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Rail quiet zone plan put on hold in Glendale

Construction project on crossing is delayed because of funding glitch.

July 16, 2013|By Brittany Levine, brittany.levine@latimes.com
  • A Metrolink train crosses Grandview Avenue in Glendale on Thurday, September 20, 2012. The city is set to begin construction on the Grandview Avenue and Sonoroa Avenue crossings in November.
A Metrolink train crosses Grandview Avenue in Glendale… (Roger Wilson / Staff…)

Glendale's plan to apply for a "quiet zone" for trains passing through the San Fernando Corridor faces yet another delay.

Officials this week confirmed that a major safety improvement project for the Broadway/Brazil Street crossing has been delayed while the city of Los Angeles waits for the approval of $900,000 in federal funding to complete the portion of the project that falls within its border.

It's the latest in a series of delays that could push completion of the project — a vital part of creating a rail corridor safe enough to relax rules requiring trains to sound their horns where tracks cross streets — back to spring 2014. For residents who've been pushing for the designation, it was unwelcome news.

"I am very disappointed to have L.A. create such a disconnect between entities when we should be working together for the safety and benefit of the community," said Jolene Taylor, president of the nearby Pelanconi Estates Homeowners Assn., which for years has been lobbying for the quiet zone.

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Before the city can apply for a quiet zone designation from the Federal Railroad Administration, several crossings have to undergo safety enhancements. Work has already been completed at some crossings and future improvements are in the pipeline.

But even after the work is done, a quiet zone isn't guaranteed.

Glendale has long been dealing with issues blocking safety enhancements to the Doran Street crossing, considered the most potentially dangerous in the San Fernando Corridor. Citing its proximity to a propane storage facility on the Los Angeles side of the tracks, Glendale wanted to close the crossing altogether. But Los Angeles fought to keep it open because it is an access point for emergency vehicles.

The two sides have since put a plan in place to build a grade-separated crossing as one option to improve safety and to maintain access for vehicle traffic. Since the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in April secured $40 million to construct either an underpass or overpass, Broadway/Brazil has become the new trouble spot.

Metrolink has been leading construction work on the crossing but work stopped about two weeks ago, said Public Affairs Director Jeff Lustgarten. Although most of the work under the jurisdiction of Metrolink and Glendale has been completed, improvements on the Los Angeles side have been delayed.

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