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Hearing to focus on Doran crossing

Pelanconi residents say they were left out of previous meeting on railroad crossing.

August 24, 2010|By Melanie Hicken, melanie.hicken@latimes.com

CITY HALL — State regulators will host another public hearing next month on the proposed closure of the at-grade railroad crossing at Doran Street after residents complained they had been left out of the process.

Metrolink and Glendale officials renewed longstanding calls last year for closing the crossing near the Los Angeles-Glendale border after an 86-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed by a train in November.

State engineers have agreed that the Doran crossing is made hazardous by a constricted intersection, the high speed and frequency of passenger and freight trains and the proximity of a propane and industrial gas facility.

But during two public hearings at Glendale City Hall in June, representatives from businesses in the nearby Los Angeles portion of the San Fernando corridor made up the majority of speakers as they spoke out against the proposed closure, which they said would hurt their ability to do business.

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In the weeks following, residents from the Pelanconi Estates neighborhood near the crossing said they had been unaware of the hearings and expressed concern they had been left out of the process.

This week, the California Public Utilities Commission announced a third hearing would take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 29 in Room 105 of the Municipal Services Building.

Susan Carothers, a spokeswoman for the agency, encouraged any residents who missed the last hearings to attend.

"They are really important because we listen and record all comments, and the comments from the public can help us reach an informed decision," she said.

Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian, who has pushed for the Doran Street rail crossing closure, said he was glad to hear residents would be given another chance to speak out.

"It is a very important crossing for the community," he said. "We feel it is very dangerous, and it is leading to unnecessary risks."

Still, Patrick Masihi, president of the Pelanconi Estates Homeowners Assn., questioned why residents had not received a written notice about the new meeting either.

"This is news to us," he said. "The CPUC should have a better way of communicating their meetings with the public."

The commission is not expected to issue a final decision on the issue until early next year.

For more information on the hearing or proposed closure, contact the commission's Public Advisor Office at (866) 849-8390 or public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov.

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