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UPDATE: Concerns aired at Town Hall

Traffic concerns from Santa Clarita residents at Canyon Country meeting

Posted: March 6, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: March 6, 2013 1:03 p.m.

Attendees listen as Ruthann Levinson, standing, of Canyon Country asks a question about a car pool lane near Placerita Canyon of Mayor Bob Kellar at the Mayor's town hall meeting held at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School in Canyon Country.

 

On Tuesday, Santa Clarita city staffers propped an orange “Road Work Ahead” sign against a wall in the multi-purpose room at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School.

This proved to be a sign of things to come, as traffic developments and improvements were the dominant topics at Tuesday night’s town hall meeting hosted by city Mayor Bob Kellar in Canyon Country.

The second town hall had a format similar to the first meeting held in Newhall on Feb. 6, featuring opening remarks from Kellar, City Manager Ken Striplin and Captain Paul Becker of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station before opening the floor up to questions from the audience.

The crowd of around 70 delivered, asking questions for a solid hour on a variety of topics ranging from potential new traffic lanes to beautification efforts for Canyon Country shopping plazas and roads.

Some of the major projects going on in Canyon Country include the widening of the Golden Valley and Lost Canyon bridges, as well as the bridge on Sierra Highway over the Santa Clara River, according to city officials.

Other efforts include building or renovating medians on Golden Valley Road, Centre Pointe Parkway and Sierra Highway, as well as the installation of a monument sign on Soledad Canyon Road near State Route 14 to welcome people into the city.

Striplin said the city’s ongoing efforts in Canyon Country represent $15 million of the city’s $65 million capital improvements budget this year.

In addition to talking about what is being added to Canyon Country, Kellar discussed what the city is hoping to reduce, such as the toxicity levels of the site of the former Whittaker-Bermite munitions plant near the Saugus Speedway, and what the city hopes to keep out of the area, namely the proposed Cemex open-pit mine in Soledad Canyon.

As for the latter, Kellar said he thinks 2013 will be a “telling” year for the city’s efforts to stop the mine.

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I believe we’re going to be successful in our efforts,” Kellar said. “I hope we’re going to be successful.”

Another issue Kellar raised was the proposed California high-speed rail project, which is set to go through Sand Canyon and could potentially force the demolition of homes and have a negative noise impact on schools and businesses in the area.

“Nobody can do this in sound mind,” Kellar said as members of the audience nodded in agreement. “This is nuts.”

Town hall attendee Allan Cameron asked Kellar about the state fines the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District could face due to the level of chloride in its water system.

In one of several digs at officials in Sacramento, Kellar said he thought the state was being unreasonable.

“We’ve been trying to kill them with logic, with common sense and with science,” Kellar said of state officials. “But I’ll tell you again, I don’t know what they smoke up there.”

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