High Speed Rail One Year Anniversary – Alternative E2 Must Be Eliminated NOW!

Wentworth and Wheatland - showing Tujunga Wash (Creek) with overlay of HSR E2 route. There are also streams and creeks besides Tujunga Wash that occur in the "at surface" part of the track route. (click for larger image)

Wentworth and Wheatland – showing Tujunga Wash (Creek) with overlay of HSR E2 route. There are also streams and creeks besides Tujunga Wash that occur in the “at surface” part of the track route. (click for larger image)


SAFE rendering showing portals and canaries for High Speed Rail.

S.A.F.E. rendering showing portal openings and electrical catenaries for High Speed Rail. (click for larger image)

Rendering from CHSRA showing electric wiring (catanaries)

Rendering from CHSRA showing electric wiring (catenaries) (click for larger image)

We recently passed the one year anniversary of the “yellow banana” study area which was introduced last August, which led to the horrendous “East Corridor” alternatives E1, E2 and E3 which were announced in December 2014. As noted at many community meetings and in many community publications, our Foothill communities, united under the S.A.F.E. Coalition umbrella, have made progress including increased awareness throughout our communities, unity with surrounding communities impacted by high speed rail (communities along the SR14 route, with people and environments just like ours, have faced this threat for more than 6 years), removal of above ground structures from alternatives E1 and E3, relocation of alternatives E1 and E3 significantly further away from residential areas, political support for removal of above ground routes, and promises of “upfront” studies of water, tunneling and seismicity.

One of the streams running through Tujunga Wash where the E2 would  run at surface. (click for larger image)

One of the streams running through the Tujunga Wash where the E2 would run at surface. (click for larger image)

The immediate and most pressing problems are CHSRA is not moving quickly enough to remove Alternative E2 from further consideration or to communicate with us on the promised “upfront” studies which relate to water, tunneling and seismicity. As shown in the image above, proposed alternative E2 features grotesque tunnel openings bored/dug into the hillsides of both Shadow Hills and Lake View Terrace, as well as above ground train tracks, trestles, bridges and train wiring (i.e. catenaries – see image) through the heart of the beautiful Big Tujunga Wash.

We face being sucked into and held hostage by a multi-year environmental review process much like we’ve witnessed on the neighboring 710 Freeway extension project unless we remain strong, united and pro-active. We vowed in our earliest days to get these most destructive routes (and our people and communities) out of the long, draining EIR/environmental review process.  Now is the time for strategic, united and focused action.

It’s clear that E2, which is the sole remaining Foothills route with above ground features while also tunneling through the Forest, is the worst alternative facing ALL of the Foothills communities. The current E2 proposal would cause immense physical and psychological damage to our region and result in 5-6 above ground, high speed trains PER HOUR EVERY DAY destroying the quietude and character of our Foothills communities for EVERYONE (not just Lake View Terrace and Shadow Hills), as well as seriously threatening and damaging ALL WATERS and sensitive environmental resources within the Big Tujunga Wash (Haines Creek, Big Tujunga Creek, Tujunga Mitigation Ponds, etc.).

It is critical that we all keep in mind that the environmental review period will span 3-5 years and the construction period will span yet another 5-7 years. If we don’t unite to remove E2 now, we will be hostage during all of this time, depressing our spirit, community character, property values and more. We need your active involvement in this effort – letters, phone calls, financial contributions, attendance at meetings, displaying a lawn sign and more. When we ask for help or involvement, we need you to be there and fast!

Can you imagine this massive elevated track through the Tujunga Wash?  This rendering was done for the Bakersfield Project Section by CHSRA.

Can you imagine this massive elevated track through the Tujunga Wash? This rendering was done for the Bakersfield Project Section by CHSRA.

To achieve united political support throughout the San Fernando Valley for that action, the S.A.F.E. Coalition is working with ALL San Fernando Valley communities to oppose all above ground routes through densely populated and sensitive environmental areas, and that would include the SR14 alternative which passes through Santa Clarita, Sylmar, San Fernando, Pacoima and Sun Valley on its way to an ill-conceived, but not approved station in Burbank. Opposing above ground routes and structures in densely populated and sensitive environmental areas is the right thing to do!

Some in the Foothills area are puzzled by or reluctant to pursue the above strategy due to their passionate support of the Forest and Monument, believing this E2 removal strategy implies support for either of the fully tunneled routes, E1 or E3. Nothing could be further from the truth. Simply put, the immediate discussion and opportunity is about what is studied in the multi-year EIR/environmental studies, and NOT about a long-term position on a preferred route. We are certain that political support is growing to remove above ground routes; we are equally certain that political support is practically non-existent to remove tunneled routes from further study. We will lead the fight for the Forest, but let’s get E2 removed first. Today’s fight is to remove above ground E2 permanently so ALL of the Foothill communities are spared the threat of the above ground routes.

The S.A.F.E. Coalition believes it is important for those in this region who have been spared the above ground threats of the old E1 and E3 routes, which were successfully changed due to the efforts of the S.A.F.E. Coalition, to stick together and be part of the fight for immediate removal of E2 which helps ALL of our Foothills communities and, of course, Shadow Hills and Lake View Terrace, where the proposed alternatives are most damaging.

While we are at it, and to avoid certain litigation against CHSRA down the road, we must demand that CHSRA revisit the many dozens of routes they have studied previously and/or removed prematurely from further consideration. We also call upon CHSRA to research new routes for their SAA Report and EIR/environmental studies, and include at least one non-Burbank alternative in their environmental studies.

Please use this website to find detailed contact information for local elected officials such as Councilmember Fuentes (felipe.fuentes@lacity.org), Assemblywoman Lopez (assemblymember.lopez@assembly.ca.gov), Supervisor Antonovich (kbarger@lacbos.org), Senator Hertzberg (senator.hertzberg@senate.ca.gov) and Senator Liu (senator.liu@sen.ca.gov) and CHSRA to communicate your requests. Please take a few minutes and write, email and call them today with the message that you want E2 removed NOW

Please follow this issue, order a lawn sign, register to vote, vote, be prepared to support informational and  protest events (being planned) and respond quickly when we ask for your involvement and assistance. Thank you.