City representatives participated in this morning's meeting of the California High Speed Rail Authority in downtown Los Angeles, expressing concerns about the potential adverse effects the high speed system could have on our community.
Mayor Marsha McLean, who has made a name for herself as a transportation advocate, addressed the group on behalf of the City Council:
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“Santa Clarita is one of the communities located along the Palmdale to Los Angeles segment of the proposed California high-speed rail corridor. The City Council appreciated the opportunity to receive a presentation from the Authority’s consultants last September; informing us about the proposed alignment and potential impacts to the residents of Santa Clarita.
"The Authority’s staff and consultants have accurately captured the Council's concerns in their background documents that you received as part of your Board packet for today’s meeting. The City Council is concerned that our community is significantly impacted by the proposed high-speed rail line and yet, none of the negative impacts are alleviated in the form of providing benefits to the residents of Santa Clarita.
"The rail line comes at grade through neighborhoods located in the eastern areas of Santa Clarita and the visual blight of the rail line and fencing for a dedicated right-of-way will only add to the noise and vibration of the trains, which will be felt by our residents.
"Additionally, the proposed alignment will cross City-owned property; purchased using local taxpayer dollars and dedicated as open space, in conformance with the wishes of our community’s residents. The proposed high-speed rail line is in direct opposition to open space preservation land use choices made by the voters of Santa Clarita.
"The tracks will also cut in two a significant wildlife corridor and connection of the northern and southern sections of the Angeles National Forest, which the City, for several years, has been seeking to achieve through strong partnerships with other public agencies, environmental groups and community organizations.
"Finally, the City Council is concerned about the lack of intermodal connectivity to the high-speed rail system for Santa Clarita Valley residents. The City of Santa Clarita and surrounding unincorporated areas within our geographically self-contained valley currently have a population of 250,000 people with that population expected to double at full build-out of our community.
"As such, there will be a significant need to provide Santa Clarita Valley residents with enhanced and efficient intermodal connectivity to potential high-speed rail stations in the San Fernando Valley and Palmdale.
"From Santa Clarita’s perspective, we are being told to accept degrading impacts to our neighborhoods and our region without any tangible benefits or mitigation measures to address our residents’ concerns.
"We appreciate that your staff has committed to continue working with us to identify potential solutions and mitigation measures to address our concerns and hope that the board will reiterate that commitment today. We look forward to meaningful dialogue in the coming months to address the concerns of our community.”
This story may be updated later today with comments from other meeting participants.