The City Council could approve an agreement for the 710 Freeway stub at Monday’s City Council meeting.
According to a city staff report, Caltrans proposes to relinquish State Route (SR) 710 between Union Street and Columbia Street to the City of Pasadena, including nine traffic signals and four overcrossing bridges.
More than 50 years ago, Caltrans seized hundreds of homes in southwestern Pasadena, the city of South Pasadena and the Los Angeles neighborhood of El Sereno through eminent domain in what ultimately became a failed effort to connect the Long Beach 710 and Foothill 210 freeways.
Caltrans demolished dozens of homes owned by African-Americans in western Pasadena for the project.
According to National Public Radio, the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 routed some highways directly through Black and Brown communities and, like Caltrans, took homes from families via eminent domain.
The state transit agency held the land for years, and over the past decade the 710 stub just a few miles from Old Pasadena, served as little more than a dropoff point for drivers heading south and a rock quarry for Caltrans.
Councilmember John Kennedy spoke to Pasadena Now about the impacts on the Black neighborhood in 2020.
“There has to be a way to not just ameliorate, but pay for those past injustices,” he said. “And what greater way is if we could provide much-needed housing in the extremely low, very low and low-income levels mixed in with a whole host of other types of housing at a higher level to address those past ills and poor policy decisions of the city of Pasadena. That would be extraordinary.”
In addition, low-income housing is sorely needed in the city, he said.
A technical feasibility analysis and a supplemental traffic analysis have already been completed.
“Once this roadway is relinquished to the City, the City will assume full ownership, responsibility, liability, maintenance, and control of the 710 relinquished area,” according to a city staff report.
Following the State relinquishment of the SR 710 northern stub area to the City, staff said public outreach will be conducted “to rework the stub back into the fabric of the city.”
This effort to layout the future land use, transportation network, and utility infrastructure network needed to reconnect Pasadena, is anticipated to begin in 2022, according to the staff report.