/2-tunnel_info/6-tunneldangers.doc.pdf). Accidents in roadway tunnels have resulted in catastrophic fires and loss of life (http://www.no710.com/_critical-issues-links/2-concerns/2-tunnel_info/what-could-happen-sm.pdf). The SR-710 Tunnel would be 4.9 miles, the longest roadway tunnel in the United States and would pass through active seismic faults (page 8 at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/docs/appendices/Appendix%20T%20Geotechnical%20Study%20Technical%20Memorandum.pdf).
- Cost estimates for the SR-710 Tunnel have been so wildly variable as to be unreliable. Over the past 20 years, estimates have ranged from $1 -- $14 Billion (http://no710.com/_critical-issues-links/3-cost/tunnelcost-estimates.pdf). The most recent estimate by Metro/Caltrans is $5.425 Billion (page 167 at http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/resources/envdocs/docs/710study/docs/Final_AA_report_2013-01-14_Low_Res.pdf). Because Metro has only $740 Million available, construction of the tunnel necessitates a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), requiring that the tunnel will be a tolled facility. History has shown that if usage falls short of projections, taxpayers often must assume the balance of the construction and maintenance costs.
- There is widespread vocal public opposition to a connection between the 710 and 210 Freeways. The cities of Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, Los Angeles, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena have adopted formal resolutions opposing the connection. Additionally, over forty-five neighborhood councils, elected officials (including a US Congressman, State Senators and State Assemblymembers), school districts, chambers of commerce and other environmental and civic organizations have adopted resolutions or issued statements expressing their opposition to the extension (http://www.no710.com/resources.html).
We urge Caltrans to remove themselves from the property management business and sell the more than 500 homes in the 710 Corridor. Its poor management of SR-710 Extension project properties costs the State millions of dollars annually. This bad relationship between tenants and landlord must end now (http://www.bsa.ca.gov/reports/summary/2011-120).
The No 710 Action Committee is a fast-growing association of cities, organizations, professionals and citizens who realize that the SR-710 Tunnel is an unacceptable alternative to address regional transportation problems. Our mission is to promote solutions that are environmentally and fiscally sound, reduce pollution, lower health risks, relieve congestion, and eliminate public dependence on fossil fuels. The No 710 Action Committee demands that transportation authorities operate in an honest and transparent manner that is responsive to the concerns and interests of the impacted communities and the public at large (http://www.no710.com).
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