The 710 extension - the freeway project that has seemingly died one thousand deaths - was officially put to rest in 2018, freeing up more than $700 million for other transportation projects in the Eastside and in the San Gabriel Valley. The City of Los Angeles will now look to funnel some of its allotment into a new project which could bring active transportation infrastructure, and potentially a new bus rapid transit line, to the neighborhoods of Lincoln Heights and El Sereno.
In May, the Bureau of Engineering and the office of Councilmember Kevin de Leon will hold the first public meeting for potential changes to Valley Boulevard and Mission Road between the 710 freeway terminus and Union Station. The two corridors, which span approximately four miles, each are four-lane streets running east-to-west parallel with the 10 Freeway.
Per a news release distributed by the Bureau of Engineering, the City is considering a suite of projects which could include:
- Vision Zero safety features at street crossings and rail crossings;
- a potential bus rapid transit line;
- new electrification infrastructure; and
- improved access for pedestrians and cyclists.
According to a website created for the project, the two corridors pass through an area which includes a mix of residential, industrial, and commercial uses. Besides Union Station, the corridors also provide access to L.A. County + USC Medical Center, Lincoln Park, and Cal State University, Los Angeles.
The subject area is home to more than 55,000 people, the vast majority of whom identify as Hispanic. More than half of households speak Spanish, although English, Asian, and other Pacific Islander languages are also prevalent.
Community outreach for the Valley Boulevard project is the start of a process which will eventually require an alternative's analysis and an environmental study, according to the project website.
In addition to Valley Boulevard and Mission Road, the City of Los Angeles is also expected to redirect money from the scuttled 710 extension toward new projects on Eastern Avenue and Huntington Drive.
While the City of Los Angeles may be using the windfall of 710 funding for new transit and active transportation infrastructure, some neighboring jurisdictions have opted for a different path. Earlier this year, the City of Monterey Park was criticized for proposing to its $100-million share to build new parking structures and expand road capacity.