This week the Metro-sponsored Zocalo Public Square event about the 710 freeway drew a full house to the Museum of Contemporary Art for a panel moderated by NBC4's Conan Nolan. We were pleased to hear from the expert panel that the current situation is unsustainable - population growth makes "doing nothing" not feasible. There was lots of support for the feasibility of the tunnel and the need to "Close the Gap." You can watch the entire event video on the Zocalo website.
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) executive director Hasan Ikhrata talking about how completing the freeway with a tunnel will likely improve air quality and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions by drastically reducing the number of cars idling on surface streets near schools and residences.
UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies director Brian Taylor's discussion of how the entire region would benefit from a tunnel that would "close the gap" but a small numbers of opponents has stalled a project that would create significant benefit - and that the positions have been held for so long that it's difficult to move towards a solution that takes the full costs and benefits into account.
Clean Tech Advocates senior adviser and former California Environment Secretary Linda S. Adams discussed how "gap closure" projects that dramatically improve regional transit flows are widely acknowledged to be the type of freeway contruction that still makes sense; even by those who generally oppose car-based transit solutions, and she acknowledged that “we know Californians are in love with their cars, and no one expects them to give up their cars,” and that “The key is to provide options.”
L.A. Chamber of Commerce president Gary Toebben talked about how much of an increase in productivity we could see for San Gabriel Valley residents who would reduce the amount of time they spent commuting - and told his very personal story of navigating clogged surface streets because of the "gap" in the 710.