Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon has taken up the cause of a group of Panorama City parents who want the city or the school district to provide buses for children who must walk through the rough Blythe Street neighborhood to get to school.
The councilman met with parents and officials from the Los Angeles Unified School District, the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Department of Transportation Monday night at Panorama City union hall.
As many as 400 children walk to Valerio Street Elementary and Fulton Junior High schools on a dangerous route that requires them to cross the Metrolink train tracks at the end of Kester Street, south of Blythe.
The parents of about 100 others pay as much as $15 per week for rides in vans operated by private contractors.
“This is a case of kids living on the other side of the tracks who are not getting their share of services,” Alarcon said.
Alarcon asked LAUSD officials to determine by the end of the week whether funds could be available for school bus service on Blythe Street through a program that provides transportation for students who are bused because of overcrowding.
The district currently does not provide bus rides for Valerio and Fulton students because they live less than 1.2 miles away from the schools. The cost of such service, school officials said, would be about $200,000 to $300,000.
Alarcon said he will also join with LAUSD school board member Julie Kornstein to ask the MTA to build an overpass over the train tracks.
The transportation agency has already built a 600-foot chain-link fence along the tracks to discourage crossings, but it has been cut open.
In the meantime, Alarcon asked city transportation officials to operate a Metrolink shuttle route through Blythe Street, where children could catch the bus to school. However, Armen D. Hvanessian, supervising transportation planner, said that the shuttle only carries 40 passengers. A shuttle had traveled that route, he said, but it was canceled after only a few days earlier this month for lack of ridership.