State Route 710 Northern Stub Repurposing

Project Overview

The City of Pasadena has been working with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to transfer control of the transportation facilities within the State Route 710 (SR 710) North “stub” area to the City of Pasadena. This stub area is approximately between Union Street on the north, Columbia Street on the south, St John Avenue on the west and Pasadena Ave on the east. Over the last year, the City and Caltrans started the first step in this process. The focus of this webpage is to provide an update on this process.

In December 2019, the City of Pasadena secured the services of a consultant team lead by PointC that included Iteris, Inc. and Kimley-Horn Associates to complete a technical feasibility assessment. The purpose of the Technical Feasibility Assessment was to determine the technical feasibility of converting the existing “freeway-to-freeway” interchange connectors into “freeway to local street” on and off ramps to Interstate 210 and State Route 134. The Technical Feasibility Assessment demonstrated that this conversion is feasible and does not compromise the safety or operations of the state and interstate highway facilities, utilizing existing and future (2045) traffic volumes, collision data, and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) data.

This Technical Feasibility Assessment does not identify the future land use, nor does it define the local street network for this area. That process will occur as the next step to revision and redefine the land use for this area of roughly sixty acres. In addition, this study does not address Caltrans owned homes along the corridor.

SR 710 N Stub Repurposing Technical Feasibility Assessment

SR-710 North Stub Historical Background

This section of the SR-710 North was constructed over several years in the early 1970s and displaced at least 4,000 residents and destroyed 1,500 homes.  A majority of the homes were owned or rented by low income and minority residents.

SR-710 North Stub Relinquishment Background

In the November 26, 2018 State Route 710 North Project Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIR/EIS), Caltrans identified the Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management (TSM/TDM) as the locally preferred alternative. Since then, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has coordinated the advancement of TSM/TDM efforts to be implemented in lieu of at 710 North connection.

Identifying the TSM/TDM as the locally preferred alternative has facilitated local, multi-modal capacity enhancement projects to advance and be implemented, however, this action alone did not preclude the possibility of a future 710 North freeway connection. As long at the gap corridor remains listed in the California freeway and expressway system, the potential of a future connection exists.

Pasadena’s goal is to not only have the 710 North gap corridor delisted from the State highway system, but to have the streets within the City boundaries be relinquished to the City thereby regaining local control. Achieving relinquishment requires several interim steps, the first being reaching an agreement with Caltrans. Once an agreement between the City of Pasadena and Caltrans has been reached, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) serves as the final decision making body.

As a result of legislation introduced by State Senator Portantino (SB 7) and Assemblymember Holden (AB 29), the California Street and Highways Code, Section 622.3 indicates that the CTC may make a determination to relinquish the portion of SR 710 that is contained within the City of Pasadena to the City if Caltrans and the City enter into an agreement providing for that relinquishment. The ongoing coordination with Caltrans and feasibility study has served as the first key step towards the City’s efforts to securing an agreement from Caltrans.

SR710 REPURPOSING TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY ASSESSMENT AND SUPPLEMENTAL TRAFFIC ANALYSIS

In November 2019, the City of Pasadena and Caltrans initiated an ongoing working group and coordination effort aimed at determining the technical feasibility of converting the existing freeway to freeway interchange into a local street network with connections to I-210 and SR-134.

The technical feasibility assessment that included both a traffic analysis and an initial engineering analysis for this area was completed in January 2021. The feasibility assessment did not assume any land use considerations for the project area, but rather focused on demonstrating that eliminating the freeway-to-freeway interchange ramps would not impact the operations or safety of Interstate 210 and State Route 134.

On January 11, 2021, Caltrans District 7 Director, affirmed that based on the analysis conducted to this point, modifying the system from a freeway-to-freeway connection to a local-to-freeway connection would not create a significant effect on state highway and/or federal highway operations or safety. As identified in the technical feasibility assessment, additional technical analysis was initiated as part of the immediate next step.

A supplemental traffic analysis was conducted and included developing a more defined analysis through a Vissim simulation model, intersection and freeway ramp queuing analysis and a freeway ramp weaving analysis. The supplemental traffic analysis re-affirmed that any potential modifications to the system from a freeway-to-freeway connection to a local-to-freeway connection would not create a significant effect on state highway and/or federal highway operations or safety.  Caltrans concurred with the findings of the supplemental traffic analysis, allowing the City to initiate the formal relinquishment process with Caltrans.

The Technical Feasibility Assessment can be found here:  SR 710 N Stub Repurposing Technical Feasibility Assessment

RELINQUISHMENT AREA

The relinquishment area is shown in the Relinquishment Area Map, found here. The map identifies three areas for relinquishment. The north-most area identified for relinquishment is the Caltrans right-of-way generally bound by Union Street to the north, Pasadena Avenue to the east, California Boulevard to the south and St John Avenue/Havendale Drive to the west. This area is identified as Segment 15 on the attached map. This area proposed to be relinquished includes four overcrossings/bridge structures; Union Street, Colorado Boulevard, Green Street and Del Mar Boulevard. The area does not include the parcels with residential and institutional tenants immediately north of California Boulevard.

The middle section of Caltrans property identified for relinquishment is the wishbone area comprised of the roadway and sidewalk connection of Pasadena Avenue and St John Ave generally between Bellefontaine Street on the north and Wigmore Drive on the south. This area is identified as Segment 11 – Segment 14 on the attached map. It includes the existing roadway, sidewalk, landscaping, utility area and unimproved areas of the transportation network.

The south section of Caltrans property identified for relinquishment is the existing sidewalk, driveways, landscaping and utility area extending up to 5-feet west of and 11-feet east of the Pasadena Ave right-if-way within the transportation network from Bellefontaine Street to Columbia Avenue, identified as Segment 1 – Segment 10 on the attached map.

These three sections make up the transportation network of the SR 710 northern stub currently owned, operated and maintained by Caltrans. The remaining roadway and sidewalks along St John Avenue and Pasadena Avenue, between Union Street and Columbia Street are currently the jurisdiction of the City of Pasadena, with various sections under the maintenance responsibility of Caltrans. Caltrans also owns, operates and maintains nine traffic signals within the relinquishment area. These nine traffic signals will also be relinquished to the City as part of this relinquishment agreement. The City would assume full maintenance, ownership, responsibility, control and liability of the nine traffic signals.

Next Steps

Pending City Council authorization, staff would coordinate with Caltrans for submittal of reports to the California Transportation Commission (CTC) for relinquishment approval in summer 2022.

Following CTC’s determination to relinquish the SR 710 northern stub area to the City, a multi-disciplinary, community driven visioning process to layout the future land use, transportation network, and utility infrastructure network needed to reconnect Pasadena will be initiated. This multi-year effort is anticipated to begin in 2022.