Decades in the making, the last remnant of an extension of the 710 freeway is finally on its deathbed.

The Assembly Transportation Committee recently passed Senate Bill 7, which allows the purchase of surplus properties occupied at their current use value and prohibits Caltrans from implementing a tunnel or surface freeway option to extend the freeway.

The bill was authored by state Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, who said in a written statement that the bill is also a potential legislative fix for the state to return surplus freeway stubs back to cities located in the freeway corridor, namely Pasadena, South Pasadena and Los Angeles. 

“The formal end of the 710 has been 60 years in the making and I am very excited to see it one step closer to happening,” Portantino said. “I am particularly pleased to be following through on the commitment I made two years ago when negotiating the end to the 710 tunnel threat. The hope then was that the EIR (environment impact report) certification would move us all in a new and collaborative direction that would take the freeway off the table and protect the nonprofits in the corridor. Today, that reality is within reach.”

The possibility of a 710 extension into Pasadena has been on the table for decades, but has been opposed for generations by people living in Pasadena, South Pasadena and the LA neighborhood of El Sereno. In the 1950s and 1960s Caltrans began buying empty lots, houses and apartments along the proposed route.

In 2012, after the surface option for the freeway extension was taken off the table, LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and Caltrans officials announced they wanted to build either a six-lane highway along portions of West Pasadena or a 6.3-mile tunnel from the end of the 710 Freeway in Alhambra to Pasadena, but those ideas were also eventually nixed.

Now tenants in those homes are expecting deals on the purchase of those properties, many of which need massive amounts of work.

The Ronald McDonald House and Arlington Gardens are Caltrans-owned properties.

“The Pasadena Ronald McDonald House and Arlington Gardens are two nonprofits that are very interested in seeing SB 7 pass.  We are grateful to Senator Portantino for his support of our mission and those of the other nonprofits in our community. SB 7 is critical to the future success of all of us in Caltrans-owned properties,” said Megan Foker, board co-chair of the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House and Michelle Matthews, executive director of the Arlington Garden in a joint prepared statement.