Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 25

CHATTEN-BROWN & CARSTENS

TELEPHONE:(310) 798-2400
FACSIMILE: (310) 798-2402

2200 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY


SUITE 318
HERMOSA BEACH, CALIFORNIA 90254
www.cbcearthlaw.com

E-MAIL:
Drc@cBcEARTHLAw.com

August 4, 2015
Garrett Damrath
Chief Environmental Planner
Division of Environmental Planning
Department of Transportation, District 7
100 South Main Street, MS-16A
Los Angeles, California 90012
Re:

State Route 710 North Study Draft Environmental Impact


Report/Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Section 4(0 De
Minimis Findings Comments

Dear Mr. Damrath:


The law firm of Chatten-Brown & Carstens has been retained by the Westridge
School for Girls ("Westridge" or "School"), located at 324 Madeline Drive in the City of
Pasadena, on matters relating to the proposal by the California Department of
Transportation ("Caltrans") and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority
("Metro") to build the State Route 710 North extension project, including the proposed
eight-lane, 4.9 mile freeway tunnel(s) in the near vicinity ("the Project").
At the School's request, we have reviewed the combined Draft Environmental
Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement dated March 2015 ("Draft EIR") and
its various accompanying studies. We have found numerous flaws and inconsistencies so
serious that it fails to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA"),
Public Resources Code section 21000 et seq., and the CEQA Guidelines, California Code
of Regulations, Title 14, section 15000 et seq. In addition, we have retained technical
experts in CEQA, air quality, health risks, traffic, historic and geotechnical impacts to
review the Draft EIR. These experts have identified material informational gaps as well
as significant environmental impacts that are not disclosed or are severely understated.
These problems relate to, among other things, project description issues and impacts in
the areas of air quality, health risk assessment, traffic, cultural/historic resources,
geotechnical and seismic hazards.
Of the alternatives presented in the Draft EIR, the freeway tunnel appears to be
Caltrans/Metro's preferred option. Caltrans and Metro tout a tunnel as a means of
connecting the 710 and 210 freeways without the negative impacts of a surface route.
But a tunnel project brings its own set of serious problems which are discussed below and
in the attached technical reports. Given its proximity to the proposed freeway tunnel, the
School would bear a disproportionate share of the Project's environmental impacts.

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 2

First, the construction and operation of the tunnel project will compromise air
quality and pose significant health risks for the communities in the vicinities of the north
and south end portals, which include the girls of Westridge. The Draft EIR fails to
adequately address construction emissions, fails to use the correct significance thresholds,
and fails to offer mitigation measures to reduce significant impacts to the extent feasible.
Regarding tunnel operations, the Project proposes to expel exhaust collected from an
increased number of vehicles via air scrubbers in as-yet-undefined exhaust tower
locations at or near the ends of the tunnel(s). However, the authors and their consultants
admit in the Draft EIR that the scrubber system is incapable of completely protecting
residents and sensitive populations like Westridge from the release of harmful Particulate
Matter and Mobile Source Air Toxics, such as oxides of nitrogen and hydrocarbons,
collected from the exhaust and tire erosion of thousands of cars per day traveling over the
course of 4.9 miles. (See Tunnel Systems Report for the Freeway Tunnel Alternative, SR
710 North Study ("TSR"), Section 5, and Appendix D to TSR ("App. D"), Section 3,
discussed infra.)
Second, the tunnel project will raise significant geotechnical issues. Boring a
tunnel of this magnitude has never been accomplished successfully in the United States
and could cause a variety of unintended consequences such as dangerous sinkholes and
vibration damage to vulnerable historic structures, including the School's multiple
historic buildings. Not to be overlooked is the fact that the tunnel will cross a known
active earthquake fault, exposing this community to the risk of major earthquake damage.
Third, a tunnel project would create significant traffic impacts. As a private
school located in a residential neighborhood, Westridge depends on tightly controlled car
routes and lines for drop off and pick up of its girls. Boring the tunnel will require the
removal of literally millions of tons of rock and dirt, some of which may be
contaminated, which will require many hundreds of thousands of construction haul truck
trips that could significantly disrupt the School's vital car line system. Further, if one of
the boring machines breaks down (a likely event given the fact that the proposed tunnel's
diameter of nearly 60 feet exceeds the known capability of proven, reliable tunnel boring
machines), the emergency staging areas and rescue equipment will jeopardize normal
operations of the School. And, if the tunnel is built, the School's operations and the
lives of its students, faculty, staff, and parents who use the nearby roads to access campus
will be negatively impacted because of the increased traffic and gridlock conditions
created on connector/feeder roads near the north portal.
In light of the potential for these significant problems, Westridge is highly
concerned about the proponents' failure to prepare a draft EIR that adequately discloses
and analyzes all reasonably foreseeable environmental impacts from the proposed Project
alternatives, especially the tunnel. We ask that Caltrans and Metro conduct a thorough
and accurate investigation of potential environmental impacts now rather than later.

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 3
Once sufficient investigation has been performed, enforceable and effective mitigation
measures and a range of reasonable alternatives must be fully set forth in the Draft EIR,
and the Draft EIR must be recirculated so that the public and public agencies may
comment on the information, all as required by CEQA.
A.

The Interests of Westridge School: Protecting Our Sensitive Population


and Campus.
1.
The People of Westridge.

For over 100 years, Westridge School has provided an outstanding education for
girls. Today, it has over 4,000 living alumnae and is fully enrolled, serving over 500 girls
ranging from 9-18 years of age during the academic year. During the summer months,
approximately 300 students ranging from 5-17 years of age participate in camps and
summer school activities on the campus, including Partnership for Success!, a fullyfunded summer enrichment program designed to help Pasadena Unified School District
students realize their academic goals and learn the skills needed for a bright future.
Westridge School has over 100 faculty and staff.
In addition to the students and employees, many visitors, parents and families
come to campus after normal school hours, in the evenings, and on weekends for athletic
events, dance, music, and choral performances, fine arts exhibitions, community
meetings, and both admissions and architectural tours. In sum, the campus is used on
almost a continuous basis throughout the day and evening, year round.
The eastern side of the School's campus mainly the outdoor athletic field and
the ingress to the faculty parking lot lies only a few yards from the proposed tunnel
alignment. The outdoor athletic field and surrounding buildings are used daily by girls
and young women, both during and after school, for P.E. classes, athletic practices and
athletic matches. The latter bring many students from local schools and surrounding
communities, as well as their families, to campus. Similarly, the outdoor play yards on
the west side of campus are used throughout the school day and in the afternoons for
after-school programs caring for Lower School and Middle School girls and for summer
camps run by third parties.
Thus, on a typical day, the campus is in active use serving hundreds of children
and adults, each spending thousands of hours a year in close proximity to the site of the
proposed tunnel project. As responsible educators of over 500 girls, we must express our
serious concern with the tunnel project. Numerous studies have shown that children are
especially vulnerable to health risks from air pollution including cancer and
reproductive system damage. (See discussion of air quality impacts in Section C.1
below.) We are worried that the tunnel alternatives both during construction and
operation will harm the health and well-being of the school community and the
residents nearby.

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 4
2.

The Westridge Campus and Its Historic Structures.

The Westridge campus is distinguished by its welcoming beauty and its unusually
rich architectural heritage. The School's original architecture dates back to close to the
turn of the 20th century, and its most current construction includes a state-of-the-art,
environmentally sustainable facility. The School's elegant structures and outdoor areas
are in near constant use and are inseparable from its identity. (See Exhibit A, "Westridge
School, An architectural heritage.") The 9.15 acre campus has a village feel, with
spacious outdoor gathering and work areas, as well as 16 buildings that cover
approximately 125,000 square feet.
The oldest buildings on the campus were designed by two of the country's most
famous architects, Pasadena-based Charles and Henry Greene. The Greene brothers have
garnered international recognition for their unique contributions to the Arts and Crafts
Movement and the development of the California bungalow style. The Merwin House,
completed in 1905, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, benefits from a
Historic Preservation Easement with Pasadena Heritage, and is the residence of the
Westridge Head of School. The Pitcairn House, completed in 1906, is listed as a City of
Pasadena Historic Landmark and is now the center for the School's alumnae and business
affairs. Both houses are prime examples of the early work of Greene and Greene and
retain numerous original features. Both are shared with the community, either through
arranged tours, events or other educational activities. The School has restored and
preserved these buildings, along with those designed by Frederick L. Roehrig in 1909, by
Marstone, Van Pelt and Maybury in 1923, and by Whitney R. Smith in 1978 and 1980.
For its stewardship and care of these buildings of cultural and historic significance, the
School was honored as one of the "Pillars of Orange Grove" by Pasadena Heritage in
2013. (See Exhibit B, Awards and Recognitions for Preservation, Applications prepared
by architect Kelly Sutherlin McLeod, FAIA.)
Westridge School is concerned about the impact of tunnel construction and
operation on these historic buildings. The Draft EIR states that "tunnel excavation below
[Markham Place Historic District, a half mile north of Westridge's campus] may result in
minor physical damage to this historic district as a result of ground-borne vibration that
may diminish the integrity of the" historic buildings. (Draft EIR, p. 3.7-78.) Yet the
Draft EIR fails to assess the impact of these same activities on the nearby Westridge
campus and identified historic resources, much less provide assurance that
Caltrans/Metro will protect the School through mitigation and/or indemnity.
3.

Operation of the School.

Many of the 500 Westridge girls live in the vicinity of campus and walk or bicycle
to school, using nearby roads and streets such as Pasadena Avenue and Orange Grove
Boulevard. Other students and a significant percentage of the faculty and staff drive to

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 5
school and park in either the lot off of State Street or the lot off of the East Madeline
Drive cul-de-sac, which can only be accessed from Pasadena Avenue. Of those who
commute, many travel from miles away including from Los Feliz, Silver Lake,
Hancock Park, Studio City, La Canada/Flintridge, Glendale, and Arcadia, all of which
require the use of nearby freeways (e.g., SR110, SR134, 1-210) and/or major arterial
roads (e.g., S. Orange Grove Avenue, S. Pasadena Avenue, Del Mar Blvd.). Those
drivers who use the parking lots and those drivers who drop off girls in the morning and
pick them up after school must have uncongested access to, among other streets, S.
Pasadena Avenue and S. Orange Grove Boulevard. As described below, the proposed
tunnel project appears to significantly impact access to our campus, in turn posing serious
risks to the operation of the School.
4.

The School's Role in the Community.

The School enjoys a strong reputation with its neighbors and the larger
community. Westridge has a history of rallying support to protect the health and wellbeing of its people and property. In 1966, then headmistress Elizabeth Edmundson wrote
to the Board of City Directors, referencing the connection between the School and the
community, and requesting that they "do all in their power to protect Westridge School
from the encroachments of the recently proposed alignment" of the Long Beach Freeway.
In 1968, School trustees presented a 1,716-name petition representing local community
members to the Board of City Directors to eliminate or move the proposed Long Beach
Freeway overpass linking Glenarm Street and Madeline Drive. In the 1970s, School
trustees again led a campaign with neighbors to block the plan for the proposed right-ofway for the extension of the 710 Freeway that threatened the east side of the campus.
(Exhibit C, copies of letters and articles.)
Today, Westridge and its Board of Trustees join in the concerns expressed by the
Cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena, La Canada-Flintridge, Glendale, and Sierra Madre,
the West Pasadena Residents' Association, the Sequoyah School, the National Trust for
Historic Preservation, Pasadena Heritage, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the No
on 710 Committee and others in opposing the current tunnel options for the 710 Project.
We incorporate by reference the comments and expert reports of the 5-Cities Alliance
regarding the Draft EIR.
B.

The Draft EIR Fails to Meet the Requirements of the California


Environmental Quality Act.

As described in this section, the Draft EIR is legally inadequate in several material
respects. The Draft EIR is rife with conclusory statements unsupported by current
technical evidence. Accordingly, Caltrans and Metro would violate CEQA if they were
to approve any of the Project options based on the current Draft EIR.

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 6
1.

The Draft EIR's Project Description Is Inadequate, Inaccurate


and Misleading: the Draft EIR Purports to Be a "Project EIR,"
with that High Level of Detail, but Is in Actuality Merely a
"Program EIR," with a Far Lesser Level of Detail.

The Project description in the Draft EIR is inadequate for purposes of CEQA. The
Draft EIR fails to provide sufficient detail to serve its vital role of disclosure in the
environmental review process. The Draft EIR is in actuality a programmatic EIR,
because it has insufficient detail regarding the project design and its impacts. Moreover,
with a programmatic EIR, a lead agency commits to future environmental review, which
would be open to the public. Here, Caltrans and the Metro have made no such
commitment to future public environmental review.
Among the Draft EIR' s deficiencies is a failure to identify and analyze a preferred
alternative. Instead, it presents a set of alternatives without any distinction between them
that would allow public comments to focus on the relevant proposal. CEQA requires
identification of a single proposed project. Indeed, "an accurate, stable and finite project
description is the sine qua non of an information [sic] and legally sufficient EIR. The
defined project and not some different project must be the EIR's bona fide subject."
(County of Inyo v. City of Los Angeles (1977) 71 Cal.App.3d 185, 199 (emphasis added).)
An EIR must contain a detailed statement of "[a]ll significant effects on the environment
of the proposed project." (Pub. Res. Code 21100(b)(1) (emphasis added).) The EIR
must include "[a]ltematives to the proposed project." (Pub. Res. Code 21100(b)(4)
(emphasis added).) The CEQA Guidelines also require that the project description shall
include the "precise location and boundaries of the proposed project ..." (CEQA
Guidelines 15124(a) (emphasis added).) Without identification of a precise project, the
Draft EIR becomes a vague exercise in hypothetical impact analysis.
In order to satisfy CEQA, the Draft EIR must be revised to analyze the impacts of
the selected project accurately, in detail, and with precision along with a reasonable range
of alternatives that allows meaningful comparisons with the proposed project. In the
meantime, for purposes of this letter, we assume the project being proposed is the dualbore tunnel alternative.
The lack of a chosen preferred alternative and in-depth analysis of that alternative
means that the School and other members of the public and public agencies are not able
to fully understand all of the impacts involved in tunnel construction and operation. As a
result, in violation of CEQA, Caltrans and Metro have deprived the public and public
agencies of the ability to provide comprehensive, meaningful comments on the Draft
EIR.

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 7
2.

The EIR Fails to Identify an Environmentally Superior


Alternative.

Because the EIR fails to identify a preferred alternative at all, it also fails to
identify an environmentally superior alternative. CEQA requires that an EIR must
identify the environmentally superior alternative. (Guidelines 15126.6 (e)(2).)
Identification of the environmentally superior alternative is particularly critical when, as
here, mitigation measures will not mitigate the significant impacts of the Project below
the level of significance. (Laurel Heights Improvement Assn. v. Regents of University of
California (1988) 47 Ca1.3d 376, 438.)
The California Supreme Court in Laurel Heights stated:
... if mitigation measures will avoid damage to the environment, "... there is
no need to resort to a consideration of the feasibility of environmentally
superior project alternatives identified in the environmental impact report.'
(Laurel Heights, supra, 47 Cal.3d at 402 (emphasis added).) An important implication to
be drawn from the Court's statement above is that the need for identification of an
environmentally superior alternative is heightened when mitigation measures will not
avoid such damage (i.e., unavoidable significant impacts).
C.

The Draft EIR Is Deficient in a Number of Technical Areas and Lacks


Sufficient Analysis and/or Mitigation.

We have preliminarily identified a number of potential risks to the safety, health,


and well-being of the School campus and community with the assistance of our technical
experts. Some of the most significant shortcomings of the Draft EIR are identified
below. In sum, the analysis fails to provide sufficient detail in several important areas. A
critical function of a draft EIR is to inform governmental decision makers and the public
about the potential significant environmental impacts of proposed activities. (CEQA
Guidelines 15002.) This function cannot be met when the Draft EIR omits critical
information and inadequately analyzes the project, as this one does.
In addition, the mitigation measures in the Draft EIR are too vague or ill-defined
to be enforceable, or too little to reduce significant impacts to the extent feasible. In
order to satisfy CEQA, a draft EIR must describe feasible mitigation measures to
minimize significant adverse impacts. (CEQA Guidelines 15126.4 (a)(1).) These
measures must be "fully enforceable through permit conditions, agreements, or other
legally-binding resolutions." (CEQA Guidelines 15126.4(2).)

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 8
1.

Air Quality Impacts During Both Construction and Operation


Are Inadequately Analyzed and Mitigated.

We have engaged Debra Bright Stevens of Environmental Audit, Inc. (EAI), an


expert in air quality and health risk impacts, to assist the School's review of the Draft
EIR. While Ms. Stevens' comments are summarized below, we ask that you respond to
each of her specific comments in the attached technical expert report. (Exhibit D, Letter
of Environmental Audit, Inc.) Ms. Stevens is highly qualified to review the air quality
and health risk analyses of the Draft EIR. (Exhibit E, Qualification of Ms. Stevens.)
Ms. Stevens has concluded that information including significance thresholds and
determinations required to be provided in the Draft EIR is missing or is difficult to find.
(Exhibit D, Stevens Technical Expert Report, p. 1.) Burying information in an appendix
frustrates the legally required informational purposes of a draft EIR, especially in a
CEQA document that is over 26,000 pages long. (Santa Clarita Organization for
Planning the Environment v. County of Los Angeles (2003) 106 Cal.App.4th 715, 723.)
Due to the preliminary and incomplete nature of the Draft EIR analysis, we submit the
following comments and suggestions for the type of information that must be presented,
but we anticipate that further comments will be necessary after Caltrans/Metro comply
with their duty to identify a preferred alternative and conduct a rigorous, thorough
analysis.
a. The Draft EIR Fails to Address Construction Emissions.
Ms. Stevens observes that Chapter 4 of the Draft EIR fails to discuss air quality
impacts associated with construction despite the fact that these emissions would far
exceed SCAQMD significance standards. (Exhibit D, Stevens Technical Expert Report,
p. 2.) Mitigation measures AQ-1 to -5 are not shown to be effective at reducing these
significant impacts. Ms. Stevens determined that the Draft EIR fails to include the
required Localized Significance Threshold analysis, and that if such analysis was
performed, the Project would result in significant air quality impacts. (Exhibit D, Stevens
Technical Expert Report, p. 3.)
Ms. Stevens further explains the following shortcomings in the Draft EIR that
must be addressed:
i.
ii.
iii.

The Draft ER must include a Localized Significance Threshold analysis


for construction activities;
Significance thresholds used to decide if impacts are significant must be
provided in the Draft EIR;
The EMFAC 2014 model, rather than the outdated EMFAC 2011 model,
for emissions must be used;

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 9
iv.

Expected reductions due to mitigation measures must be quantified and


validated;
v.
The Air Quality Assessment Report must include the assumptions, data,
and emissions factors used to generate fugitive dust calculations and
construction emissions;
vi.
A Health Risk Assessment must be prepared for all construction emissions,
including, without limitation, toxic air contaminants such as diesel exhaust;
vii. Emissions rates for peak traffic and off-peak traffic must be used to
correctly model cancer and chronic health risks;
viii. The Carbon Monoxide Screening Analysis must evaluate compliance with
California ambient air quality standards;
ix.
The EIR must include a PM2.5 and PM10 hotspot analysis;
x.
Proposed filtration systems for tunnel ventilation must be specified to
include control of NOx and other emissions.
(Exhibit D, Stevens Technical Report.)
b.

The EIR Fails to Take Into Account the Sensitivity of


Nearby Populations.

Air quality impacts are of particular concern to Westridge because of the School's
proximity and daily student population, which, in the summer months, includes children
as young as five years old and, during the regular school term, includes children from 8 to
18 years of age. These children spend up to 12 hours a day on campus in classrooms or
outdoors at lunch facilities and athletic fields. Numerous sources of reliable information
demonstrate the particular vulnerability of school age children to air pollution. These
include the following:
1)Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry [part of CDC],
Environmental Health and Medicine Education - "Preconception Exposures and
In Utero Exposures" and "Special Considerations Regarding Toxic Exposures to
Young and School Age Children and Adolescents,"
htt13://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=27&po=10 ["[T]he rapid growth,
division, and differentiation of many cells [during puberty] may result in
vulnerabilities. ... Metabolic rate of some xenobiotics [(foreign chemical
substances in a body)] is reduced in response to the increased secretion of growth
hormone, steroids, or both that occur during the adolescent years." (Citing
Gitterman and Barer, "A Developmental Approach to Pediatric Environmental
Health" 2001).];
2) American Academy of Pediatrics, "Ambient Air Pollution: Health Hazards to
Children" (2003), appearing in Pediatrics, the official journal of the AAP.
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/114/6/1699.full#R8 and http://pediatri

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 10
cs.aappublications.org/content/114/6/1699.full.pdf ["Children are more vulnerable
to the adverse effects of air pollution than are adults. ... Children have increased
exposure to many air pollutants compared with adults because of higher minute
ventilation and higher levels of physical activity. ... Children in communities
with higher levels of urban air pollution (acid vapor, nitrogen dioxide, particulate
matter with a median aerodynamic dynamic of less than 2.5 urn] and elemental
carbon [a component of diesel exhaust] had decreased lung function growth ... ."];
3) Gilliand, FD, et al., "The Effects of Ambient Air Pollution on School
Absenteeism Due to Respiratory Illness," appearing in Epidemiology
2001[increase in ozone levels associated with increase in absenteeism due to
respiratory-related symptoms]; Chen et al., "Elementary School Absenteeism and
Air Pollution" in Inhalation Toxicology (2000);
4) Children's Health Study by USC, a longitudinal study of the impact of air
pollution on children's health. https://healthstudy.usc.eduifindings.php; Findings
published by, inter alia, Gauderman et al., "Childhood asthma and exposure to
traffic and nitrogen dioxide," appearing in Epidemiology (2005).
We are attaching each of these studies as exhibits and ask that you respond to the
information in each of them regarding children's health and with particular focus on the
sensitive population at Westridge. (See Exhibit M.)
Furthermore, Ms. Stevens determined that the emissions factors used in the Draft
EIR are outdated, the efficacy of mitigation measures is not calculated, and the failure to
use variable emission rates that account for variations throughout the day lead to
incorrectly calculated and underestimated cancer and chronic health risks. (Exhibit D,
Stevens Technical Expert Report, p. 4.)
c.

The Draft EIR Fails to Disclose the Impacts of Tunnel


Operation on Air Quality Outside the Tunnels.

On the one hand, the "Tunnel Systems Report" (TSR) portion of the Draft EIR
states that emissions from the vent shafts will not exceed permissible levels:
"Preliminary dispersion models (which are not within the scope of this report) have
shown that concentration of pollutants does not exceed permissible values at the portal
areas." (TSR, p. 38.) Yet, on the other hand, the Draft EIR states that the locations of the
vent shafts have not yet been determined: "The final exhaust air locations have not been
determined yet." (TSR, p. 39.) This contradiction exposes a fatal flaw in the Draft EIR.
Because the ventilation and emissions control system has not yet been designed nor the
exhaust locations determined, it is not yet possible to predict the level of emissions from
these vent shafts. Therefore, this leaves unaddressed the exposure of our girls and nearby

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 11
residents to the increased and unquantified health risks associated with emissions from
this Project.
The Draft EIR states that "[n] avoidance, minimization or mitigation measures
are required" to deal with the air quality impacts of the operation of either the single-bore
or dual-bore alternative. (Draft EIR, p. 36, Table ES-1.) This is a truly remarkable
statement in light of the increased vehicular traffic that all tunnel options will bring, the
resulting increase in harmful diesel exhaust and Mobile Source Air Toxic emissions, the
concentration of these emissions at single exit points at the ends of the tunnels, and the
especially sensitive populations near the northern portal. The proponents' claim is
unsupported and erroneous.
i.

The Proposed Tunnel Ventilation System Collects


Harmful Exhaust Gasses From A Vast Number Of
Vehicles Traveling Over The Tunnel's 4.9-Mile
Course And Expels ThemUntreatedInto The
Communities Near The Portals.

The proposed 4.9-mile long tunnel is a collection zone for noxious exhaust fumes
from 180,200 cars per day for a dual-bore tunnel and 89,900 cars per day for a singlebore. (TSR App. D, pp. D-2-8 to D-2-9, TSR App. D, p. D-5-60.) The proponents
acknowledge that, of all the alternatives, the tunnel(s) will result in "the greatest increase
in combined AM and PM peak period regional area vehicle miles traveled." (Draft EIR,
p. 21, Table ES-1.) The Project has only one method of removing carbon monoxide and
NOx from vehicle exhaust: to collect the accumulated and concentrated pollutant
emissions within the tunnel and blow them out of the tunnel through exhaust fans at a
single location at each end. (TSR, p. 40.) Caltrans and Metro fail to disclose the exact
location or design of these exhaust fans. However, the volume of pollutant emissions air
to be released into the community is astounding: for dual-bore tunnels, the fans at the
north portal alone will have to expel 1,652,670 cubic feet of pollutant emissions per
minute, and for a single-bore tunnel these fans will have to expel 826,340 cubic feet of
pollutant emissions per minute presumably 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. (TSR
App. D, pp. D-6-61 and D-5-53.) These figures would be much greater if there is
bumper-to-bumper traffic moving slowly within the tunnel(s), as is so often the case on
the 1-710 freeway.
According to Caltrans/Metro, the "primary function" of the tunnel ventilation
system they have proposed in concept "is to reduce the level of harmful gases,
particularly carbon monoxide (CO)" for the safety of motorists using the tunnel. (TSR, p.
33.) The ventilation system is not designed to protect the communities and sensitive
populations like Westridge near the exhaust portals from these harmful emissions. (TSR,
p. 40.) The tunnel air filtering system does not even attempt to remove "Ip]roducts of
incomplete composition, such as CO, CH, NOx, SNOx," from the tunnel air before they

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 12
are dispersed to the ambient air. (Id.) The stated objective of the undesigned ventilation
system is to ignore the other pollutant emissions; for example, the Draft EIR states that
"[a] separate air quality study [by unnamed authors, not attached] determined that NOx
filtering will not be required. Therefore, exhaust fumes such as NO and NO2 will not be
removed by the air filtering system." (TSR, App. D, p. D-3-33.) Perhaps the real reason
that these pollutant emissions are left untreated before being expelled into the community
is that "there are no technologies available" to do so. (TSR, p. 40.) It appears that since
Caltrans/Metro have determined that they cannot fix the pollutant emissions problem,
they assert in the Draft EIR that it is not a problem.
In summary, the ventilation system proposed in concept is intended only to keep
the level of CO for people in cars and trucks inside the tunnel(s) within safe limits at the
expense of the people and community outside of the tunnel portals.
ii.

The Proponents Plan To Try To Remove Only


"Particulate Matter" From Concentrated Exhaust,
And Even That Treatment Method Is Inadequate.

The Draft EIR states that there is only one method to "reduce environmental
impact in the portal area" (TSR, p. 36), i.e., only one air-cleaning mechanism before the
concentrated tunnel emissions are dispersed above ground: the use of "electrostatic
filters," also referred to as "air scrubbers." (Id., p. 38.) The "scrubbers" unfortunately
only treat Particulate Matter (PM). (Id., p. 30.) They are not designed to clean out
harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and sulfur dioxide, before they
are released above ground. (Id., p. 40.) The Draft EIR states that these electrostatic
filters / "scrubbers" will allow 20% of PM2.5 and 5% of PM10 to be released above
ground to the detriment of the air quality in the surrounding community. (See id., p. 37
["The filters are capable of removing 90 95 % of PM10 particles (10-um-wide) and 80
- 85 % of PM2.5 particles (2.5 um-wide)."]) Caltrans/Metro acknowledge that both
tunnel alternatives will result in greater diesel PM emissions than the no-build
alternatives and greater PM10 emissions than the existing conditions emissions. (Draft
EIR, p. 36, table ES-1.) However, the Draft EIR fails to quantify the increased emissions
and fails to characterize such impact as significant. Caltrans/Metro must analyze and
disclose how much harmful Particulate Matter will be expelled into our community each
minute, hour, and day of tunnel operation. The Draft EIR fails in this regard.
Further, the Draft EIR does not reveal what is ultimately to happen to the trapped
Particulate Matter. Apparently, these harmful particles are to be washed out when the
scrubbers are cleaned. (TSR, App. D, p. D-3-34.) However, the proponents fail to
disclose what they plan to do with the waste water. Evidently, there is no plan for the
safe treatment or safe removal of the contaminated water. The Draft EIR fails to identify
a drainage system.

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 13
iii.

The Draft EIR Fails to Demonstrate That Outside


Air In The Vicinity Of The Exhaust Fans Will Be
Safe For People To Breathe.

The Draft EIR asserts that "outside air quality will remain within acceptable
limits" (TSR, p. 38) based on a "separate environmental investigation" performed
"subsequently" by CH2M HILL. This "investigation" is not attached or otherwise made
available for public review. As with the "preliminary dispersion models" that were also
not provided, the public has a right to see this environmental investigation prior to any
further consideration by Caltrans/Metro. The Draft EIR incorrectly states that these
models are "not within the scope of this report." (Id., p. 38.)
The Draft EIR acknowledges that "[a]t the present time there are no technologies
available, such as catalytic converters, able to filter gaseous emissions such as oxides of
nitrogen and hydrocarbons from large volumes of exhaust." (Id., p. 40 (emphasis
added).) This is indeed unfortunate for the people who breathe the air near the exhaust
fans. The impact on local air quality should be fully studied and all of the studies should
be disclosed prior to further Project considerations.
iv.

The Draft EIR Fails To Reveal The Location Or


Design Of The Exhaust Fans And Towers.

The public has a right to know the location and design of the exhaust fans and
towers for the untreated exhaust emissions, but the proponents fail to provide this
information. The exact placement of the exhaust fans near the ends of the tunnel(s), i.e.,
the point of dispersal into the ambient air above ground, is not revealed and evidently has
not been determined. It appears from the concept drawings that the fans at the northern
end of the tunnel(s) will be substantially south of the actual tunnel opening i.e., closer
to Westridge than the northern tunnel opening. (See, e.g., Figure 17, p. 39 and TSR App.
D, Fig. 3-5, p. D 3-25.) How high above ground will the untreated pollutant emissions
air be released? This information is not provided in the Draft EIR. But the Draft EIR
states that, for a single-bore tunnel, the exhaust fans at the north portal will expel 826,340
cubic feet of untreated pollutant emissions air per minute, and for a dual-bore tunnel they
will expel 1,652,670 cubic feet of untreated pollutant emissions air per minute. (TSR,
App. D, p. D-6-61.) This critical information must be shared with the public, and
accurate environmental impact must be revealed. Without these specifics, the Draft EIR
is fundamentally flawed.
Indeed, a glaring inconsistency exists between the conclusion that "concentration
of pollutants does not exceed permissible values at the portal areas" (TSR, p. 38) and the
statement that the locations and designs of the exhaust fans and towers have not yet been
determined (TSR, p. 39). Without deciding on a fan/tower design and location, it is not
possible to predict the level or dispersion area of harmful exhaust emissions. Thus, the

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 14
contradictory and incomplete assessment in the Draft EIR fails to address the health risks
to sensitive populations, such as Westridge School's students, near the portals and
thereby violates CEQA.
d.

No Plan Is Provided Or System Designed To Deal With


Spilled Fuel and Contaminated Wastewater.

Further, the Draft EIR states that hydrocarbon detectors will be installed in the
drainage system (TSR, p. 18) but does not identify the type of sensors or disclose any
drainage system design. The Draft EIR states that the "first measure to reduce PM
emission from tunnel portals is to ensure that the tunnel is regularly cleaned with highpressure water." (TSR, p. 39.) The Draft EIR does not describe a plan for the regular
cleaning of the tunnel with high-pressure water and fails to identify a drainage system for
the dirty waste water.
e.

The Health Risk Assessment Fails to Conform to Current


OEHHA Guidelines for Air Toxic Hot Spot Assessment.

The Health Risk Assessment ("HRA") in the Draft EIR uses outdated guidance for
the preparation of such an assessment associated with the operation of the Project.
Specifically, the Draft EIR used the 2003 Air Toxic Hot Spots Program Risk Assessment
Guidelines prepared by the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard
Assessment ("OEHHA"), even though OEHHA promulgated new risk assessment
guidelines in February 2015, prior to the release of the Draft EIR. The new standards and
guidelines must be used in preparing the revised Draft EIR.
The new OEHHA Guidelines make a number of important revisions to the
preparation of Health Risk Assessments. Of particular concern to Westridge School,
OEHHA developed age sensitivity factors (ASFs) to take into account the increased
sensitivity to carcinogens during early-in-life exposures. (OEHHA, 2015.) Because
children will be present in residential areas and at schools along the Project alignment,
age-dependent excess cancer risk must be determined and included in a revised Health
Risk Assessment. The new OEHHA guidelines should also be used to estimate the health
risks associated with construction and operational activities. The use of the revised
guidelines is expected to increase cancer risk by a factor of about 3. At a minimum, a
new Health Risk Assessment for the Project must be prepared and the Draft EIR
incorporating this important information must be recirculated for public review and
comment.
Even assuming the health risk analysis was done properly and showed a regionwide improvement in air quality and reduction of cancer risk as a result of the tunnel
operation an assumption emphatically not borne out by the evidence adduced so far
the analysis would be inadequate to support a "no significant impact" conclusion.

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 15
Considering an amalgam or regional picture of change in cancer risk ignores the local
harm from MSAT, PM, and other pollutants on "sensitive receptors" especially
children attending school near the portals.
The Health Risk Assessment authors misleadingly report that health risks
(including especially cancer risk) from Mobile Source Air Toxics (MSAT) will actually
be reduced "in a majority of the study areas" as a consequence of the tunnel project.
(HRA, p. 3-8.) This is only true if one discounts local impacts and uses flawed
methodology.
In fact, as Tables 3-4 through 3-6 and Figures 3-11 through 3-19 of the HRA
show, some areas along the route will experience more than a ten-fold increase in cancer
risk. The cancer risk elevation is especially high in the area immediately surrounding the
north portal. The Draft EIR acknowledges that the tunnel operation will increase the risk
of cancer locally:
The Freeway Tunnel Alternative also has the potential to cause a localized cancer
risk increase due to the added vehicle emissions from the new freeway corridor
and the roadways directly connected to it. ... The area with cancer risk increases
greater than 10 in 1 million is a narrow strip around the north and south portals
and the adjacent interchanges.
(HRA, p. 3-8.) However, this significant impact and local harm appear to be outweighed
by a purported regional benefit. (See also Draft EIR, pp. 20-21 [attempting to justify
local increases in MSAT in the Build scenarios on the basis that reductions in overall
vehicle fleet emissions due to tightened regulations over the next few decades will result
in region-wide reductions in MSAT compared to current region-wide levels.])
In fact, the Health Risk Assessment understates the cancer risk to children who
live and/or attend school in the area not only by using outdated methodology not
approved by OEHHA (as discussed above) but also by failing to consider the scope of the
impact. The HRA authors considered only a single school site near the northern portal to
study or model for cancer risk Maranatha High School. However, there are several
other schools within an approximately one-mile radius of the north portal, including
Westridge School (approximately 500 students, grades 4 - 12), Sequoyah School (180
students, grades K - 8), and Waverly School (365 students, grades K - 12), and Mayfield
Senior School (317 students, grades 9 - 12). The HRA's failure to study the health
impacts of increased air pollution at these campuses especially in light of the new
standards mandated by OEHHA is another serious flaw in the Draft EIR.

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 16
f.

Additional Mitigation Measures Are Necessary to Guard


Against Air Quality Impacts to the School.

Currently, air quality conditions in the vicinity of Westridge School are good most
days of the year. Metro and Caltrans must conduct ambient air testing in the vicinity of
the School to establish a baseline of existing air quality conditions. If air quality is
adversely impacted during construction or operation of the Tunnel Project, mitigation
measures should be implemented to restore the air quality to the baseline conditions.
As Ms. Stevens notes, "[a]n appropriate mitigation measure to monitor and assure
that air quality impacts are as claimed in the 710 Draft EIR/EIS is to require sufficient
ambient air quality monitoring in the vicinity of the proposed project." (Exhibit D,
Stevens Technical Report, p. 8.) Furthermore, in response to this monitoring, project
construction or operation must be curtailed as needed to prevent significant impacts. The
Draft EIR provides neither monitoring nor a curtailment plan.
Further, Ms. Stevens suggests: "Control equipment at the tunnel portals filters
must also include control of NOx emissions to minimize NOx emissions from the
proposed project, particularly because NOx emissions contribute to ozone formation."
The Tunnel Systems Report section addressing the Tunnel Ventilation System provides a
"general overview of air filtering technologies." (TSR, p. 38.) However, it does not
provide specific enforceable mitigation measures including performance standards and
methods of attaining those standards.
Mitigation Measures for construction impacts must be strengthened to require that
off-road diesel-powered equipment meet California Air Resources Board Tier 4 Interim
Standards (Title 13, CCR, Section 2423, Table lb) which will reduce Project impacts
related to diesel particulate matter.
2.

Historic Resource Threats from Geotechnical Impacts During


Both Construction and Operation Are Inadequately Analyzed
and Mitigated.
a.

The School's Historic Buildings Are Especially Placed at


Risk for Damage From Project Tunnel Construction
Activities.

A number of the School's buildings are sensitive historic resources. Some of these
historic resources are widely recognized for their cultural value. The 1904-05 Reverend
A. Moss Merwin house and the 1906 Robert Pitcairn Jr. house are both significant early
works designed by internationally-renowned master architects Charles and Henry Greene
(collectively, "the Greene Buildings"). The Greene Buildings are particularly sensitive to
potential vibration impacts. According to Michael Krakower, a structural engineer

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 17
familiar with the construction of the buildings, the walls of the basements of both
buildings are unreinforced masonry brick and are more prone to damage from
construction vibration and settlement than modern foundations. Furthermore, the brick
walls support the exterior house walls above, and if the brick walls are damaged, the
character-defining features of the exterior house walls might be compromised.
The Draft EIR notes the School as a community facility within 0.5 miles of the
tunnel alternative (Draft EIR, Table 3.3.3); however, the Draft EIR fails to include the
School on its list of historical properties in the area of potential effects. (Draft EIR, Table
3.7.5.) Nor does the Draft EIR address the special historic value or particular
vulnerabilities of the Greene Buildings. This is an especially egregious omission because
a map of the proposed route of the freeway tunnel included in a consultant's progress
report (which should have been included in the Draft EIR) shows the proposed alignment
coming within approximately 58 feet of the southeast corner of the School campus.
(Exhibit K.) The Greene Buildings are located in the southeast portion of the School
campus in close proximity to the tunnel alignment.
The Tunnel Project proposes a tunnel along Pasadena and Saint John Avenues.
The tunnel would cut through residential neighborhoods, including at least two historic
districts (the Markham Place Historic District and Pasadena Avenue Historic District).
We request that the Draft EIR address whether and how Caltrans will acquire properties
in these neighborhoods in light of the danger of damage to these properties (many of
which are historic and very valuable) through vibration and subsidence.
Tunneling and dewatering leading to subsidence or soil collapse can manifest
themselves in the form of sinkholes. Examples of such sinkholes were found in the
Hollywood area during MTA (Metro) Redline Phase I tunneling. The Draft EIR fails to
explain how such subsidence and sinkhole issues will be avoided here. Further
investigation and characterization of the potential tunnel routes must be conducted and
disclosed for public review and comment before the Draft EIR can be considerate
complete.
Other events associated with the tunnel project could have severe geologic
implications for Westridge, including, among others, accidents involving tanker trucks,
such as the recent accidents and fires that shut down the 1-5 on July 15, 2013, the 1-710
freeway on April 26, 2015, and the 1-15 on July 17, 2015. Such accidents could create
structural instability leading to a tunnel collapse or shifting of soils. We have included a
sampling of articles related to tunnel fires, many of which involve roof collapse. (Exhibit
H, Articles re Tunnel fires, [see, e.g., "128 Missing in Swiss Tunnel Fire," noting "two
trucks collided head-on, starting the blaze that reached temperatures of 1,800 degrees
Fahrenheit, partly collapsing the ceiling."])

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 18
b.

Geotechnical Expert Evaluation of the EIR Reveals Its


Analytical Shortcomings and Missing Information.

We have consulted with Richard Meehan and Doug Hamilton regarding potential
geotechnical impacts. While their comments are summarized below, we ask that you
respond to each of their specific comments in the attached Technical Expert Report.
(Exhibit I, Technical Expert Report Letter of Richard Meehan and Doug Hamilton.) Mr.
Meehan and Mr. Hamilton are highly qualified to review the geotechnical analysis of the
Draft EIR. (Exhibit J, Qualifications of Richard Meehan and Doug Hamilton.)
Meehan and Hamilton state that the geological conditions along the proposed
tunnel route are "probably the most difficult ever encountered in a major tunnel project."
(Meehan and Hamilton, p. 6.) They note that the Topanga formation through which the
tunnel(s) would potentially be drilled has not yet been explored with borings to the depth
of the tunnels. Therefore, adequate investigatory borings must be performed in order to
assess the geotechnical risks and ascertain the preferred potential underground path of the
tunnels. (CEQA Guidelines 15144 ["an agency must use its best efforts to find out and
disclose all that it reasonably can"].)
The Tunnel Evaluation Report dated September 5, 2014 states:
The geology interpreted on this cross section [for the freeway tunnel
alternatives] is approximated, based on the geologic sources referenced in
the text of this report [from 1983 and 1988] and a limited number of widely
spaced borings. Significant, additional detailed geologic investigation will
be required to adequately characterize the geologic conditions along the
alignment.
(Note 2 on p. 372 of the Tunnel Evaluation Report, emphasis added.) This lack of
geologic characterization in the Draft EIR is especially troubling given that the tunnel
project is of unprecedented size, cost, and scope. This critical information is missing
from the Draft EIR, thus depriving the public and Westridge School of understanding the
full impacts of this Project.
Some of the tunnel alignment could be within alluvial boulders or possibly
igneous diorite rocks, creating difficulty and vibratory drilling for the Tunnel Boring
Machines ("TBMs"). Meehan and Hamilton characterize the conditions thusly:
The geologic conditions within the alignment present a showcase of geotechnical
difficulties active faulting, erratic bedrock conditions much influenced by the
millions of years of high seismicity of the area including, intermittent deep but
poorly defined ancient channels of boulder alluvium, sedimentary rocks that might
be expected to present easy TBM boring conditions but which are in this case

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 19
unexpectedly juxtaposed with interbeds of very hard cemented zones and shattered
igneous and volcanic rocks, a complex mlange of conditions presenting a
potential tunnel contractor's nightmare.
(Meehan and Hamilton Report, p. 21.)
Meehan and Hamilton also note that seismic effects can pose a potentially
significant challenge. The proposed tunnel, they state, "is located in what is one of the
major tectonic hotspots in the world." (Id., p. 5.) This has led to rock that is "heavily
deformed and faulted." (Id.)
Even Caltrans/Metro's consultant, CH2M Hill, in its "Project Risk Register"
prepared November 12, 2014, states that the risk of "Major TBM Equipment Failure
(main bearing, bull gear, etc.)" is "High," and the method of dealing with the risk is to
"[h]ave a plan to repair quickly and back on service." (Exhibit L, Project Risk Register,
item #118.) Furthermore, this Project Risk Register states the risk of "TBM Stuck,
squeezing, or swelling ground" because of "Difficult site conditions" is "High," and the
response is to "provide adequate characterization to handle differing site conditions. Plan
for contingency during construction." (Exhibit L, Project Risk Register, item #119.)
What is the contingency plan for one or more TBM's being stuck? This critical
information is conspicuously missing from the Draft EIR.
In the context of the potential for a TBM breakdown and the necessity for surface
excavation to assist in its rescue, it is noteworthy that Caltrans is apparently selling its
surface properties. Caltrans has recently released its EIR for its surface property sales.
(http://www.dotea.govidist07/resourcesienvdocs/docs/710sales/.) This property sale process
should be evaluated as part of the overall 710 extension project, not kept separate.
CEQA does not permit project segmentation or piecemeal review of components of a
project. Instead, it is necessary to analyze the sale of properties, and the potential
reservation of subsurface rights for tunneling, as it will relate to tunnel alignment and the
potential necessity of TBM rescue excavation.
The Draft EIR says that vibration would result from the use of TBMs and does not
rule out the use of "blasting methods" for excavation. (Draft EIR, 3.14-9.) However, the
Draft EIR does not provide any definitive information about whether blasting would be
used and merely states that "[t]his would be determined when more detailed geotechnical
information is evaluated for these areas." (Draft EIR, 3.14-9.) More definitive
information on whether and how blasting methods will be used and how they will affect
or damage properties above the excavation area must be provided in the Draft EIR.

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 20
c.

Specific, Enforceable Mitigation Measures Are Necessary


for Geotechnical Impacts.

Mitigation Measure Geo-3 "Tunnel Design" is not a mitigation measure as much


as it is an identification of the improper deferral of analysis of potential impacts.
Measures such as "a comprehensive geotechnical investigation program," "detailed
construction methods assessment," and a "fault crossing design . . . to be able to
accommodate the expected fault offset" are exactly the sort of information that must be
developed now, during public review of the Draft EIR. CEQA requires that this
information not be deferred to some post-approval review process.
3.

The Draft EIR Fails to Adequately Analyze and Mitigate


Significant Traffic Impacts During Both Construction and
Operation.

Due to the preliminary and incomplete nature of the transportation analysis in the
Draft EIR, our comments and suggestions include a list of the type of information that
must be presented. However, we anticipate that further comments will be necessary after
Caltrans/Metro announce a preferred alternative and conduct a more detailed analysis.
After a preferred alternative is chosen and detailed analysis is supplied, the FIR must be
recirculated for public and public agency review and comment. We note that the draft
EIR. admits that all the Build Alternatives will result in "significant impacts on study area
intersections and freeway segments that cannot be mitigated to below a level of
significance under CEQA." (Draft EIR, p. 25.)
a.

Transportation Expert Evaluation of the EIR Reveals Its


Analytical Shortcomings.

We have consulted with Jon Twichell/Associates, a transportation and capital


projects construction expert. While Mr. Twichell's comments are summarized as
follows, we ask that you respond to each of his specific comments in the attached
technical expert report. (Exhibit F, Technical Expert Report of Jon Twichell/Associates.)
Mr. Twichell is highly qualified to review the traffic and construction analysis of the
Draft EIR. (Exhibit G, Qualification of Mr. Twichell.)
As Mr. Twichell explains, the Draft EIR fails to provide the following vital
information regarding construction:
i.

clear delineation of the routes, schedules and methods for the massive
Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM) to be moved into position. This should
include clear information on the size of the TBMs, how much on-site
assembly will be required, and how much surface equipment operation
is associated with them;

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 21
ii.
iii.
iv.

v.
vi.
vii.

viii.

clear and detailed Emergency Plan in the event of TBM failure, as


happened in the Seattle SR99 project;
a committed, actual destination for the millions of tons of removed rock
and soil, both in the short term while drying during removal, and the
long term for permanent disposal;
a committed, actual construction and hauling truck route plan from and
returning to the construction site, done at a small enough scale to be
readable and intelligible. This should be delineated on drawings of
sufficient scale to show details of street impacts. For example, haul
routes depicted in Figure 2.9 on page 2.81 of the EIR are on maps with
too large a scale to provide specific, useful information;
clear and actual details of dewatering during construction, including
tunnel drilling, cut and cover excavation, and trenching through ground
water;
clear and specific mapping of laydown areas, as well as the specific uses
over the course of construction;
clear, realistic and specific mapping of areas needed for storage and
drying out of tunnel excavation; the large area needed for laying out
three days of soil, slurry, chemicals and rock has not been adequately
defined;
The Draft EIR states that "Temporary land use impacts would also
include the use of privately owned properties for TCEs [Temporary
Construction Easements]." (Draft EIR, 3.24-1.) Please provide more
details on how many properties will be targeted for TCEs, where these
properties will be located, what Caltrans will use these properties for
(e.g., construction staging area, parking, etc.), and what the
compensation for the TCEs will be.

(Exhibit F, Technical Expert Report of Jon Twichell/Associates.)


With regard to operational impacts, Mr. Twichell observes that the heavy and
unique traffic patterns created by educational facilities were not considered at all. Of the
156 intersections studied, none were in the vicinity of Westridge. Instead, the selection
of intersections to be analyzed was focused on justifying regional traffic movement rather
than considering local needs. Each morning, several hundred parents drop off their girls
using a designated one-way route that requires them to travel south on South Pasadena
Avenue, turn right on State Street to join the carpool line in front of the School's southern
entrance, and then depart by turning right or left on South Orange Grove Boulevard. The
free flow of traffic on both of these arterials is essential for timely ingress and egress
from the School. In addition, the Westridge faculty and administration rely on access to
the north parking lot, which can only be accessed from South Pasadena Avenue and

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 22
Madeline Drive. However, the Draft EIR fails to ensure traffic patterns in this area will
not be impacted by construction equipment vehicles, haul truck trips, construction worker
vehicles, and vehicles operated by tunnel operations employees.
b.

Additional Mitigation Measures For Traffic Impacts to


the School Are Necessary.

As a part of any Project, we hereby request that Caltrans/Metro enter into a


written, legally enforceable agreement with the School with the following requirements:
i.

ii.

iii.

iv.

v.
vi.

vii.

viii.

ix.

Construction equipment vehicles and construction worker vehicles


shall not use S. Pasadena Avenue or S Orange Grove Boulevard
during the School's morning and afternoon peak arrival hours;
Earth hauling truck traffic shall be prohibited at all times from using
S. Pasadena Avenue and S. Orange Grove Boulevard, including
protecting both the east and west Madeline Drive cul-de-sacs from
any construction equipment impacts;
All freeway entrances and exits substantially used by parents and
staff shall remain operational and materially unimpeded during the
course of construction and operation;
Construction worker parking shall be clearly designated, away from
the school and preferably off-street Clear demonstration that
designated parking is sufficient for project-workers;
Staging of construction or earth-hauling trucks on the streets within
a six-block radius of the School shall be prohibited;
Clear, demonstrated Project Manager control over contractor
behavior; prompt and continuing enforcement of agreement
conditions; prompt access to Project Manager with ability to resolve
issues immediately;
Reimbursement to School for consulting, parent and staff survey and
legal costs related to enforcement and monitoring of the
School/Caltrans/Metro agreement;
Financial penalties that accumulate daily must be assessed in the
event there is a violation of mitigation measures designed to prevent
construction or operational impacts to the School.to. make such
mitigation measures fully enforceable;
Pedestrian sidewalks and travel paths must be protected, including
providing crossing guards at appropriate peak construction traffic
periods.

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 23
D.

Alternatives to the Tunnel Project Would Be Equally or More Effective


At Achieving Caltrans' and Metro's Goals With Less Expense and
Fewer Impacts.

The alternatives analysis is the "core of the EIR." (Citizens of Goleta Valley v.
Board of Supervisors (1990) 52 Ca1.3d 553, 564.) CEQA imposes a high standard when
a lead agency proposes rejecting an alternative considered in an EIR. "One of [an EIR's]
major functions . . . is to ensure that all reasonable alternatives to proposed projects are
thoroughly assessed by the responsible official." (Laurel Heights Improvement Ass 'n. v.
Regents of the University of California (1988) 47 Ca1.3d 376, 400 (quoting Wildlife Alive
v. Chickering (1976) 18 Ca1.3d 190, 197) (emphasis in original).) Further, "[u]nder
CEQA, the public agency bears the burden of affirmatively demonstrating that...the
agency's approval of the proposed project followed meaningful consideration of
alternatives and mitigation measures." (Mountain Lion Foundation v. Fish and Game
Commission (1997) 16 Ca1.4th 105, 134 (emphasis added).) The adoption of a less
damaging feasible alternative is the equivalent of the adoption of feasible mitigation.
(Laurel Heights, supra, 47 Ca1.3d at 403.) Such an alternative or mitigation measure
must be adopted by the lead agency unless the lead agency can demonstrate that the
mitigation is "truly infeasible." City of Marina v. Board of Trustees of the California
State University (2006) 39 Ca1.4th 341, 368; see also Pub. Res. Code 21002 ["public
agencies should not approve projects as proposed if there are feasible alternatives or
feasible mitigation measures available which would substantially lessen the significant
environmental effects of such projects"].)
Unfortunately, the alternatives analysis in the Draft EIR does not meet the legal
standard imposed by CEQA. The Draft EIR fails to include all potentially feasible
reasonable alternatives to the proposed project and does not include sufficient
information for the reviewing public to understand which alternatives are truly infeasible.
This alternatives analysis becomes even more important given the number of unmitigated
and unavoidable significant air quality, health risk, geotechnical and traffic impacts that
we have identified herein.
We have focused our discussion in this letter on the impacts of the tunnel
alternative, but we believe other private and public groups have presented innovative,
feasible alternatives including the City of Pasadena's "710 Alternatives Working Group"
and, more recently, "Beyond the 710: Moving Forward." Innovative technologies could
address freight movement, which is a large component of the perceived demand for a
new north-south route. Similarly, GRID railways technologies for freight movement and
hyperloop for freight should be explored as an alternative to creating new freeways
(http://www.gridinc.biz/thegridprojectl; http://www.logisticsmatter.com/2015/02/11/shipfreight-supersonic-speeds-hyperloop/).

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 24
The Draft EIR states that "All the Build Alternatives would result in direct,
temporary, construction-related effects on existing land uses, including business and
neighborhood disruptions during construction that may include disruption of local traffic
patterns, access to homes and businesses, and increased traffic congestion, noise,
vibration, and dust ...." (Draft EIR, 3.24-1.) Please address whether and how Caltrans
will provide compensation to property business owners for the "business and
neighborhood disruptions during construction." Alternatives which minimize the
disruptions must be developed and included in the Draft EIR.
While our consideration of other alternatives is just beginning, the general
direction of multi-modal systems of transportation that focus on moving people (or
freight) rather than vehicles makes more sense than a single 4.5 mile tunnel designed to
expand an already overloaded and outdated freeway system.
The Draft EIR must be revised with this new information and then recirculated for
public comment. (CEQA Guidelines section 15088.5.) New information includes the
availability of a feasible project alternative that would clearly lessen the significant
impacts of the project.
CONCLUSION.
Caltrans and Metro must identify a specific preferred alternative, then conduct
more thorough analysis, specify design elements, and disclose more information with
regard to various impacts including air quality, health risks, traffic, and geotechnical
impacts. Once sufficiently detailed information and analyses are included in the Draft
EIR, and less impactful alternatives are incorporated in a draft EIR, the draft EIR must be
recirculated to provide sufficient information regarding impacts.
Pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21092.2, we request all notifications
regarding this Project.
Thank you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
Douglas P. Carstens

Caltrans /Metro
August 4, 2015
Page 25
Exhibit List
Exhibit A, "Westridge School, An architectural heritage"
Exhibit B, Awards and Recognitions for Preservation
Exhibit C, Copy of letters and articles- re Westridge Concerns
Exhibit D, Letter of Environmental Audit, Inc.
Exhibit E, Qualifications of Debra Stevens
Exhibit F, Letter of Jon Twichell
Exhibit G, Qualification of Mr. Twichell
Exhibit H, Articles re Tunnel fires
Exhibit I, Letter of Richard Meehan and Doug Hamilton
Exhibit J, Qualifications of Richard Meehan and Doug Hamilton
Exhibit K, Map of Proposed Alignment
Exhibit L, "Project Risk Register" prepared by CH2M Hill
Exhibit M, Copies of Air Quality Studies:
1) Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, "Special Considerations
Regarding Toxic Exposures to Young and School Age Children and
Adolescents; and "Preconception Exposures and In Utero Exposures"
2) American Academy of Pediatrics, "Ambient Air Pollution: Health Hazards to
Children" (2003)
3) Gilliand, FD, et al., "The Effects of Ambient Air Pollution on School
Absenteeism Due to Respiratory Illness"
4) Children's Health Study by USC, "Childhood asthma and exposure to traffic
and nitrogen dioxide
cc:
Elizabeth J. McGregor,
Head of School
Linda D. Tolbert
Chair, Board of Trustees
Kendis Heffley
Chief Finance and Operations Officer

Оценить