A project to widen the 5 and 605 freeways means that approximately 200 homes in North Downey could be demolished if a Metro project goes ahead.
Homes on a street that runs parallel to the 605 Freeway will be demolished to add more traffic lanes to the freeway, according to residents.
The Metro agency calls it the I-605 Corridor Improvement Project.
A map shows the 16 miles of the 605 Freeway that go through various cities that would be modified, from the 105 Freeway in the south to the 10 Freeway in the north.
In one area of Downey, there are hundreds of homes that would have to be demolished.
“Several years ago we received a letter saying that all the first houses here were going to be demolished,” said Simón Cantero who would be affected by the expansion project.
Our sister station Telemundo 52 spoke with two neighbors in the area who are not opposed to the expansion.
Nancy Web said that if the project is approved it would bring the highway closer to her home, and she does not want to be closer than it already is, and that is why she is willing to sell her property.
Her friend Rashelle Peatros said she doesn’t know if it’s really necessary, but if they do, she and her husband want their house bought and they will move.
For others, the possibility of having to leave what has been their home for a lifetime is more difficult.
On the corner of Brookpark and Eglise is Cantero’s home, which has a monetary value, but for him it is much more the sentimental value.
“Mainly because this house, when my wife was alive, we bought it, and she has already died and that is what also saddens me,” Cantero said.
Some point out that studies have been done showing that highway widening does not help with traffic congestion.
“This Metro project is a waste of time and money. Metro says that people who go by the 605 are going to save time and that they are going to see more traffic, but other projects that have expanded the highways, we know that are not working” said Jairo Quemen, a resident of Pico Rivera.
Metro said on its internet portal that the project is currently in the phase of impact on the environment and possible alternatives, and that they range from doing nothing, to adding carpool lanes and auxiliary lanes, but those who oppose say that they are already in the fight.
“We can’t wait until next year to start the fight,” Quemen said.
Meetings with residents are yet to be held, the results of the environmental studies to be made known, and even possibly an alternative to be selected. Any decision would not be made until the fall of 2021.
Telemundo 52 received a response from Metro through a statement.
“We listen and understand the concerns. Metro has not made decisions about this project which is in its initial stages, and no decisions have been made about the acquisition of the properties.”