On Monday the City Council approved a $200,000 contract for the citywide historic report on the 710 displacement project.
“With Caltrans’ relinquishment of the former State Route 710 land in June of 2022 and the actual transfer of property to the City of Pasadena in August 2022, the City has been tasked with planning and redeveloping this piece of land to best serve the community,” according to a City staff report.
On November 18, 1964, the California Highway Commission determined the routing for the final five miles of freeway – now known as the SR 710 – through the communities of El Sereno, South Pasadena, and Pasadena to complete the adoption of the Long Beach Freeway.
At least 4,000 residents were displaced and 1,500 homes and commercial buildings were demolished.
A majority of the homes were owned or rented by low-income residents and people of color.
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.
President Biden’s $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan was designed in part to address racism ingrained in historical transportation and urban planning by earmarking $20 billion for a program that would “reconnect neighborhoods cut off by historic investments,” according to the Biden administration.
The freeway never materialized in El Sereno and South Pasadena, but the SR 710 northern interchange was constructed in the City of Pasadena in the early 1970s, resulting in the Northern Stub.
After years of opposition of the freeway extension through West Pasadena, Pasadena reclaimed 50 acres of the 710 stub in 2022 when Caltrans formally relinquished the stub to the City of Pasadena.
According to the report, the consultant’s job will be to understand, acknowledge, and accurately document the history of the displaced communities who once lived in what is now the 710 land area.
The work will result in the documentation of events and the historical information they gather relating to the displacement by the proposed freeway expansion years ago.
To ensure the historical portion of the planning process meets the goals and recommendations of the 710 Advisory Group, City staff have undertaken a competitive selection process to engage qualified professionals to conduct historical research of the communities, resources, and institutions displaced by the State’s 710 development.