For this occasion they have concocted some of the rather astringent government phraseology that typifies public announcements such as this. Then packed it into a press release that carefully avoided the true purpose of this effort like it was an unwanted visitation from your least favorite dead relative. Building the godforesaken SR-710 Tunnel. George Orwell must be spinning in his grave. Here are some examples of this journey into the heart of darkness, complete with edifying commentary from us.
For the SR-710 Study, Metro and Caltrans are evaluating options to improve mobility and relieve congestion within the study area of the western San Gabriel Valley and east/northeast Los Angeles.
As someone who commutes daily to Burbank on the 210, I can personally attest that it gets pretty congested at times. How building the 710 Tunnel, which would directly funnel a whole lot of additional traffic onto the 210, is going to improve traffic congestion and "mobility" in this area is beyond me. It really doesn't make any sense. Quite honestly, I think they just made that part up, and that these people will say anything to build the damn thing.
In this meeting, people will learn about the multi-modal alternative concepts under evaluation in the SR-710 Study process, including, but not limited to, "no build" alternative, improvements to local streets, expansion of transit systems, as well as freeway options.
Basically what all that gibberish says is that Caltrans and Metro are required to air (sorry) this stuff out as part of the environmental study they have to complete in order to get this project approved. But without actually having to say that this is about building a tunnel that will dump thousand of trucks, buses and cars onto an already jammed 210. Or turn our sunny valley into a diesel truck corridor that will render the air something profoundly toxic.
The alternate concepts and other study process information will be available for viewing on large interactive boards staffed by multi-disciplinary team members.
I wonder what would happen if you brought some boards of your own? Boards that might express viewpoints that are contrary to those posted on the boards they will provide? Even the ones that they claim are "alternative concepts?" I'm also curious what it is about these boards that make them interactive. Does it mean you can write on them?
Of course, Caltrans and Metro do know exactly what this is all about, and they also know that it is going to do some serious environmental damage to the already dicey air quality of the San Gabriel Valley. They just don't want you to think about that. And obviously they don't want anyone who shows up to their little "Alternative Analysis Outreach" open houses to discuss such things. That would hardly help with "the process."
In Tuesday's Los Angeles Times there is an article about electric trucks, and how some fine day they might be plying the SR-710 (click here). However, buried in the heart of this item is the following bad news about the 710 and what this all could foretell for our slice of the San Gabriel Valley should this tunnel be built and bring all of that into our lives.
"Most people think about cars when they think of vehicle emissions, but the reality is it's freight trucks," said Daryl Dulaney, chief executive of North American infrastructure and cities sector for Siemans.
More than 40% of freight that arrives in the U.S. via shipping containers comes through the ports of Long Beach and L.A. That freight then has to be trucked to rail stations and other points of distribution.
More than 10,000 trucks serve these two ports, according to a 2011 analysis conducted by the Port of L.A. The movement of goods through Southern California's ports affects almost 17 million people and causes billions of dollars in health-related costs annually, according to a 2011 report from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
"The ports have made tremendous improvements, but goods-movement-related air pollution remains our largest source of air pollution in Southern California," said Barry Wallerstein, AQMD executive officer.
And much of that is what will show up on the 210 should the 710 Tunnel be built. The thousands of trucks that will then be funneled into the San Gabriel Valley will further degrade the environment while putting the health of those who live here at risk. In addition to turning the 210 into even more of a parking lot than it already is now.
At the Caltrans and Metro open houses none of that will be brought up by the hosts. I'm certain there will be plenty of multi-modaling and alternatives analysis going on, but that is just a distraction. Don't expect much conversation on some of the topics brought up here. But should you go, do try and bring up some of the stuff we have discussed here. It will annoy them no end.
And, of course, they have a Facebook page (click here). Doesn't everybody? Except me, of course.
The get-together that I would likely attend takes place on May 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the South Pasadena Library Community Room. It is located at 1115 El Centro Street in South Pasadena.
This Evening's Planning Commission Meeting
This one is all about the possibility of allowing the Pinney House to become a bed and breakfast. A cozy sounding concept that the owners hope will make this recently renovated pile more attractive to buyers as this historic structure has been on the market for a while. Word is the owner is getting rather anxious about his prospects of ever moving the place. It isn't easy (or cheap) being the protector of so large a slice of Sierra Madre history.
From the City Staff "Executive Summary" on this matter:
The applicants, Greg and Judy Asbury, are proposing the adaptive reuse of a 10,124-square-foot historic single-family residence as a bed and breakfast inn on property located at 225 North Lima Street (Pinney House). Pursuant to Code Section 17.82.065, a Conditional Use Permit is required to convert single-family residences to bed and breakfast inns. The conversion to a bed and breakfast inn would include 6 (six) guest rooms, 1 (one) innkeeper unit, and 7 (seven) on-site parking spaces. Pursuant to Code Section 17.08.020, off-street parking spaces must be readily accessible.
The Executive Summary then goes on to say that Staff recommends approval of all this, probably because the Asburys are tight with Mayor Moran. Which is how things are being done this year.
I personally have a problem with the concept of a bed and breakfast. It is far too polite a term and, as a guy, kind of suggests the sort of thing someone's wife might think is the fine use of a weekend. Which is OK, we all have to make accommodations regarding the wishes of our far finer halves. But it still sounds kind of fussy to me.
Seeing how the Planning Commission is mostly guys, I think the Asburys will find themselves getting a much quicker approval if they renovated their concept a little bit. How about instead of a "bed and breakfast," they called it a "dinner with a couple of drinks, then passing out on the couch in front of really big screen TV" place? With a cigar shop.
Put the Lakers or the Dodgers on and it would be a hell of a lot more interesting than an evening of discussing the quaintness of the carefully redesigned woodwork, or how comfortable the mattress might be. And far be it from me to start rumors, but I have heard from more than one source that marmalade causes male pattern baldness.
You didn't hear that from me.