Returned 710 Freeway parcel in Pasadena apt for development

State gives back 50-acre corridor from nixed project

Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo with the 710 stub (City of Pasadena, Google Maps)
Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo with the 710 stub (City of Pasadena, Google Maps)

A dusty parcel in Pasadena that once was planned to connect to the 710 Freeway has been returned to the city, opening the door for new development.

The California Transportation Commission voted to return 50 acres of land at the 710’s northern terminus back to the city of Pasadena along with a payment of $5 million, the Pasadena Star-News reported.

The approval cements a deal between Caltrans and Pasadena to rework the corridor of gravel and dirt dubbed the “710 stub” back into the community for future street improvements.

The stub was an ugly remnant of the once planned extension of the 710 Freeway, a hot-button project born from eminent domain.

The extension would have included a tunnel, proposed in 2009 by Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to connect the north-south 710 and the east-west 210 freeways. Instead, the end of the 710 Freeway at Valley Boulevard in Alhambra now forces traffic onto local streets, where commuters travel 4.5 miles to the 210 Freeway entrance.

The state seizure of the land comprising the stub broke up minority and low-income neighborhoods, created dozens of vacant homes and sparked decades of opposition over the extension’s potential to further impact home values and surrounding neighborhoods. Cities across the San Gabriel Valley from Pasadena to Alhambra and South Pasadena fought for years to remove the 710 Freeway extension from the state’s highways plan.

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But then Caltrans ended 60 years of fighting for the freeway extension. Metro voted down the tunnel project in 2017, saying the estimated cost of between $5 billion and $7 billion, and a lack of political will, made the tunnel unbuildable.

The agreement between Caltrans and Pasadena for the SR-710 stub between Columbia Street and Union Street calls for the city to assume full maintenance, ownership, responsibility, control and liability of the relinquished corridor.

City leaders want to ensure residents have a voice in determining what replaces the “ditch” or “stub” as it’s known. Pasadena is expected to launch a public outreach effort later this year, with some form of development to begin between 2026 and 2030.

[Pasadena Star-News] – Dana Bartholomew

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