Quarterly Santa Clarita Transportation Summit takes place

From left, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean, and Councilmember Bill Miranda participate in a Santa Clarita Valley transportation summit at City Hall on Wednesday, April 4, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal
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Transportation officials and local stakeholders met at City Hall on Wednesday afternoon to discuss legislative and budget updates on the city and county levels.

The Santa Clarita Valley Transportation Summit saw around 50 participants to talk about projects such as Interstate 5 and State Route 14, as well as the allocation of money to road updates from funding sources, such as the November 2016 passing of Measure M.

City officials also discussed local projects, upcoming plans and traffic safety in Santa Clarita.

Jerrid Mckenna, assistant to the Santa Clarita city manager, also shared statistics showing a decrease in fatal collisions in the city.

Since adding a new fleet of motor deputies, the Los Angeles County’s Sheriff’s Department recorded a decrease of 47 percent in pedestrian car crashes (where a car hits a pedestrian) from 2016 to 2017.

Mckenna also said the data shows an 11 percent decrease in car collisions and a 15 percent decrease in injuries from collisions between 2016 to 2017. There were also 40 percent fewer fatalities from car crashes.

The county also listed 22 completed road construction projects for the Santa Clarita valley in the fiscal year 2017 to 2018. Los Angeles County performed pavement preservation maintenance on roads such as Placerita Canyon Road, Hemingway Avenue, Southern Oaks Drive, and Lincoln Avenue between September 2017 and January 2018. The project costs totaled over $58 million.

City Engineer Mike Hennawy updated the room on Santa Clarita’s two large transportation projects.

The Dockweiler/Lyons Extension has a finalized Environmental Impact Report, one of the first steps in bringing the project to fruition. The report is awaiting approval by the City Council, which could take place Tuesday. If approved, the extension would connect Dockweiler Drive to Arch Street and to the existing 13th Street at-grade rail crossing known as Railroad Avenue. The project would total $20 million if approved.

The other project is the The Via Princessa Extension, Hennawy said. The extension is construction of a new roadway segment between Golden Valley Road and the existing roadway terminus near Sheldon Avenue. The project site is currently undeveloped rural land but upon completion would be 1.2 miles in length and a Major Arterial Highway through Santa Clarita.

The Via Princessa project would cost the city $40 million, Hennawy said. Its Environmental Impact Report was approved by the city in 2015. The next step is completion of the project design, which Hennawy said will be completed in 2019.

The transportation meeting came a day after the Board of Supervisors signed an agreement to formalize the North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition (NCTC) and have the county formally represent unincorporated areas. Supervisor Kathryn Barger will be the county representative. The cities of Palmdale, Santa Clarita and Lancaster are the other voting member agencies of the NCTC.

Barger, who hosted the summit, said at City Hall that the county was looking for an executive director to “help ensure we all have opportunities for grants.” The county plans to use $100,000 to finance the contract and first-year administrative costs for the position.

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