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Rail officials eye airport

Transportation authority is considering a station at Bob Hope.

May 22, 2010|By Zain Shauk

High-speed rail representatives are strongly considering a stop near Bob Hope Airport as the sole San Fernando Valley station for the planned 800-mile system, local officials said.

Rail representatives early this year expressed a preference for station options in Burbank along the San Fernando Road corridor, either in the city’s downtown area or near Glendale, on Alameda Avenue. But after hearing public concerns about connectivity to the airport, the authority is instead considering a stop near Bob Hope, at Hollywood Way, said David Kriske, Burbank’s principal transportation planner.

“We’re still kind of evaluating what that means for us,” Kriske said.

Authority representatives have also reacted to local concerns about station locations with a plan to choose one stop in the San Fernando Valley, rather than two, as was previously discussed, said Jano Baghdanian, Glendale’s traffic and transportation administrator.

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Representatives have indicated that they would choose a stop between sites either in San Fernando or Slymar, or in Burbank, rather than placing two stops in the valley, officials said.

The rail system, capable of shuttling passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 2 hours and 38 minutes, is planned to be completed by 2020, with as many as 10 trains per hour moving through the urban area at speeds as high as 150 mph.

Authority engineers have considered 14 station options in the San Fernando Valley so far and have continued to adjust their analysis report based on feedback from cities, residents and other stakeholders along the route, said Sara Costin, director of Consensus Inc., which is conducting community public outreach for the authority.

“All of those things go into determining where it may be best to put a station,” Costin said. “So we’re working with the local corridor cities to figure out where a station would be best to be located in the San Fernando Valley.”

Rail representatives expected to deliver a report on the local route to the authority early this year and again this month, but have delayed the presentation until July, at the earliest, Costin said.

The new options could mean that Burbank may not have a stop at all, a change that city officials may not consider a major loss because of the accompanying traffic and infrastructural impacts associated with adding another transportation hub to the area, Kriske said.

“I think its probably still mixed,” Kriske said. “I think there’s probably still some sentiment to question whether we want it at all even with the airport still being an option.”

In Glendale, the latest options would leave a planned station further from the city than initially expected, a development that may not be all bad, Baghdanian said.

Airport officials, who questioned initial plans to have a station disconnected from the airport, were supportive of the new proposal, spokesman Victor Gill said.

“It made the most sense to us,” Gill said.


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