Pasadena Councilmember Steve Madison appeared taken by surprise when he was gifted an actual chunk of the 710 Freeway Stub roadway by Mayor Victor Gordo at Thursday night’s District 6 Town Hall meeting.
The freeway stub, which bisects a portion of the city south of the 210/134 freeways interchange, was relinquished to the city by the California Transportation Commission Wednesday afternoon, the culmination of a decades-long struggle to quash attempts to build a 710 Freeway northern extension through Pasadena.
“Freeway fighters and true grass-roots activists, and so many other people helped make this happen,” said Madison, who pointed out the work of former Mayor Bill Bogaard and his wife Claire as well as Mic Hansen, who helped lead the battle against the project.
Madison also lauded State Senator Anthony Portantino, who also helped move the decision through the State Assembly.
The project wiped out what had been thriving and diverse neighborhoods in the area between Union Street on the north, Columbia Street on the south, St John Avenue on the west and Pasadena Ave on the east.
Madison also noted that he and Mayor Bogaard had opposed to the project since 1999 and had acquired the necessary votes to oppose the project, only to have another colleague on the Council at that time run a successful ballot referendum to overturn the City Council’s opposition.
In recent years, Madison has made three separate motions to oppose the freeway tunnel, and the last one was adopted.
Madison testified before the California Transportation Commission (CTC) in January and again Wednesday in support of the relinquishment.
Mayor Victor Gordo shared with the audience that he had once seen Madison’s “To Do” from his early years.
The mayor told the audience, “His list said, ‘Stop the 710,’ at the top, and then ‘everything else.’
The Town Hall meeting also featured updates and presentations from a number of department heads, including Housing, Police, Fire, Economic Development, Water and Power, and the Rose Bowl.