Yesterday's edition of Sunroom Desk pointed out something that I thought needed bringing up here. It is Earth Day after all, that one 24 hour period set aside each year for us to contemplate what exactly we are doing to this place. And wouldn't you know it, Metro has designated today as the one to move along the "710 Freeway Tunnel process" just one more step forward.
Here is what SD pointed out for us:
Item 55 on the April 22, 2010 MTA Board meeting agenda includes a motion by MTA Directors John Easana and Gloria Molina to remove all zones except Zone 3 for 710 Tunnel consideration, in a bid to move that option forward in the study stage.
As we discussed earlier this week in the "Houses and Tunnels" post, we are well into the "process" phase of the 710 Tunnel. A kind of bureaucratic strip tease of options, scoping, reviews, rereviews, budgeting, consulting, testing, and whatever else they do, all with the purpose of cozening this project forward to the point where everything will be in place and, to use the popular term of the day, "shovel ready." At which time those driving the process will attempt to bum rush the public into accepting what to many potentially affected SGV cities appears to be nothing less than an environmental disaster.
And, of course, it wouldn't be a true "process" if the Green issues weren't paid at least a little bit of lip service. Which, thanks to the keen eyes at Sunroom Desk, is one of the many things we can find in Item 55 to the April 22, 2010 MTA board meeting agenda.
Over the years, outreach and consensus building have been crucial components in the transportation process. In addition, Metro has expanded its bus and rail transit services, as well as other motorized and non-motorized transportation options, and invested in signal synchronization and transportation demand management programs to provide a more balanced multi-modal system throughout the County. While much has been accomplished, in terms of identifying and addressing potential challenges associated with highway improvements and tunnel concepts for Route 710, the next steps need to reflect the current transportation planning context as well as new and emerging environmental challenges such as reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
The themes of that finely crafted bureaucratic boilerplate switch so radically the reader runs the very real risk of whiplash just by reading it. So on the one hand Metro congratulates itself by making public transportation changes that will theoretically get people out of their cars and into buses (thus helping to save the world from global warming), but on the other hand they seem to be doing all they can to move forward a tunnel project that will dump vast amounts of new auto and truck traffic onto the 710, turning our little slice of God's green earth into the equivalent of a global warming magnifying glass.
But I suppose that is all besides the point. The contradiction, though unfortunate from a marketing perspective, is actually all one and the same. The real drivers here are real estate development and commerce. And be it the 710 Tunnel or the Gold Line, strip away the greenwash and all you'll see is the money.