Train Wreck in Valley’s Future?

by David DeMullé

It’s been two months since the L.A. County Board of Supervisors sent a letter of opposition to the proposed California High Speed Rail (HSR) E-2 train route through Lake View Terrace and surrounding areas. But nothing has stopped the train.

At Wednesday’s protest, held outside the Lake View Terrace Branch Library, the HSR community group brought more than 100 residents with signs such as “Don’t Railroad Us” and “Don’t destroy my horse arenas.” In a surprise move, LAUSD Board Member Monica Ratliff announced that she will introduce a motion on Sept. 20 to block the bullet train’s proposed route across the Big Tujunga Canyon wash. This writer cannot remember when if ever, the school district has taken a stand on any construction project. It is expected that the seven-member board will vote on the motion sometime in October.

Ratliff, a teacher who lives in Sunland and is running for the CD-7 Council Seat vacated by resigning member Felipe Fuentes, stated, “I have been watching this and it will make an impact on the community in the form of dust, noise and an impact in the school enrollment. I look forward to joining you as a school board member to fight this fight.”

The HSR routes, which were proposed more than two years ago, has stirred up community groups across Los Angeles County. The groups argue that the 62 billion dollar routes run roughshod over their communities, their homes and their businesses. One such meeting, held at the All Nations Church, drew a crowd in excess of 4,000 people. To date, however, there has been no agreement on how the bullet train route should run.

Members of a Save Angeles Forest for Everyone (SAFE) coalition and the neighborhood council have demanded that the Big Tujunga rail route be removed from a lengthy environmental study, but the high-speed rail officials say the project will continue.

Adeline Yee, a spokeswoman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority, reiterated that there will the three Burbank-to-Palmdale rail routes that are now undergoing a state and federal environmental review. A draft of this report is expected this spring and the final study by the end of 2017.

Critics say both mountain routes would destroy wetlands, disrupt water supplies, kill horse-related businesses and ruin an equestrian way of life in the foothill communities of Lake View Terrace, Kagel Canyon, Shadow Hills and Sunland-Tujunga.

Dave DePinto, president of the Shadow Hills Property Owners Association and a member of the SAFE coalition which formed to fight the HSR stated “There’s just one word to describe a viaduct over the Big Tujunga Wash … and to hold our community hostage: unethical.”

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