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Residents speak out against Via Princessa plan

Posted: September 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 7, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

Residents from a community near the planned Via Princessa extension voiced their concerns about safety and traffic to city officials Thursday night.

About 35 residents filled the Century Room at City Hall. Most of them had concerns about Isabella Parkway rather than the planned extension.

“The extension was the catalyst for this because we knew that (the city) needs to re-mitigate and mediate the traffic on Isabella,” said John Cassidy, a 65-year-old resident of Canyon Country.

Cassidy and other residents who live on Isabella Parkway said they have already voiced their opinions about the matter to city officials in the past, but haven’t seen any progress on improvement.

Speeding was the biggest concern residents had, saying there are too many accidents occurring in front of one of the community parks and pools.

“All we’re asking for is a stop sign at Gratland Drive and some speed bumps at the park,” Cassidy said. “That’s all we’re asking for. Slow down the traffic or make them go away.”

James Kurz, who lives on Isabella Parkway, agreed with Cassidy and noted the danger.

“It’s just a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured or killed on that street,” he said to officials.

The draft environmental impact report for an extension of Via Princessa in Canyon Country offers two possible routes to connect Rainbow Glen Drive with Golden Valley Road.

The route labeled “preferred” would connect Via Princessa to Golden Valley Road north of Golden Valley High School. It’s considered preferred because it follows the city’s general plan, Santa Clarita officials said.

The alternative route would connect Via Princessa to Robert C. Lee Parkway, which could then be used to reach Golden Valley Road.

The Via Princessa expansion has been discussed for some 15 years, officials said. Eventually, the proposed road is designed to connect with Via Princessa in the Circle J Ranch area, but that extension cannot be completed until the Whittaker-Bermite brownfield is cleaned up.

The alternative route plan was drawn up to follow existing Los Angeles Department of Water and Power transmission lines and avoid unnecessary environmental effects, said Santa Clarita Associate Planner James Chow.

City officials said they would look into helping the residents on Isabella Parkway, even before the proposed construction of the extension occurred.

“If there’s an issue now, then we will deal with it now,” said Ian Pari, senior traffic engineer for the city.

Residents said they are worried about the new extension increasing traffic in their area, but Pari said that “this project isn’t going to make the current situation worse.”

Many disagreed with Pari, mumbling to one another after he made his statement.

Breeanna Towles, 31, of Canyon Country, said the extension is nothing but a headache.

“It’s a huge road that they’re proposing,” she said. “It’s the size of Soledad (Canyon Road), it’s the size of the 14 freeway, and it will literally be 30 feet from my backyard.”

Towles has lived in Canyon Country for 30 years, but has only been at her Isabella Parkway home for six. She moved to that area to get away from the city ambience and to enjoy a more slow-paced life, but sees the proposed project as a way of ruining all that.

“I bought a view looking at a mountain and only a mountain looking back at me,” she said. “You can’t tell me that you’re going to be funneling big rigs through.”

Officials will hold another meeting on Sept. 27, allowing residents once again to voice their opinions and concerns on the proposed extension.

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