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Drawing line at rail

Officials say high-speed train should have a stop near airport transit center.

March 17, 2010|By Christopher Cadelago

CITY HALL — Burbank officials are telling state high-speed-rail representatives that without an airport station, life for the two proposed city stops could become more difficult.

Representatives of the California High-Speed Rail Authority had planned to present two station alternatives to their board of directors as soon as May 6 in San Jose. But the Burbank City Council last week called on the representatives to consider as part of their environmental study a stop near Bob Hope Airport, arguing that a proposed $120-million regional transportation center there should not be isolated from high-speed trains.

“I think we should be as strong as possible to let them know that if they don’t include a link to the airport, that they’re going to have an enemy in us, and that we would find that unacceptable,” Councilman Dave Golonski said.

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A subcommittee of the council has scheduled a meeting this week with airport and rail officials before the board meets to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of studying a third station option, said principal city planner David Kriske.

Vice Mayor Anja Reinke contended that examples of regional transportation hubs connecting airports to trains, buses and rental cars are readily available throughout the world.

“I think we’re just trying to do what people already do, but at least do it right from the get-go instead of having five different places that 10 or 20 years down the road you [have] to reconfigure,” she said.

The planned $40-billion high-speed-rail system would span 800 miles and be capable of carrying passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 2 hours, 38 minutes. Still, officials across Burbank and Glendale have expressed concerns about a range of potential impacts on the cities.

In Burbank, the prospect of high-speed trains passing through the city as often as 10 times an hour — running at a maximum speed of 150 mph — has caused fears about noise and safety.

Dan Tempelis, senior project manager for the Los Angeles area, told the council that station operations would be tantamount to hosting a small airport.

Still, rail representatives said noise and safety impacts would be less significant than those presented by Metrolink. Traffic and parking concerns — the station would require roughly 2,000 parking spaces operated by the city — are slated to be studied as part of the draft environmental report.

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