By Dan Weikel, August 29, 2014
L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich recommended that a swath on
the west side of the Angeles National Forest be studied for a potential
high-speed rail route, but he did not include specific alignments.
A recent proposal to study cutting a high-speed rail corridor through
the Angeles National Forest is drawing fire from San Fernando Valley
communities near the preserve's southwest boundary.
Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich's idea vague and
ill-conceived, groups that represent thousands of residents want the
California High-Speed Rail Authority to disregard the suggestion.
opposition is primarily coming from Sunland, Sun Valley, Lake View
Terrace, Shadow Hills, La Tuna Canyon and Tujunga — areas that might be
disrupted by a forest alignment depending on where it would go. Some
residents contend the proposal is already threatening property values
and pending real estate sales.
"Antonovich has not communicated
with us or returned our calls," said attorney Bill Eick, who sits on the
board of the Shadow Hills Property Owners Assn. "Basically, he has
thrown us under the train."
Tony Bell, a spokesman for Antonovich,
called the criticism a positive development that will foster further
discussion about the route's feasibility.
"We want to make sure there aren't additional impacts in any one of
our communities," Bell said, adding that the supervisor wants to hear
from all interested parties.
Antonovich recommended that a swath
on the west side of the forest be studied for potential routes, but he
did not include specific alignments.
The rail authority has agreed
to consider — at least preliminarily — the supervisor's proposal for
the Palmdale-Burbank leg as well as two separate alignments along the
Antelope Valley Freeway that planners have studied for years.
The California 14 routes would pass through Acton, Agua Dulce, the
Sand Canyon area and Santa Clarita, all of which are in Antonovich's
district. Residents of those communities also fear that high-speed
trains would degrade the surroundings and devalue their property.
addition, there have been concerns in nearby Sylmar, Pacoima and the
city of San Fernando that the routes, which head south from Santa
Clarita to Burbank, could dissect their neighborhoods.
Antonovich contends that the forest route might be cheaper to build
and would avoid the risk of harming his constituents from Acton to Santa
in the east San Fernando Valley say that although some of their
communities are also in the supervisor's district, they have not
received the same consideration from him.
"Antonovich is only
trying to relieve pressure from his constituents in Acton, Agua Dulce
and Santa Clarita without concern for us and without adequate study,"
said David DePinto, who is also on the board of the Shadow Hills
Property Owners Assn.
group, the Foothill Trails District Neighborhood Council, which
represents the Los Angeles communities of Shadow Hills, Lake View
Terrace and La Tuna Canyon, voted earlier this month to oppose any
Caught in the middle is Los Angeles City
Councilman Felipe Fuentes, who represents areas with opposing views on
the potential bullet train routes between Palmdale and Burbank.
who says he does not prefer any particular corridor, will urge
high-speed rail officials to keep the trains in tunnels as much as
possible and to reduce the potential effects on homes, businesses,
recreation facilities and other kinds of transportation.
councilman, community organizations and others are now submitting
comments and opinions about the Palmdale-Burbank routes to the
high-speed rail authority. If there is enough support for Antonovich's
proposal, the authority could select it for more in-depth study.