Let's improve the freeways we have

Regarding the Nov. 1 letter "710 extension would improve Glendale traffic," Mayor Ara Najarian is looking out for the best interests of Glendale residents, but more importantly, of all stakeholders in the entire L.A. region.

Extending the Long Beach (710) Freeway is a bad idea. If the original, proposed Meridian route through El Sereno, South Pasadena and Pasadena was chosen by way of surface or tunnel, the California Department of Transportation would need to claim 1,000 homes. The freeway would literally split these towns in half.

If an underground tunnel is built, there would be huge ventilation structures and toll plazas jutting out from the ground. The north end of the tunnel would sit right next to Huntington Memorial Hospital and emit concentrated particulate matter out the end.

The cost has been estimated by government officials to be between $1 billion and $14 billion. And the project has yet to be defined. So Najarian is simply asking that if we are going to do this massive project, the longest road tunnel in the U.S., shouldn't we at least have an idea of its cost and purpose before the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority moves to the environmental stage? It is an extremely reasonable and logical starting point.

We must also consider a better system to move cargo from the ports. As we all know, this is the reason our MTA Board of Directors is pushing for the project. Only trucking companies will be able to afford the estimated $5 to $15 toll one way, and they will pass this fee to consumers in the way of higher retail costs.

Commuters will jump off the "freeway" to avoid the high toll and still clog the Ventura (134), Glendale (2) and Foothill (210) freeways. Let's fix the freeways we have, not waste money on a project that will open with an "F" rating.

Susan Bolan

La Crescenta

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