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Fate of Via Princessa Metrolink station up in the air

Posted: July 4, 2016 4:08 p.m.
Updated: July 4, 2016 4:08 p.m.
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The fate of the Via Princessa Metrolink station is up in the air as the conversation shifts toward the new Metrolink station to be built as part of the Vista Canyon Multi-Modal Center.

The City of Santa Clarita, Metrolink and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) have to consider a number of factors to determine whether both stations should be operational. The train stations would be about a mile apart, driving.

The Via Princessa Metrolink station was built in just a few days in response to the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which left the community largely isolated by road, said Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar.

“It was a product of an emergency circumstance,” he said, adding it was built to help the community get in and out of the valley.

Kellar said he expects the new station at Vista Canyon to be more efficient and provide better services to its users.

Although it was meant only to be temporary, the Via Princessa location has now been serving the Santa Clarita Valley for more than 20 years.

Since the Vista Canyon project is intended to be a mixed-use transit-oriented development, it made sense to relocate the station where there would potentially be more riders, said James Chow, a senior planner with the city. Tenants of new residential and commercial buildings may want to utilize the station.

“There was an opportunity as part of an overall planning process to establish a train station in a better location,” Chow said.

The new Metrolink station would eventually work in conjunction with the bus transfer station being built as part of the Vista Canyon development, too.

Councilwoman Marsha McLean said she hopes convenience of those who have been using the Via Princessa site will be take into consideration for the final decision.

“The Via Princessa station has quite a number of people relying on that station,” she said.

Although the city can make a request to keep the current station open, it does not have the authority to say one way or the other if it will remain operational.

Proximity is not the main factor, since some cities do have stations close to each other.

Funding is the key aspect, said Metrolink spokesman Scott Johnson. Funding for maintenance and renovations is required to keep a station operating.

“It’s not a matter of someone saying you can keep it or not,” he said. “We’re still discussing whether (the Vista Canyon station) will replace it or complement it.”

Kellar said he sees other ways the Via Princessa station can be utilized.

“I look upon it for additional amenities for the community,” he said, suggesting the possibility of a park or community center.

The conversation is just getting started though. The city council approved the Vista Canyon Metrolink station as a component of the Vista Canyon project in May 2011, but just awarded conceptual design contract in May.

Railpros, an engineering and management firm based in Irvine, will design the majority of the station for approximately $964,415.

The city council awarded Southern California Regional Rail Authority $752,000 for its share of work in May.

Southern California Regional Rail Authority is required by law to design the train signal, signal houses, communication lines and Positive Train Control system. Because the project is within the Southern California Regional Rail Authority’s right-of-way, it will also coordinate plan checks and permits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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