PART 1 – POSTED 11/11/17 – “The Hard Truths” About High Speed Trains in the NE San Fernando Valley – The Basics

I’m choosing to brand this series “THE HARD TRUTHS” about high speed trains. Please, please, please encourage your friends and family to read every “Part” of this series over the next few weeks. That’s because the high speed train Authority and some of our elected officials have not been transparent or truthful to you. As we observed from victims of the high speed train project in Central California who have already lost their homes to eminent domain, we’ll just refer to SAFE’s opponents as “the bad guys.” We will shine a light on this boondoggle and its sometimes secretive supporters right here in the NE San Fernando Valley. Already, high speed train advocates and some elected officials and their supporters have starting slinging mud and attacking the SAFE Coalition which is comprised of the most experienced and knowledgeable VOLUNTEER community leaders from the entire NE San Fernando Valley – Sunland-Tujunga, La Tuna Canyon, Shadow Hills, Lake View Terrace, Kagel Canyon, Sylmar, Pacoima and Sun Valley. One of the first choices or challenges you will face as you read this series is whether to believe YOUR SAFE Coalition or believe the high speed train Authority and others threatened by SAFE’s success – those same high speed train Authority representatives and supporters who allowed this threat to become real in the first place. We think it’s an easy and obvious choice. SAFE Coalition works for you, SAFE Coalition fights for you, SAFE Coalition is YOU!

Please refer to the SAFE Coalition website – www.dontrailroad.us – for pictures, maps and other important information. (most will be linked throughout this series on the website version)

This is the start of a multi-part telling of the history of the high speed train threat in the NE San Fernando Valley, the SAFE Coalition’s efforts to remove the threat, challenges we face in accomplishing our objective, and what stakeholders can do to help eliminate the threat. December 2nd marks the three-year anniversary of the above ground routes being introduced.

The “HARD TRUTH” is that we learned of the routes by attending a weeknight meeting on December 2, 2014 in Santa Clarita. Not one of our local, NE San Fernando valley elected officials, most of whom had been briefed by CHSRA prior to the unveiling of the plans, briefed community leaders or other residents prior to that fateful night in Santa Clarita. Don’t forget, dozens, if not more, of residents received permit to enter letters from CHSRA that were mailed on Christmas eve in December 2014.

What are the Objectives of the SAFE Coalition?

  • Obtain immediate and permanent removal of all above ground high speed train routes through the NE San Fernando Valley from environmental studies and any other form of consideration.
  • Create an impregnable “United Front” of residents, businesses, community leaders and elected officials to all above ground routes threatening communities in the NE San Fernando Valley.
  • Have every “member” of the United Front be accountable and both state their position clearly to the CHSRA board of directors, Governor, Legislature, and all local government officials AND TAKE TRANSPARENT AND FORCEFUL ACTION that leaves no wiggle room or opportunity for high speed trains to ever threaten our communities.
  • Develop and promote new, non-above ground high speed train alternatives, such as enhancements to Metrolink operations, as transportation improvements and alternatives in the NE San Fernando Valley. What is the High Speed Train Threat? Here are the basics:
  • 220 mph trains every 5 minutes from about 6 a.m. until 11 p.m.
  • E2 Route: Dual, 80-foot tunnel openings on each side of the Big T Wash: two tunnel openings near the intersection of Wheatland and Foothill Blvd. in Lake View Terrace; two tunnel openings near the intersection of Wheatland and Wentworth in Shadow Hills; four tunnel openings in the sides of the existing Vulcan Landfill in Sun Valley, located near the intersection of Peoria and Glenoaks, about 700 feet from Stonehurst Elementary School, and an approximate one mile long above ground bridge/viaduct over Foothill Blvd., over 210 freeway, over the Big T Wash and over Wentworth.
  • E1 Route: Above ground trains and track starting from dual tunnel openings in Pacoima through Sun Valley along San Fernando Road.
  • 5-10 Year Construction Phase with large, 125-acre staging area at Vulcan Landfill located in Sun Valley near intersection of Glenoaks and Peoria Street.
  • The “HARD TRUTH” is the high speed trains will permanently damage and change the character of our Big Tujunga Wash, San Fernando road and surrounding corridors due to road closures, truck traffic, dust, noise, visual blight and threats to our local water supply (Haines Creek is a tributary to the LA River). Your lifetime investment in your home, property and business has already been devalued and remains at risk.
  • Approximate Environmental Study Schedule: started in August 2014; presently ongoing; will take at least 5 more years.
  • Start of Operations – proposed for 2029.

The “HARD TRUTH” is that our communities have been held hostage for three years already by this threat and we may be held hostage another 5+ years for environmental studies, 5-10 years for construction and another decade before construction would be completed. This is very similar to the communities held hostage by the 710 Freeway extension project.