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HIGH SPEED TRAIN THREATENS COMMUNITIES, STATE PARKS

NEWSLETTER FALL 2004

High Speed TrainThe City Project has submitted public comments on behalf of a diverse alliance opposing high speed trains through state parks throughout California, including Taylor Yard and the Cornfield along the Los Angeles River, and surrounding communities. Our concerns extend to potential impacts on each of the state parks, and on environmental justice.

Many public leaders see the revitalization of the Los Angeles River corridor as a key to the economic and environmental enhancement of Los Angeles, and a thread that could provide Los Angeles with a greater sense of community. Central to the River’s revitalization is the Cornfield, a site from which the history of Los Angeles flows, and Taylor Yard, which stretches for two miles along the River’s banks.

Taylor Yard is adjacent to one of last remaining remnants of soft-bottomed, water flows in the predominately concrete Los Angeles River. Over 300 species of birds find this section of river an essential stopover along the Pacific Flyway. Migrating birds stop for food and rest, and some birds are found year-round, nesting and breeding. About half of the total recorded birds in Los Angeles County have even been spotted along the soft-bottomed portions of the river.

A high speed train will hurt the Cornfield and Taylor Yard and surrounding communities. The DEIS/R does not analyze those impacts. It must.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation shares our concerns, and explicitly draws on The City Project’s work in their own public comments. “The California Department of Parks and Recreation recognizes that the Greater Los Angeles Region is an area that is under-served in regard to park facilities and that many of the area’s residents, particularly those least able to afford it, are either unaware of, or feel isolated from, state and federal parklands and recreational facilities. This Department on behalf of the people of the State of California has invested $78,000,000 in the purchase of the Taylor Yard/Cornfield properties in this decade specifically to address these disparities. This effort will be undone unless alternative routing or a fully subterranean system is chosen to bypass all impacts to these properties.”

The DEIS/R fails to provide the public with a clear and full disclosure of the impacts of high speed rail on environmental quality, environmental justice, active recreation, and human health. The City Project will continue to monitor high speed rail development to safeguard diverse communities and state parks. The City Project’s comments (1.1 MB [PDF]) are posted on our website and at www.hsrlandimpacts.org.