What’s happening under the Edison Lines?

(last updated July 14, 2007)

Immediately Adjacent Edison Land

Edison has owned the parcels immediately west of our area since at least 1932.  Until the 1940s, there was a vineyard covering them as well as the parcels west to the wash and (north of Del Vina) east to Sierra Madre Villa.  During the late 1940s and early 50s, a dairy located where Sunnyslope park (the hilly one) is now used the land for grazing.  Homeowners who were here during that time remember green fields, cows, and flies.  About 1955, Orange Grove Blvd was cut through and the dairy was gone.

From the late 1950s until November 2004, a plant nursery occupied the space under the adjacent Edison wires to our west.  This provided us with a nice buffer, quiet and dark at night, greenery and not usually a lot of activity in the day.  The nursery had also helped keep the Avocado roadside outside their fence cleaned up and in more recent years had kept large boxed trees there providing visual relief to the chain link fence.

The nursery’s lease was terminated to make way for building the revised Viña Vieja park plan.  The original plan was long and skinny, entirely between the wires and the wash.  The revised plan broadened and shortened the park,  including space under the wires to leave the originally planned space to the south available for the proposed ice rink.  However, we are now stuck with a weed patch south of the park under the wires.

During the latter stages of planning for the park, it was discovered that the eastern rank of high-tension lines droop too low to the ground from north of Las Lunas to south of Del Vina and therefore public access could not be allowed to the area under them.  This is why the white fence built on the south end of the park under the wires jogs north and then east again, and why the pedestrian path from our neighborhood is so oddly located.  (Just ignore the fact that nothing actually blocks you from walking from the path and going under those wires.)  Edison has been requested to determine what it would take to raise those “too low” wires.

Because the land under the wires is in part off-limits, and the rest would be difficult to access for any just about any usage, we are faced with the prospect of a permanent poorly maintained weed patch next to us.  City planners originally were thinking about using some of it for parking for the ice rink, but currently there is no plan to do so.  While a parking lot would not be particularly desirable, at least it would have to have some landscaping and the city would be responsible for upkeep.  It might also have taken some responsibility for the Avocado roadside.  Edison mows the weeds two or three times a year to keep the fire danger down, but otherwise takes no improvement responsibility.

We have asked that the city at least improve the “parkway” between the street and the Edison land.  At least a curb and gutter to direct the water flowing off of it, and landscaping.  While there is some sympathy, the cost is considered to be too high.  At one point, there was agreement by the City Council to at least consider landscaping in conjunction with the ice rink development, but that estimated $65,000 item fell by the wayside.  Landscaping on the eastern edge of the ice rink project will shield ice rink patrons from the full weed view just as the white fence shields park users.  There is also some potential for improvement related to the pedestrian path to the park, which will have to be relocated when the ice rink is built.  But no plans have been made public.  Trying to maintain our neighborhood quiet is a double-edged sword since if the street and the weeds were more broadly visible the city would be more likely to put some priority on improvement.

We have discussed doing some landscaping ourselves.  On their own initiative, some nearby homeowners have put some plants next to the fence hoping to grow some screening.  The big problem is lack of water.  And of course, anything done without city approval is subject to being demolished.

In a Pasadena Star News article on June 29, 2007 regarding negotiations that allowed Perssons Nursery to stay past the previous June 30 deadline, there was mention that part of a potential deal with the developer holding rights from Edison includes “augmenting Viña Vieja Park”.  There is no further description of what that means, but it could mean extending it under the wires along Avocado Ave if the high tension wires were raised.

Potential Development, including Self-Storage

In 2006, plans were submitted to the city by a developer to place self-storage under the Edison lines to the north and south of our immediately adjacent segment.  After a public uproar, those plans were retracted.  They are now working on revising them.
A fuller explanation of those controversial plans and response to them can be found here:
Potential Development, including Self-Storage

High-Tension Lines

Southern California Edison is proposing an upgrade of the capacity of the high-tension wires that go past us. The lines adjacent to us are in “segment” 11 of the tentative proposal, with a scheduled completion date of 2013.  It would involve adding another 220 KV circuit to the existing 220 KV circuit on the existing western rank of towers.  Each such circuit consists of 3 vertically separated lines.  If you look at the western row of towers, you will see that there are lines on the west side of the towers, but not on the east side.  The new circuit would be on the east side.

The eastern rank of towers already has two 220 KV circuits on it.  The polarity of one of those circuits would be changed so that the total electromagnetic radiation after the changes may on average actually be less then it is now.

Pasadena Water & Power owns the Goodrich power substation located between the lines and Eaton Wash just north of Foothill Blvd.  All power that Pasadena receives from elsewhere or generates and sells to the grid comes through this substation.  Pasadena is not expecting to gain any new capacity from the new circuit and the new lines are expected to simply pass by the Goodrich substation.

Edison is having a number of “open houses” in the second quarter of 2007 to take comments and questions.  There was one in Pasadena on April 16.  Attendance was light.  Invitations were sent to property owners within 300 feet of the lines and there was an article in the Star News several weeks before.

Edison is filing the necessary permit applications in the summer of 2007.

Edison has a web site dedicated to the full project, including maps and more detailed descriptions: