Coverage in detail
|(February 26. 2018, 6:15 a.m., updated 8:45 a.m.) -- Long Beach Mayor and Metro Boardmember Robert Garcia supports a Metro-staff favored widening of the I-710 freeway (Alternative 5C) (five mixed-flow lanes in each direction, with truck bypass lanes at the 710/405 interchange) that doesn't include an elevated "Clean Freight Corridor" (Alternative 7) and has joined in co-authoring a motion, made earlier in a Metro Committee by Supervisor Janice Hahn, to approve 5C with amendments at the
The amendments, visible on Metro's
[UPDATE: Board member/Supervisor Janice Hahn made a motion on Feb. 14 at Metro's Ad Hoc Congestion Committee on Feb. 14 to raise the amount for zero emission trucks and add a lane for xero emission vehicles to 19 miles of the freeway. [end UPDATE]
Whether the amendments will placate or further rile critics of the multi-billion-dollar project isn't immediately clear; reaction is pending.
[Scroll down for further.]
Mayor Garcia didn't mention the major LB-impacting project during his mid-January 2018 "State of the City" message. About two weeks later, the LB City Council's "I-710 Oversight Committee" (which doesn't have project approval power but consists of three LB Councilmembers [Uranga, Austin and Richardson] with districts along LB's 710 corridor) scheduled a
The Council Committee provided no online agenda materials for public review prior to its meeting (screen save below as of 10:30 a.m. on the meeting date) and meeting materials didn't materialize online until after the Committee was over.
Materials belatedly visible online show the City of Long Beach submitted October 17, 2017 written comments voicing concern over aspects of the project's EIR, which can be viewed here.
Written materials also include opposition to Alternatives 5C and 7 in a letter dated January 25, 2018 by the Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice to the Gateway Council of Governments (on which Councilman Austin is LB's representative.) The group's letter can be viewed here.
The group's opposition focused on zero emissions ("Our communities deserve a project that advances zero emissions in a meaningful way, not just a project that widens the road and hopes zero emissions technology will come. A mandatory zero emissions corridor or lanes is a critical component to any project"); displacement ("We remain deeply opposed to the project displacing homes and homeless facilities. The consultants must do a better job in designing a project that protects these vital resources") and targeted hiring (including a "project labor agreement") It also faulted the project's environmental review process for not putting out a preferred alternative during the environmental review process and then "rushing to select an alternative shortly thereafter."
The group's letter urges rejection of Alternatives 5C and 7 and asks that the project team address the issues in its letter and revise and recirculate the project's environmental documents accordingly. .
At the Jan.30 Committee meeting, Metro reps presented a Power Point presentation (obviously prepared in advance and belatedly visible here) and recommended Alternative 5C (ten freeway lanes at a cost of roughly $6 billion) over Alternative 7 (with an elevated four lane "Clean Freight Corridor" at a cost of roughly $11 billion.) Both alternatives involve taking 100+ homes and businesses for onramp/off-ramp upgrades.
Metro's rep told the Council Committee that the Metro "project team" recommended Alternative 5C as the "Locally Preferred Alternative" on grounds it would accomplish the agency's stated purpose and need of the project, offers a number of benefits, and has fewer impacts than Alternative 7. Metro's rep told the Committee that although full funding for Alternative 5C isn't "currently available," Metro and Caltrans have sufficient funding to support accelerated implementation of its initial stages (Early Action Projects) while additional funding "becomes available." The Committee was told that Alternative 5C can be constructed in stages while Alternative 7's benefits are associated with a proposed Freight Corridor that can't be constructed in stages that would have independent utility.
A number of residents and grassroots groups testified in opposition to Alternative 5C with several urging the Council Committee to recommend that Metro halt the project's advance and re-work it to focus to a greater extent on health and community benefits.
In colloquy with a Metro rep, Committee member/Vice Mayor Richardson said [paraphrase] he views the project as an opportunity to correct a chronic NLB injustice in the current configuration of the 710/91 interchange which leaves some adjoining land areas "land locked." He also voiced concern that the project's "Early Action" items north of downtown receive the same priority as downtown LB area items (which include the Shoemaker bridge entryway to downtown LB.) Richardson ultimately incorporated his concerns in the motion as made by Committee member Austin, seconded by chair Uranga, which was:
A motion was made by Member Austin, seconded by Chair Uranga, to approve recommendation to support alternative 5C and further study:  the I-91 and I-405 interchanges with the I-710 with intention of highest and best use of land locked parcels; and  early action projects for the interchanges dispersed throughout the City, specifically to include certain areas on the map are included in City's official request for early action projects further north of the Shoemaker Bridge are included with the same emphasis that have been highlighted with the Shoemaker Bridge.
The Council Committee's motion carried
Mayor Garcia's co-agendized
5.1 SUBJECT: REVISED MOTION BY DIRECTORS HAHN, SOLIS, GARCIA, AND DUPONT-WALKER 2018-0053 WE THEREFORE MOVE to direct the Metro CEO and Staff to, as part of, staff recommended Locally Preferred Alternative 5c:
In their agendizing memo, co-agendizers Hahn, Solis, Garcia and
...There are now three alternatives for the Metro Board to choose from: "No Build", "5c" and "7." Both include a funding target of $100 million for the purchase of "Near Zero" (NZE) or "Zero” emission (ZE) trucks that would travel on the 710 corridor. Yet, according to AQMD, even taking into consideration either build alternative, "the region will need substantial additional emission reductions to attain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards." Additionally, Metro has reported that greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions would be reduced by nearly the same levels for either alternative.
In a separate but related item, Garcia explicitly joins with Metro Directors Solis, Ridley-Thomas, Butts, Najarian and Hahn in supporting 5C as Metro's "Locally Preferred Alternative."
5.2 SUBJECT: MOTION BY DIRECTORS SOLIS, GARCIA, RIDLEY-THOMAS, BUTTS, NAJARIAN, AND HAHN 2018-0068
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