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Survey: Rail not wanted

Acton, Agua Dulce says bullet train too close to schools

Posted: July 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 3, 2012 1:55 a.m.

In a recent community survey about a proposed high-speed train that would pass through the eastern Santa Clarita Valley, hundreds of Acton and Agua Dulce residents said they disapproved of the project.

More than 90 percent said they don’t want the train to pass through their area.

The proposed bullet train between Los Angeles and the Bay Area would pass close to Acton schools and homes on its leg between Sylmar and Palmdale.

Earlier, residents who live in the Sand Canyon area protested the proposed train for the same reason.

The California High Speed Rail Authority board approved the study of three routes through Acton in May.

Proposed routes

In the first route, called the SR-14 East option, the train would be about 600 feet from the proposed site of Vasquez High School, within 750 feet of High Desert School, and would affect 6,800 linear feet of streams and creeks and the corners of Palmdale Lake and Lake Una, according to information from the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The SR-14 West option would be about a half mile from the proposed high school and High Desert School, impact 2,800 linear feet of streams and creeks but does not affect the lakes and is the fastest and cheapest route, according to the rail authority.

This route would have a greater impact on future development in Palmdale because it would not follow the Metro right-of-way and would require a new train station away from the Palmdale Transportation Center.

A third option, called the SR E/W Hybrid, would avoid impacts to Vasquez and High Desert schools and would follow the Metro right-of-way to the existing Palmdale Transportation Center, according to the rail authority. The route would have a tunnel about seven miles long, which would reduce speed, and would impact 5,400 linear feet of streams and creeks and the corners of Lake Palmdale and Lake Una.

Survey results

In a survey conducted by the Acton and Agua Dulce town councils between May 12 through June 3, 85 percent of the 576 residents who responded said they did not support high-speed rail on a statewide level.

“The Agua Dulce and the Acton town councils wanted to have an accurate assessment of what the homeowners are feeling,” said Don Henry, president of the Agua Dulce Town Council.

Based on the three routes proposed by the rail authority, 94 percent do not support a high-speed rail system from Sylmar to Palmdale through Acton and Agua Dulce, according to the survey results.

“None of (the routes) are great,” Henry said, adding that keeping the tunnel underground would probably be the best option. “If they put the whole thing underground, then you would just feel the vibrations underneath you.”

The train would have impacts on property, schools and noise when it comes out of the tunnels, Henry said.

“That’s why we’re trying to get it to come to a screeching halt,” Henry said.

When asked if they would support the concept of an improved express Metrolink train as an alternative to high-speed rail, 43 percent said they would support it and 24 percent said they wanted more information.

Improvement plans

The survey results were sent to Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich in late June, according to the attached letter. The town councils asked that Antonovich take up a position against the high-speed train and provide more information on the train.

Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell said Monday he hadn’t seen the survey, but Antonovich was in support of a blended approach that would increase Metrolink speeds to 100 mph, as well as adding connections to light rail and airports throughout Los Angeles County and Southern California. That is his preferred plan over the bullet train proposal, Bell said.



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