MTA is due to vote on closing rail cross­ings

Out of long­time safety con­cerns, three op­tions have been pro­posed.

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Arin Mikail­ian arin.mikail­ian@la­times.com

Metropoli­tan Trans­porta­tion Author­ity of­fi­cials are ex­pected to vote Wed­nes­day on whether to close two rail­road cross­ings on the Los An­ge­les side of San Fer­nando Road to ad­dress long­time safety con­cerns, a move some nearby Glen­dale res­i­dents fear could re­sult in heavy traf­fic on their streets.

The at-grade cross­ings are at Do­ran Street and West San Fer­nando Road and, just down the road, at Broad­way and Brazil Street, where there have been five fa­tal­i­ties.

Three op­tions have been pro­posed, with costs rang­ing from $64 mil­lion to $84 mil­lion. The first op­tion would el­e­vate Do­ran Street with an overpass that would connect it to West San Fer­nando Road. Mil­ford and Com­mer­cial streets would also be widened.

The sec­ond would close both cross­ings. With the ab- sence of an ac­cess point at Do­ran, a pro­posed P-shaped con­nec­tor would link Fair­mont Av­enue and West San Fer­nando Road. Broad­way and Brazil would also be closed, and a clover-shaped con­nec­tor would join Salem and Sperry streets.

The sec­ond op­tion was the one rec­om­mended by Metro em­ploy­ees in a staff re­port is­sued last month be­cause it would pro­vide the largest safety en­hance­ment and still al­low for un­in­ter­rupted ac­cess.

But Jo­lene Tay­lor, pres­i­dent of the Pe­lan­coni Es­tates Home­own­ers Assn., said closing Do­ran would force mo­torists and com­mer­cial truck driv­ers ex­it­ing the east­bound Ven­tura (134) Free­way at San Fer­nando Road to change their route to get on West San Fer­nando by tak­ing Con­cord Street to Fair­mont Av­enue.

The P-shaped con­nec­tor on Fair­mont would al­low ac­cess to and from West San Fer­nando but also add con­ges­tion to the sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hood, Tay­lor said.

“It will reroute all that traf­fic onto a Glen­dale res­i­den­tial street.... It’s re­ally go­ing to im­pact the neigh­bor­hood,” she said. “Not just Fair­mont, but Green Street and Con­cord Street.”

Coun­cil­woman Paula Devine said ad­di­tional traf­fic is her big­gest con­cern.

“Any al­ter­na­tive that can keep all of the traf­fic away from that neigh­bor­hood is a ma­jor goal of mine,” Devine said at a re­cent coun­cil meet­ing.

At the same meet­ing, res­i­dent John Ko­ciemba sug­gested an al­ter­na­tive.

In­stead of a P-shaped con­nec­tor, Ko­ciemba said a J-shaped con­nec­tor would make it eas­ier on res­i­dents.

In­stead of let­ting driv­ers get from West San Fer­nando back onto Fair­mont, the “Jhook” would lead them to where the Fair­mont fly­over ends and the street turns into Flower Street. Adding a “no left” sign at the ter­mi­nus of the “J-hook” would pre- vent mo­torists from get­ting back onto Fair­mont.

As for Broad­way and Brazil, Tay­lor said it’s too soon to close that cross­ing be­cause of the $8 mil­lion in safety im­prove­ments im­ple­mented at the site.

Mayor Ara Na­jar­ian, who serves on Metro’s board of di­rec­tors and the Plan­ning and Pro­gram­ming Com­mit­tee that will re­view the is­sue on Wed­nes­day, said the sec­ond al­ter­na­tive is a pos­si­bil­ity, and Ko­ciemba’s plan could come up dur­ing next week’s dis­cus­sion.

“I think we’re go­ing to work within the frame­work of al­ter­na­tive two,” he said.

But that’s not his pre­ferred op­tion.

His pref­er­ence is op­tion three, which would close the Do­ran Street cross­ing and in­clude a P-shaped con­nec­tor. It would also in­clude a road con­nect­ing Do­ran Street across the Los An­ge­les River to Zoo Drive.

At last month’s coun­cil meet­ing, Coun­cil­man Var­tan Ghar­petian said this was his pre­ferred choice as well be­cause it would re­sult in the least amount of con­ges­tion in the neigh­bor­hood.

“I think al­ter­na­tive three ... has less im­pact on Glen­dale,” he said.

But af­ter speak­ing with Los An­ge­les city of­fi­cials, Na­jar­ian said the third op­tion was un­likely be­cause it would dis­rupt the L.A. River re­vi­tal­iza­tion plan.

If the com­mit­tee agrees on an op­tion, it will be for­warded to the Metro board of di­rec­tors.

Raul Roa Glen­dale News Press

VE­HI­CLES wait as a train passes at Do­ran Street and San Fer­nando Road. Some Glen­dale res­i­dents fear that closing the cross­ing could re­sult in heav­ier traf­fic.

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