In this undated file photo, a Metrolink commuter train heads for Via Princessa station. Dan Watson/The Signal

McLean joins regional leaders at mobility workshop

Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean gathered with other elected officials from around the region for the annual San Fernando Valley Council of Governments Mobility Workshop to lay out transportation priorities for cities like Santa Clarita.

The “Moving Forward Together” event, which took place on Thursday in Burbank, asked leaders like McLean, who is a board member of the council and a longtime avid supporter of public transit, to provide their input to advance the SFVCOG goals in improving regional mobility.

“It was a pleasure representing Santa Clarita,” said McLean. “We met with (city officials) from various areas of the region like the North County, Glendale and Burbank, so that we could talk about how we can best achieve connectivity.”

Transportation priorities outlined at the workshop included increased Metrolink service on the 76.6-mile long Antelope Valley Line as part of a study of the line. Metro is working on finalizing the draft version before presenting findings to its own board in July.

To increase service, the study outlines six scenarios stakeholders will have to select from, including one additional late-evening train; two additional off-peak, round trips to provide hourly mid-day service; and improved peak service and semi-hourly, off-peak service.   

Attendees also discussed enhancing bicycle connectivity, closing the first- and last-mile gaps in regional transit routes and ways to transport residents from Metrolink stations to local job centers.

“We want to make it easy and efficient for the community to utilize public transportation for their daily commute or weekend adventures,” McLean said. “The city of Santa Clarita offers miles of protected bike trails and the Pace Bike Share program. This allows our residents and visitors to cycle from the Metrolink Station to their destination.”

Bicycle connectivity has been a heavy focus in Santa Clarita and the Pace Bike Share program, which launched in mid-December, is among the city’s efforts in enhancing the bicycle access, McLean said. There are more than 2,000 active members and an estimated 2,500 bike trips since the program’s implementation, according to Evan Thomason, economic development associate with the city. Additional bike racks are also being considered

The city also recently released a survey to help provide staff with feedback on how to improve the local bus system, McLean added.

“We’re 60 to 70 years behind the times when it comes to providing transportation,” she said, referring to state legislation on infrastructure. “I believe people can get (out of) their cars if they had alternate means of transportation, and that’s what we’re going to continue working on. Providing infrastructure improvement dollars for the state’s existing rail projects could give commuters the relief needed from our gridlocked roads and freeways. ”

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