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RAIL PLAN STUDY GETS BOARD OK; BERNSON PROPOSES CANOGA AVENUE LINE.

Byline: David Bloom Daily News Staff Writer

The MTA will explore whether a commuter rail line should be built along Canoga Avenue from Chatsworth to Warner Center under a proposal by Los Angeles Councilman Hal Bernson.

The motion to order the study by the MTA and the agency that runs Metrolink commuter trains was approved Thursday by MTA board members.

``I want them to look at what can be done in a reasonable time frame for a reasonable cost,'' Bernson said.

MTA staff also will explore whether the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, which already runs Metrolink commuter trains through the San Fernando Valley, should run a light-rail service along Burbank and Chandler boulevards as far east as Glendale.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board also told staff to consider creating a San Fernando Valley transportation zone or other tactics to improve bus service.

The MTA already owns rail rights of way along Canoga Avenue between the Chatsworth Metrolink station and Victory Boulevard, Bernson said. With some relatively inexpensive additional right of way purchases, the agency could extend the line as far south as Burbank Boulevard or Oxnard Street in Warner Center.

Such a line - which could be used by Metrolink trains - could be put together within a year, and for relatively little cost, said Bernson, who is also on the Southern California Regional Rail Authority board.

``It's easy enough to establish it,'' Bernson said. ``They already have the right of way. All you do is build a couple of stations and fix up the track.''

The Metrolink line would only operate during peak hours in the morning and evening, between Warner Center and Ventura County, Bernson said, but would provide commuters with a connection they otherwise don't have to one of Southern California's biggest job centers.

``No harm is done looking at that line,'' said Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who represents much of the Valley. ``I don't have any problem looking at that. But it's not the first priority.''

The first priority, Yaroslavsky said, is getting some sort of mass transit system built along Burbank and Chandler boulevards.

Bernson said light rail or even self-powered trolleys or other alternative rail systems could work well there.

Yaroslavsky and Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich had their own motion to improve Valley bus service approved as well. Though it does not explicitly call for it, the motion will start a study of the transportation zone concept, Yaroslavsky said.

Some Valley leaders have been pushing for such a zone, saying it is a way to capture and control transit sales taxes generated here.

The zone would be modeled somewhat after Foothill Transit, which serves the eastern and central San Gabriel Valley. It receives about $25 million from the MTA, which its own board allocates for bus services.

Foothill has kept fares well below the MTA's, while cutting costs 42 percent and increasing the amount of bus service by 91 percent.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 24, 1997
Words:487
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