City holds off on Dockweiler extension plans

Santa Clarita City Hall
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A plan to extend Dockweiler Drive hit a setback at the City Council meeting Tuesday night after about 90 minutes of public feedback.

Santa Clarita City Council made the decision to hold off on all three options regarding an extension of the Newhall street, instead choosing to reopen a public discussion on the topic at a hearing during their April 10 meeting.

The original project proposed connecting Dockweiler Drive to Lyons Avenue; however, the EIR also offered several alternatives to the project, including connecting to 13th Street, and another through Market Street. The 13th Street route was recommended by city staff as the plan with the least environmental impact.

Residents spoke out with concerns on the project, ranging from a call for an option other than the staff recommendation, such as the Market Street connection, to calling for its cancellation.

“We reject the extension — nobody who has stood there thinks this is a good idea; please reject the proposal,” said Newhall resident Trisha Fasa toward the end of the public comment period.

Councilman Bob Kellar and Bill Miranda both expressed surprise that a handful of written comments also were in opposition to the plan, along with the speakers.

“You bring up a lot of great points, when this many people come up and all say the same thing,” Kellar said from the dais, speaking to the audience, “this is very troubling to me.”

The city’s report mentioned three routes: one could connect Dockweiler Drive to 13th Street; another option is the Market Street connection; however, that route would impact a number of significant structures, such as the Veterans Historical Plaza, according to city of Santa Clarita officials. The third option connected Lyons Avenue to Dockweiler Drive with a new crossing at the railroad tracks. This would have allowed eastbound through traffic to go from Lyons to Highway 14 freeway, and also create another way into residential area of Dockweiler.

The proposed road at 13th Street would be almost .67-miles long and designated as a four-lane secondary highway per the city’s Joint Highway Plan. The project would also upgrade the railroad crossing on 13th Street with required street improvements.

Councilmembers ultimately voted 4-0 to move the hearing, with Mayor Laurene Weste recusing herself as a property owner with a potential conflict of interest. The rest of the council mentioned plans to use the time before the next hearing to get more information on the project.

If the City Council approves the EIR and one of the routes in April, the next step will be to submit an application to the California Public Utilities Commision for expected improvements to the 13th Street rail crossing.

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