Why Pasadena is Considering Closing One of Its Busiest Freeway Off-Ramps

Published : Monday, January 29, 2018 | 7:00 AM

Even on weekends and off-hours, hundreds of cars per hour frequently pour off the I-210 Freeway connector stub off-ramp at California Boulevard and rush southward along South St. John Avenue towards South Pasadena. But the City of Pasadena has made plans to permanently shut down the popular offramp.

At City Council Monday night, Pasadena’s Department of Transportation will ask that Mayor Tornek send a letter to Los Angeles Metro on behalf of the City requesting money from a pot of nearly $600 million remaining in Measure R sales tax funds earmarked for Early Action Projects in lieu of the State Route 710 North Extension Tunnel Alternative.

Proposed closure

Removing access to the southbound I-210 stub freeway off-ramps at California Boulevard is on that list.

It’s all because the Metro board killed the 710 Tunnel idea, and now three cities, Pasadena, South Pasadena and Alhambra, are figuring how to deal with has become an enduring transit corridor.

The idea was that since the 710 Tunnel was killed and surface street traffic between the I-210 and the northward-most access to the 710 terminus at Valley Boulevard in El Sereno is the final reality, that Measure R funds should be used to make that 4.5-mile north-south transit as swift and efficient as possible.

Los Angeles Metro asked the cities of Alhambra, South Pasadena and Pasadena to work together to create a wish list of projects to break the gridlock along the commonly used routes with a series of fixes, and expects to ultimately have about $1 billion to spend.

Once an enemy on the 710 fight, Alhambra has joined with Pasadena and South Pasadena in creating coordinated plans. An “early project lists” was due December 31, and the full plan is scheduled to be delivered to the Metro board in March.

On the action list by the City of South Pasadena in their Council-approved set of projects sent to Metro in December area measures to limit traffic on Fremont Avenue north of Huntington Drive and to direct traffic onto Huntington and Fair Oaks Avenue, explained Director of Pasadena’s Transportation Department, Fred Dock.

“One of the effects of limiting traffic on Fremont is to cause traffic that uses the California Blvd ramps and the Pasadena/St. John couplet to be redirected at the intersection of Columbia and Pasadena to a much greater extent than it is today, which is already problematic,” Dock said in an email.

Dock said that rather than simply perpetuate that pattern, the consultant hired by the City recommended reconfiguring the stub ramps to direct southbound traffic to Del Mar Boulevard and Fair Oaks Avenue relying upon the available capacity of the ramp terminal and the section of Del Mar east to Fair Oaks.

Northbound traffic would still use Pasadena Ave north of California to access the stub, Dock said.

Dock said “there are also traffic calming measures requested for Orange Grove to minimize the impact of removing the southbound ramp terminal at California.”

The consultant, Nelson\Nygaard Associates, created a report addressing what it concluded should be the City’s mobility priorities and the list of projects for which the City would like to request funding.

The project list includes the following projects: ·

• Modifications to the 1-210 stub freeway access ramps to remove access to/from California Boulevard and make operational improvements to the access ramps at Del Mar Boulevard (this is one element of the three-city project to improve the use of the Fair Oaks/Huntington/Fremont corridor);

• Implement traffic calming/Complete Streets Programs for St. John Avenue/Pasadena Avenue/South Orange Grove Boulevard, Allen Avenue, Hill Street and Avenue 64 (these projects are included either in the CIP or the Mobility Element of the General Plan);

• Gold Line grade separation at California Boulevard;

• Implement Intelligent Transportation Systems projects that include performance monitoring and analytics for intersections near to the Gold Line crossings, automated data collection for pedestrians and bicycles, high-resolution traffic signal data collection/broadcasting, Walnut Street corridor signal upgrades and expansion of the 1-210 Connected Corridor. project (these projects are included in the CIP);

• Transit improvements that include rap.id bus enhancements in the Fair Oaks/Atlantic and Rosemead corridors, Rose Bowl shuttles and college/university transit passes (the rapid bus enhancements are included in the Pasadena Preferred Alternative developed by the Pasadena Working Group and adopted by the City Council July 13, 2015 and the other projects are expansions or enhancements to existing programs);

• Bicycle improvements that include the unfunded projects in the adopted Bicycle Transportation Action Plan, the Arroyo Link and Bike Share expansion (other than the Arroyo Link, these projects are included in the CIP); and

• Mobility Hubs as recommended in the Pasadena Preferred Alternative.