Alameda Corridor Exec Says Adding SR 47 1.7 Mile "Truck Expressway" Might Reduce 710 Fwy Truck Traffic About 10%; More Reductions Depend On Changes to Transportation System
(May 28, 2003) -- The Alameda Corridor, one of the biggest public works projects in the history of the country ($2.4 billion, of which $1.1 billion comes from revenues from bond sales, with the bonds paid from fees paid by railroads) might reduce 710 freeway truck traffic by about 10% if nearly half a billion dollars more are spent to improve roughly 1.7 miles for trucks, but probably can't do more without major changes to the transportation system, a top official of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) has told a LB community meeting.
Addressing a "Town Hall" meeting at Veterans Park in the Wrigley area, ACTA Director of Administration Peter Mandia said:
Half the cargo that comes into these two ports [LB and L.A.] are headed east of the Rockies throughout the United States. The other half, 50%, are headed for the five county areas in southern California. The Alameda Corridor was intended to take containers...put them on boxes on trains and move them eastward, 50% of the cargo going eastward. The other 50% of the cargo, or 50% of containers that come into this port complex, are destined for local consumption...So while the Corridor was intended to reduce somewhat the impacts of growth on the freeways, it was never for local distribution, it has always been east of the Rockies...
We think there are a series of projects to accommodate Port growth: the rail corridor, some improvements to the 710, we think some improvements on Alameda Street. Have any of you driven north of Pacific Coast Highway on Alameda to the 10 [freeway]? It's a wonderful street [city of LB, L.A., L.A. County have put together over $200 million in improvements on Alameda north of PCH to the 10 fwy]...In some places it's three lanes wide. We believe that that's a good opportunity to take some -- not a lot, I mean maybe 10% -- but if we were to complete the project that we call the Alameda Corridor "truck expressway" [proposed improvement of roughly 1.7 miles of SR 47 between Terminal Island and PCH incl. replacement of Heim bridge], we think that will divert probably about 10% of the truck traffic on the 710. It is not intended to be an alternative. It is not intended to be a new freeway. It is intended to be part of a system solution to the trucks coming in and out of the Ports, one part.
Mr. Mandia said the 1.7 mile "truck expressway" is "about a $440 million project...If all the pieces come together, the project probably could be done in about four years. Based on our traffic analysis, it could take up to 10% of the Port related trucks [as a Port speaker indicated about 50% of the 710 trucks are port related] off the 710 freeway..."
He added, "We think there are significant congestion relief with that. It isn't 100% to take off everything from the freeway, but it provides congestion relief."
Mr. Mandia said another project ACTA is studying is a "shuttle system to take trains, load them at the ports, take them up the Corridor to an inland port terminal, offload them onto rubber tires [trucks] and bring them back into the five counties [local area]."
Mr. Mandia made his statements in the presence of four Councilmembers present at the May 27 Wrigley area meeting: Bonnie Lowenthal, Tonia Reyes-Uranga, Rob Webb and Val Lerch, along with Council office aides Tim Patton (dist. 5), Ray Pok (dist. 7), Jerry Caligiuri (district 8) and Dan Pressburg (dist. 9). We also spotted grassroots activists Mike Kowal, Rae Gabelich, Linda Ivers and Dave San Jose among 75 people at the Veterans Park recreation center.
Mr. Mandia added that ACTA also advocates "24/7" 'round the clock port operations.
He summed up:
Our position at ACTA is the Corridor is doing what it was supposed to do. Its capacity is where it is. It will be another 25 years before it reaches capacity and that's based on Port growth, but we also think that there are a number of solutions to solve this problem of too many trucks, and that all these together probably will have some impact on what you ultimately decide what to do on the 710, because quite frankly you know we can't build our way out of what is coming towards us. You heard [a Port staffer] talk about 36 million containers in 25 years from now. We have to find a series of solutions and that's what Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority is actively working on now.
Some excerpts of audience Q & A:
Q: What happened to the original plan to have trains and trucks on the Alameda Corridor?
Mr. Kerry Cartwright, P.E., Mgr. Transportation Planning, Port of LB: Actually, when the Alameda Corridor concept was first conceived probably 20 years ago, they were looking at the Truck Expressway [original version, up to the 10 fwy], and in fact, when they tested it in a so-called transportation model, it was determined that it did not significantly improve conditions on the 710. Also there was significant public opposition to any truck expressway on Alameda Street, so that component of the project was ultimately abandoned, and thus the Corridor, basically since 1993, did not include the truck expressway, and it was merely intended to eliminate all the [railway] grade crossings and help facilitate more use of ondock rail...
Mr. Mandia [ACTA]: It is important to emphasize that the Alameda Corridor truck expressway [current 1.7 mile proposed SR 47 project] is not a panacea, it's not the alternative to improvements to the 710. It is intended to be part of a larger system solution. 10% of the trucks is a big number, and it's designed for at least that, and it is part of the total package that we've discussed...
Q: Why not make Alameda double deck, southbound top, northbound bottom?
Mr. Cartwright: Well, as I said it was looked at 20 years ago and ultimately was abandoned and for obvious reasons, and the other reason is it did not actually solve a lot of the problems in this entire corridor, and that's one of the reasons it was abandoned.
Mr. Mandia: All that is correct [but] there's another element I'll recognize. The concepts that have been presented for the development of the 710, they're three or four billion dollars. It's a lot of money. It's not there. I don't know where it is in the federal government or state government, and we're looking for solutions now. The double decking of Alameda St. might be feasible, but it's going to cost three or four billion dollars, and I don't know where it is. Somebody's got to pay for it, but it's not around..
[Several audience calls, including LBReport.com:] "The shippers..."
Mr. Mandia: Well,...[begins to answer, but interrupted by another question]...
Q [Wrigley neighborhood activist Alan Tolkoff]: ...Does anyone on the panel believe that the air quality will be mitigated that's created by the additional truck traffic? So do any of you believe that, yes or no?
Mr. Mandia; Yeah, I believe it.
Q [Mr. Tolkoff]: You think it will be? It'll be zero'd out?
Mr. Mandia: You want me to explain? ...[T]he science says that moving trucks pollute less than stopped trucks. As time passes, 2006, the emission standards for diesel are going to be much, much stricter, and we're buying up the old trucks.
Q: [Los Cerritos activist Mike Kowal]: Will the air be better at the end of the day than it is right now?
Mr. Mandia: Well that's what it's designed to be, yes.
Councilwoman Reyes-Uranga: I guess it's just hard, it's kind of hard to believe that you have a lot of trucks stopping and going, but you have twice as many just going straight through that that's going to be less pollution, so I know that it's hard for us to believe...
Related LBReport.com coverage:
Alameda Corridor CEO Hankla Testimony & Colloquy at LB City Council 710 Fwy Study Session, May 20, 2003
Major MTA Vote On 710 Fwy...With Alameda Corridor Fallout:
MTA Board (Incl. Sup. Knabe) Backs Sup. Molina's Motion Urging Removal Of Parts Alts. C, D & E That Would Take Home & Biz Parcels, Preference For Alt. B Arterial Improvements
Motion Amended To Include Forming Resident Advisory Committee
Adds Request For Report On Performance of Alameda Corridor