Proposed expansion of the 710 freeway

Traffic is one of the biggest headaches people in southern California deal with on a daily basis. Sitting in the car for hours can make any person think, "Why can't they just fix this congestion problem?" 

Unfortunately, the answer is rarely easy, especially when doing so would displace hundreds of residents who would lose their homes through eminent domain. The 710 extension has been a long studied proposed project in Pasadena. Currently, the 710 north ends at Valley View in Monterey Park.  The proposed connection would complete the freeway up to California Blvd in Pasadena.  There hasbeen years of history with this project, including several very different alternatives.

The two options the agency was considering included adding additional lanes in either direction, or adding four lanes reserved solely for trucks. The intention was to alleviate the congestion and make it faster for trucks to carry cargo through the area.

However, critics maintain that adding lanes was not going to solve the problem. In fact, doing so would just invite more drivers to the area and exacerbate traffic pollutants in the so-called "diesel death zone", they argue. Further, both options would still displace residents in the area through eminent domain actions -- residents who may not know their legal rights and could actually be ineligible for compensation for their properties.

Displacing people with eminent domain claims is often a bigger issue than relocating one or two families. In both proposed alternatives for the 710 project, hundreds of people and businesses would have been displaced and forced to move. That kind of action affects the whole community now and well into the future. As one city councilman noted, "It haunts and scars an area for a long time."

For now, efforts to widen the 710 are on hold, but they could certainly come up again in the future. At that time, hopefully there are better, safer options available that accomplish both goals of alleviating congestion in the area while also allowing residents to stay in their homes. Though, that remains to be seen.

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