In a letter to Senate Transportation Committee Chair Lena Gonzalez, Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo is requesting a “carve out” that would exclude the 710 stub from Assembly Bill 512.
“As currently drafted and proposed to be amended, AB 512 could potentially stall the collaborative effort the City of Pasadena and Caltrans have undertaken towards relinquishment of the 710 stub back to the City,” according to the letter signed by Gordo.
Along with seizing hundreds of homes in West Pasadena, South Pasadena and El Sereno through eminent domain, Caltrans lso demolished dozens of African-American homes during a failed effort to connect the 710 and the 210 freeways. The state transit agency held the land for years and for nearly a decade that area just west of Old Pasadena served as little more than a rock quarry for the state transit agency.
AB 512 would require the Department ofTransportation, prior to selling specified unimproved properties in the city of Los Angeles, the city of Pasadena, and the city of South Pasadena, offer to sell those properties at the original acquisition price paid by the agency to a housing-related entity for affordable housing purposes and would require the housing-related entity to take several actions as they relate to the property.
The city’s Legislative Policy Committee is recommending the city oppose the bill unless it is amended.
“As proposed to be amended, the legislation reads, ‘This section does not apply to the portion of Route 710 located within the jurisdictional limits of the City of Pasadena between California Boulevard and Route 210 and east of South Pasadena Avenue,’” according to the letter.
“The proposed amendments also indicate that should this property be relinquished to the City, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) may agree to relinquish the property for non-transportation uses if in addition to ensuring the continuity of traffic flow, the City also ensures the relinquished property is used for ‘restorative economic and social justice, including, but not limited to, transit-oriented development, affordable housing for low- and moderate- income people, green space, and active transportation infrastructure.’”
Councilman John Kennedy said it is high time that the City of Pasadena, in concert with the State of California, develop a logical and fair process to return lands to the African American residents or their descendants who lost their homes and businesses by “State Action”, in the name of “urban renewal.”
“We can never forget that thriving Black residential and commercial communities in Pasadena were destroyed to make way for the 210 and 710 Freeways,” said Councilmember John Kennedy.
“Black people had bombs dropped on them from military airplanes in Tulsa, were murdered impunity in Rosewood, were massacred in Ocoee, and were trampled upon in Pasadena.
Over the past year, the city has been in talks with Caltrans in ongoing coordination efforts geared toward the relinquishment of that portion of the former 710 Corridor back to the city.
At the conclusion of a recent feasibility study, the Caltrans District 7 director indicated that the analysis conducted by Pasadena had demonstrated that such changes will not have a significant effect on state highway and/or federal highway operations or safety.
Futhermore, Caltrans affirmed its willingness to advance to the next step in the work towards having the 710 North stub relinquished to Pasadena.
The city of Pasadena has eight vacant lots along that portion of the original 710 Corridor. Giving the city an opportunity to purchase these eight properties for affordable housing would be a step toward building this much-needed type of housing. However, legislating the land use is unnecessary, city officials contend.
“The City already has policies and programs in place to incentivize and facilitate affordable housing. The City of Pasadena has a long history of prioritizing and encouraging affordable housing,” Gordo’s letter states.
The Legislative Policy Committee meets at 2 p.m. on Tuesday and can be viewed at: