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The Final 5 Options For Closing the 710 Freeway Gap

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On late Friday afternoon, Metro finally, finally released its study (pdf) on how to close the 710 Freeway gap between Alhambra and Pasadena--the debate over this issue has been going on since long before the invention of cars, as far as we can tell, and this particular report was supposed to come out last fall. Either way, it's finally here and it outlines five potential plans (including a big tunnel and a light rail line) for dealing with the four and a half mile space between the end of the 710 and the beginning of the 210--these five (whittled down from 42) will be studied for the final environmental impact report, due out in 2014, according to the Pasadena Star-News. Each option was evaluted for how it "would minimize travel time, improve connectivity and mobility, reduce congestion on the freeway system, reduce congestion on local streets and increase transit ridership," as well as environmental impact and cost.

Doing nothing (aka "no build"): $0!

Traffic management systems: According to Streetsblog, this option "consists of strategies and improvements to increase efficiency and capacity for all modes in the transportation system," which would include improving bus service, access for pedestrians and bikers, traffic intersections, and so on. The cost would be $120 million (with at least some coming from Measure R sales tax money).

Light rail: A proposed train line "would begin at an aerial station on Mednik Avenue adjacent to the existing East LA Civic Center Station on the Metro Gold Line. It would remain elevated as it travels north to a station adjacent to Cal State LA, then descend into a tunnel north of Valley Boulevard and end at an underground station beneath the existing Fillmore Station on the Metro Gold Line." It would cost $2.4 to $2.6 billion.

Bus route: This option would create bus rapid transit service "between Whittier Boulevard, just south of the Gold Line Atlantic Station, and Pasadena City College (PCC) and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena." It would cost about $50 million (with some money from Measure R sales tax money).

Freeway tunnel: The bored (as in tunneling method, not excitement level) tunnels would run between the 710 stub just north of the 10 and the 710 stub just south of the 210/134 interchange. They would carry an eight-lane freeway, one tunnel heading in each direction. This would cost $5.4 billion (possibly funded with a toll)

The report didn't find that any project is a strong frontrunner and "suggests that 'refinements' are added to each alternative." Meanwhile, they'll start hosting open houses to shares its findings--those start January 23.
· Metro releases final Alternatives Analysis report for 710 study [PSN]
· Open Thread: Big Dig Alternative Analysis Released [Streetsblog LA]