STATEMENT FROM SAFE COALITION RE: PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE
SEPTEMBER 19, 2018
With the announcement by the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) of SR14 as the Preferred
Alternative, reducing the threat posed to people along the E1 and E2 routes, some people in the NE San
Fernando Valley and north LA County are exuberant that the threat has lessened, some remain
devastated and face a worsening threat, and some are relieved to have information while still feeling
threatened either for themselves, their friends, their neighbors, their animals and wildlife, or their
environment and open space.
This imperfect announcement matches its imperfect timing, its imperfect result, its imperfect intent, and
its imperfect agency. Rather than clearing the decks by abandoning all three flawed alternatives and
heading back to the drawing board as we’ve strongly recommended, CHSRA believes they’ve chosen the
alternative that is the “best candidate” or “strikes the best balance.” That’s their cold, detached
perspective or, as they say, “the science” behind their decision. Their statement could have gone much
further to state that they actually heard our voices, understood our fears, considered our losses, and took
action to work with us or to protect us. Fact is, we’ve not heard from them since early 2016, and their
silence speaks volumes.
Our perspective is that CHSRA settled, in some respects, on the lesser of several poorly planned evils, and
that it should be a crime that anyone remains threatened by a project so poorly conceived, poorly
managed, over-budget and politicized that it likely will never materialize.
We have always and will continue to fight the good fight; we could never sell out or compromise as we
are the long-time, invested stakeholders and must fight to protect our communities. We extend our
concern, love and ongoing support to all who remain most directly in the cross hairs of this project along
SR14, within the Burbank to Palmdale Project Section, and beyond, wherever they reside and work.
The most important outcome of this announcement is this: our communities are working together and
realize we must remain strong at the grassroots level. Effective leadership from most of our elected
officials never materialized over four brutal years. We thank those elected officials that did communicate
with us and those that did help us. But, this process served as a window into the souls of many of our
elected officials…at least those that have one.
The City of Los Angeles, in particular, from the mayor’s office, to the City Council leadership, to the council
representatives in the most impacted communities were given every chance to support us, to fight for us
and to represent us. They failed us and, by their delay, petty politics and lack of communication, fought
against us. A draft Motion (File16-1068) calling for the City’s opposition to all of the routes has languished
in the Council for so long, since October 2016, that it actually expires on Friday of this week. While we’ve
tried exhaustively to have that Motion resurrected and amended to reflect the will of the City’s residents,
it remains in limbo and, unless action is taken in the next 48 hours, will serve as a memorial to the failed
We, the northeast San Fernando Valley and north LA County, are stronger for this process. Stronger for
fighting. Stronger for pursuing the truth and the facts. Stronger for working together. Stronger for our
patience and our fairness in dealing honorably with CHSRA and our elected officials. As stated earlier, we
fought and will continue to fight the good fight.
- They have major financial and management issues, so the threat will remain whatever decision they make. While it appears they will fill overall, it will take a lot more time and stress on our Valley before that occurs.
- They failed to present a suitable alternative to our communities in over four years despite thousands and thousands of community voices speaking out.
- Their choice could change for financial, environmental or technical reasons at any time in the next few decades.The non-Preferred Alternative is NOT removed or eliminated; it remains under study and remains a threat.
- The project will devastate whichever communities are closest to the preferred alternative. That means neighbors are going to be hurt one way or the other.
- The NE San Fernando Valley, overall, will a major net loser during both construction and operations phases – we will experience little to no benefits economically, transportation-wise or environmentally. We will have more noise, dirtier air, visual blight, security risks, traffic congestion, risk to wildlife, risk to equestrian and trail pursuits, eminent domain of hundreds of homes and businesses, and much more
- Any choice they make leaves our Angeles National Forest exposed to tunneling and other major construction and operational impacts. The only routes left damage the Forest greatly. There is no fully tunneled alternative and there is no non-Forest alternative.
- The choices they have left are very, very expensive, environmentally risky and damaging, and will take decades to implement, so the threat does not go away.
- Your tax dollars will continue to be spent at a rate of nearly $3 million per day in support of this boondoggle.
Palmdale to Burbank Project Section
Sun Valley Area – Maps from CHSRA –
Detail tunnel construction showing routes that are fully bored, cut-and-cover, & above ground/at surface.
The first two images were prepared from maps dated February 23, 2017 obtained from CHSRA through a public records request and annotated by SAFE for clarity. The third and fourth images help give context and dimensions regarding the cut-and-cover process: Third image shows both E2’s path and depth profile; Fourth image illustrates the different footprints for various construction methods. Click images to enlarge. See links below to see more route “profile” information. The fifth & sixth images provide detail information of where the 3 routes are most specifically to the Valley.
The last two images represent documents that are testament to how infeasible tunneling through the Angeles National Forest truly is.
Profile and Depth Maps Issued from CHSRA, August, 2016
Fly-over Videos Issued September 16, 2016
These are the Profile and Depth Maps and also the Fly-over videos for the three proposed routes of the California High Speed Train. Click to see all of the current and past information on CHSRA website for Palmdale to Burbank.
Palmdale to Burbank Project Section CWG Presentation – Summer 2016
Click on the video to start, to enlarge, you can then click on the YouTube Logo or the four-corner square to go full screen
Tony Cardenas’ Letter
to CHSRA Chairman Dan
Richard dated 1-12-18
click on image to enlarge
Letter from CD7 Councilmember Monica Rodriguez to CHSRA
On November 11, 2017, Councilmember Monica Rodriguez sent this letter to Dan Richards, Chairman of the CHSRA requesting an alternative alignment for the Palmdale to Burbank route. The financial resource savings would go to improving the Metrolink (Antelope Valley Line), avoiding the high cost problems of tunneling through the San Gabriel National Monument, thereby preserving the open spaces, homes and ranches of the San Fernando Valley.
Letter from LA County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger to CHSRA
As Supervisor Kathryn Barger states in her letter to Mr. Richards submitted November 14, 2017, “I join with my colleague Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez in my concern regarding the current proposed routes.” Both of these elected officials are encouraging CHSRA to include an alternate alignment from Palmdale to Burbank that precludes the need to go through the Angeles National Forest, because “These communities and the Angeles National Forest are vital resources within Los Angeles County and must be protected.”
Support Letter from Legislators Bocanegra, Portantino and Hertzberg for elimination of E2
California Assemblymember Bocanegra and Senators Portantino and Hertzberg recommend that CHSRA’s proposed E2 route be eliminated from consideration as…”The impact of this above and below ground route on our respective communities is not acceptable to any of us.”
Also, please read about the Bill introduced by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra which just passed in the CA Assembly regarding the revitalization of the Pacoima and Tujunga Washes. (Click to Read the Bill)
More problems for HSR in So. Calif: LA supervisors blast state’s high-speed rail Palmdale to Burbank
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose a version of the Palmdale-to-Burbank high-speed rail segment proposed to run through the Big Tujunga Wash in the Angeles National Forest.
Supervisor Michael Antonovich recommended that the board send a letter opposing the plan — one of three alternatives set for environmental review — to county lobbyists and the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board.
The letter will also state that the board opposes any segment that would cross the Big Tujunga Wash at or above grade, and that the remaining two alternatives also pose threats to homes and wildlife areas, and press for an update on long-awaited hydrological and technical studies.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE
LA City Council Motion in Support of Removal of E-2 Route
Proposed by CD2 Councilmember Paul Kerkorian and Seconded by LA City Council President Herb Wesson (CD10 and temporary manager for CD7), and Mitch O’Farrell (CD13).
“I FURTHER MOVE that the Council express opposition to the Refined E-2 Alignment for the California High Speed Rail Authority’s Palmdale-to-Burbank project segment and any other alignments that would cross any natural segments of the Los Angeles River and its tributaries, including the Big Tujunga Wash, at or above grade within the City of Los Angeles.”
LA Times & LA Daily News Coverage of This Motion
Revised Supplemental Alternatives Analysis (SAA) Reports Released April, 2016
The following Supplemental Alternative Analysis Reports have been released by CHSRA that affect our area:
Major High Speed Rail Route Changes in Palmdale to Burbank Project Section
Taking the newly released CHSRA refined route map (March 2016) and overlaying it onto a Street Map (CLICK TO VIEW), you will better be able to see streets in more detail, not perfectly accurate, but you can magnify it more. However, please be aware that just because a route shows pink/purple and says underground, that does NOT mean it is necessarily a fully bored tunnel (this was confirmed with a CHSRA representative.) It could also mean it is cut-and-cover, eventually that part will be all underground, but they need to come in from above and that means eminent domain to those affected properties. Note the part along San Fernando Rd: that “underground section” will no doubt will be cut-and-cover.
DETAILED CHSRA ROUTE MAP USING STREET MAP
We have taken the official CHSRA map and overlaid it onto a street map so you can see a bit better where the routes go. It is not perfectly accurate due to offsets between the two maps, but close enough to see within a block where the proposed routes go.
We Still Need Everyone’s Help!
We are still taking donations for our educational-instructional fund and our legal fund. If you don’t have the time to volunteer, please consider making a monetary donation to this important fight. (Click Here to Donate!)
S.A.F.E. (Save Angeles Forest for Everyone)
Lake View Terrace NC
Kagel Canyon Civic Association
Shadow Hills Property Owners Association
The High Speed Tunnel Portal Facilities that are required through the San Gabriel National Monument and the Angeles National Forest!
For an eye opening understanding of the infrastructure necessary to support the tunnel through the forest, please read: TECHNICAL MEMORANDUM – High-Speed Train Tunnel Portal Facilities TM 2.4.6.
Keep in mind, one acre is approximately the size of a football field without the end zones! There is above ground impact to the forest other than just the tunneling!
OUR POSITION ON PALMDALE TO BURBANK PROJECT SECTION EAST CORRIDOR ALTERNATIVES
It is very apparent that HSR has the “cart ahead of the horse” at this juncture in this region…pun intended…from both an engineering/design and communications standpoint, and is struggling to develop the right strategy to build and communicate within densely populated communities. It was shocking to us that HSR, with its vast array of financial, engineering, technical and political/communications resources, could propose the flawed Corridors E1 and E2.
For starters, each of the East Corridor alternatives violates the premise and spirit of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Angeles National Forest, and we challenge whether the routes legally adhere to the definition of “existing transportation and utility corridors” as required by the enabling legislation and Proposition 1A, as approved narrowly by California voters. The East Corridor alternatives tunnel directly under the heart of the residential, equestrian communities of Shadow Hills, La Tuna Canyon, Lake View Terrace, Kagel Canyon, Sun Valley and Burbank. These alternatives create damage of varying degrees to nearby Sunland/Tujunga, Pacoima and San Fernando, affecting equestrians and recreation enthusiasts from throughout LA County who use the Northeast San Fernando Valley for their equestrian and varied recreation pursuits.
The overall reputation, quality of life and historic equestrian culture of our Foothill communities would be decimated by the construction of multiple, gaping tunnel openings and an elevated rail line over our flood plain, equestrian trail network and recreation/open space areas. In addition, the local equestrian-related economy (which exceeds $100 million in value annually, not including equestrian real estate nor indirect economic benefits) consisting of horse sales, boarding, feeding, shoeing/trim, trucks, trailers, veterinarians and insurance would be devastated.
CONGRESSMAN SCHIFF REAFFIRMS AND DETAILS HIS OPPOSITION TO HIGH SPEED RAIL THROUGH ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST
Schiff decries proposal for high-speed rail tunnel below Angeles National Forest
Congressman calls route underneath Angeles National Forest ‘implausible.’
From the Glendale News-Press By Arin Mikailian January 15, 2015 | 6:26 p.m.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) is speaking out against the proposed idea of having high-speed rail tracks run through underground tunnels beneath the Angeles National Forest to connect Palmdale and Burbank and calls the alternative a costly dead-end.
California’s High-Speed Rail Authority plans to study having a section of the rail pass through the southwestern part of the forest…READ ENTIRE STORY
This economic loss does not include the permanent property value and other non-equestrian-related sales tax loss that the State and local government agencies would lose due to HSR’s use of eminent domain and devaluation of “survivor” properties.
We have projected the severe damage created by HSR’s East Corridor proposal, however preliminary or conceptual HSR intended, in its construction and operational phases. This comprehensive analysis, similar to but far less costly than an EIR/EIS, should lead you to eliminate the East Corridor alternatives immediately from further consideration.
We also believe HSR has a fiduciary responsibility to the State and its taxpayers to operate efficiently per the legislation. Already, the introduction and study of far-fetched and flawed alternatives such as E1 and E2 represents a waste of time and taxpayer monies. Including these infeasible alternatives in the EIR/EIS will compound the wastefulness as well as raise serious legal issues related to NEPA and CEQA.
We have organized our analysis so that the most heavily impacted communities/open space areas are discussed:
· Shadow Hills/La Tuna Canyon/Sun Valley
· Lake View Terrace
· Kagel Canyon
· Big Tujunga Wash/Hansen Dam Recreation Area
· San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Angeles National Forest
CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROPOSALS WILL DESTROY OUR FOOTHILL COMMUNITIES!
• Bullet Train Tunnels and Lines Dug/Located Under, Over and Through Our Communities
• Eminent Domain – Your House Could be Taken from You at a Financial Loss
• Property Values and Your Home’s Equity (Your Life’s Savings!) Devastated
• 60+ Foot Wide Tunnel Openings, Speeding Train and Elevated Bridge Visible/Audible for Miles
• Horses, Wildlife and Public Safety Seriously Endangered
• Serious Health Issues Due to Dust, Truck Emissions, Noise and Vibration
• Equestrian and Recreation Trails Closed and Destroyed; Equestrian Industry and Lifestyle Decimated
• Constant Noise and Visual Blight for Hundreds of Thousands of Residents and Motorists Daily
• Water Pollution Created; Water Supply Threatened
• 1 Million Plus Truck Trips to Remove Tunnel Dirt Damages Roads, Pollutes Air, Closes Roads, Jams Traffic
• National Monument, National Forest, Rim of the Valley and Wildlife Corridors Violated
• False, Misleading Claims by HSR re: Costs, Jobs, Economic Benefits & Ridership Projections
“Legislation requires high speed rail to be built in existing transportation and utility corridors.”
“Our elected officials should move away from the presumption that high speed rail will happen at any cost and move more toward demanding it be done right and cost-effectively…or not done at all.”