MTA board OKs further study of Long Beach Freeway tunnel idea

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority agreed to fund an analysis of a proposed tunnel extension of the 710 Freeway. The plan would connect the end of the Long Beach Freeway to the 210 Freeway via a 4.5 mile tunnel under South Pasadena.

The Metro board convened a public hearing on the issue that people have debated for decades. Some neighbors of the proposed route supported moving the plan to the next level - the environmental study phase. Others, like Susan Bolan of La Crescenta, opposed that idea.

“We’re jumping too early into an environmental process,” Bolan said. “It’s way too early to look at that and some people say it’s been going on for so long, it doesn’t seem like it’s too soon. But we have not had a true feasibility study to really look at the project definitions. And to make sure this is good for all of the people in all of the regions in L.A.”

Ara Najarian, Glendale mayor and Metro board chair, wants to block any tunnel extension. He’s pushing for an amendment that that would first study alternate solutions to traffic congestion.

Board members at today’s hearing entered a closed session after protesters with the Bus Riders Union interrupted. The protesters demanded a public hearing on the Metro fare hike scheduled to take effect July first.