Glendale city officials are working behind-the-scenes to get state, local and federal politicians to back a proposal to close one of the most dangerous railroad crossings in the San Fernando Road corridor and build two bridges over the Los Angeles River and the Verdugo Wash to funnel traffic to neighboring Los Angeles.
Earlier this week, representatives from the offices of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Rep. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge), State Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich attended a private meeting at Glendale City Hall in which Glendale engineers pitched their alternative — the brainchild of Councilman Ara Najarian.
"We realized we're at the point that we need buy-in from all the stakeholders," Najarian said.
Najarian's proposal is also being reviewed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which will be heading any project that impacts the Doran Street railroad crossing. Metro officials have already floated several other alternatives for closing the Doran Street crossing to residents and business owners in Los Angeles and Glendale.
Metro officials have proposed alternatives that include building overpasses from the Glendale side of the tracks to the Los Angeles side while closing the Doran Street crossing and possibly also shuttering the Broadway/Brazil crossing, according to the newest alternatives released to the public.
However, Najarian's suggestion does not include an overpass.
Instead, it features bridges that would begin at the terminus of Doran Street in the Atwater neighborhood of Los Angeles and connect to Zoo Drive to the west and Fairmont Avenue to the north, providing access to on-ramps onto the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways.
Those traveling westbound from Glendale would have to drive through another nearby crossing.
Broadway/Brazil Street is currently closed due to safety-improvement construction and drivers must use other crossings to pass through. The construction, which was originally delayed last summer, is expected to be complete by September, according to a report released Thursday by the city of Los Angeles.
The Doran Street crossing has the highest potential for disaster because of a nearby propane facility, tanker truck traffic and vehicles that regularly stop on the tracks.
Glendale residents in the Pelanconi Estates neighborhood have supported the closure of Doran Street and safety improvements throughout the San Fernando Road corridor. These changes are the first step in applying for a "quiet zone" in the area from the Federal Railroad Administration.
Train engineers must blow their horns at crossings until several safety improvements are complete and federal officials give the OK to silence the horns.
During the meeting, which Najarian dubbed a summit, several of the representatives voiced concerns about emergency access, pedestrian and bicycle safety and access issues for businesses on the Los Angeles side of the tracks, he said.
"It wasn't a thumbs up or thumbs down, go or no-go meeting. It was just an attempt to let everyone know where we are," Najarian said.
The final solution is set to be selected next spring or fall with construction scheduled to begin in summer 2016, according to Metro.
The authority that oversees the development of the planned high-speed rail, which is expected to run from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than three hours by 2029, is slated to contribute funding to the closure project, which doesn't have a price tag yet.