Monday, September 7, 2009

The High Speed Rail is Coming....Right at the Los Angeles River

Can California's High Speed Rail and the Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan live in peaceful co-existence?

That was the burning question in many minds at last week's High Speed Rail (HSR) presentations to the Board of Friends of the LA River and to the Land Use Committee of the Cypress Park Neighborhood Council.

There's good news: the consulting team insists they want to be involved with the Cypress Park - LA River crowd to ensure an effective rail alignment through this Elysian Valley neighborhood.

The bad news: HSR sees this location connecting Union Station with Burbank's Rail Station as the most feasible due to land flatness and existing right of ways. That means the rail will impact the Los Angeles River right at the point where the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting its initial feasibility study for river restoration. Moreover, the HSR's route will directly impact the Rio de los Angeles State Park and soon-to-open new neighborhood high school.

Worst of all, current renderings show the HSR crossing the Los Angeles River-Arroyo Seco Confluence at grade, closing in an important water connection that many have worked years to open up to allow for both better water flow and a greenway/bikeway for members of the community.

The HSR plan is more than a pipedream. With more than $8 billion from last year's voter approved bond and an additional $9 billion coming from the federal stimulus package, this project is moving forward very quickly.

For Los Angeles River and Arroyo Seco lovers, the time for input is NOW. HSR will be holding a number of community outreach meetings, beginning later this fall. They have lots of interactive information on their website, where you can register for their mailing list:

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