In 2001, CalTrans & Metro proposed to widen the 710 freeway from East LA to Long Beach for MORE trucks. The 710 project would include displacing people from homes and businesses, more DIESEL trucks, and no benefits to the community. Since then, community members of the I-710 South community have organized, educated, and agitated with the purpose of uplifting the health of our hoods and demanding dignity for living beings in the 710 area.
In conversation with community members and organizations throughout the corridor and our allies, we formed the Coalition for Environmental Health and Justice (CEHAJ), a group focused on health & well-being along the 710 freeway. CEHAJ members include Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), Earthjustice, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ), Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), Long Beach Residents Empowered (LiBRE), Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma (LBACA), Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), and Occidental College- Urban & Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI).
CEHAJ is a coalition of organizations, associations, and community groups working to achieve environmental justice, improving air quality, community health, and overall quality of life for residents living in the I-710 corridor in Southern California. CEHAJ is committed to ensuring the right of community residents to be part of the decision-making process as it relates to proposed expansion projects for the I-710 freeway.
Some of the wins in the last 20 years include:
- 2010-2012 Creating Community Alternative 7
- 2012-2013 SB811 -authored by Senator Ricardo Lara- proposed to require CalTrans to examine Community Alternative 7 (CA7) in its entirety as part of the 710 Corridor Project. Gov. Brown vetoed SB811 in 2013 stating that the project had to be resolved with the local CalTrans agency. Gov. Brown did not consult with the community before making his decision, actively erasing the diligent work CEHAJ did to engage CalTrans and all agency stakeholders thoroughly before introducing the bill.
- 2021 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sends a letter stating the 710 project causes A LOT of health impacts, and cannot move forward as it is currently being studied. CEHAJ issues a letter pressuring Metro to stop the current project. State CalTrans publicly states that the current 710 project will NOT move forward with displacement and high air pollution. Metro Board approves motion to pause and later cancel the existing 710 project.
- As of Fall 2021, a new process is being introduced through Metro that will impact the 710 communities. CEHAJ continues to participate with the goal of centering community voices, creating an equitable process, and prioritizing health for all living beings surrounding the 710. CEHAJ participates in the Metro Task Force (and various work groups) and community leaders participate in the Metro Community Leadership Committee.
You can find more information on the Metro process here.
CEHAJ continues to organize members, and the demands in Community Alternative 7 continue to be relevant and necessary for our hoods:
- No widening of the freeway – More lanes means more traffic.
- A comprehensive public transit element – Expanding public transit along the I-710 communities reduces individual car use and thereby congestion, while increasing quality of life.
- Comprehensive Pedestrian and Bicycle Element – Pedestrian and bicycle safety and connectivity needs to be prioritized over trucks.
- Mandatory Zero-Emission Corridor (ZEC) – The I-710 corridor helps move goods across the region, Zero-emission freight is a priority to ensure cleaner air.
- River Improvements – Improving the Los Angeles River supports additional access to trails and paths and connections to the communities along the I-710 Freeway.
- Community Benefits – Targeted hiring measures and training programs that benefit low-income residents along the corridor communities shall be prioritized in a multi-billion dollar project.
WHAT IS THE COST OF NOT IMPLEMENTING CA7?
Our health. The I-710 Freeway runs through 18 cities in the Los Angeles area and serves as a major goods movement corridor accommodating a high volume of truck travel. On any day, there are up to 260,000 cars and over 40,000 diesel trucks traveling on the I-710. The pollution from these vehicles adversely affects the health of the residents living along the corridor. In addition, our region is not in compliance with air quality standards for Particulate Matter 2.5, a dangerous air pollutant..
What Now? We want commitment to a 710 with no displacement, zero emissions, local jobs, and community benefits. Metro has created a structure to create a vision & priorities for people who use & live on/by the 710 freeway. The current 710 is harming our health, we need a 710 that prioritizes community health & safety. We continue to engage in the I-710 Metro Task Force, Community Leadership Committee, Zero Emissions Committee, and Equity Committee to uplift these community values.