Residents call again for crossing closure

GLENDALE — Residents on Wednesday continued to push for the closure of the at-grade railroad crossing at Doran Street and San Fernando Road, a move Los Angeles business owners and officials argued would hurt business and cause its own set of safety and traffic concerns.

Metrolink and Glendale officials renewed longstanding calls for closing the crossing near the Los Angeles-Glendale border last year after an 86-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed by a train in November.

"We are not alone in our concerns," Jolene Taylor, the incoming president of the Pelanconi Estates Homeowner Assn, said Wednesday. "For the safety of everyone, please close this crossing."

Taylor and other residents cited studies by state engineers, who found the Doran crossing is made hazardous by a constricted intersection, the high speed and frequency of passenger and freight trains and the proximity of a propane and industrial gas storage facility.

Taylor was one of more than 50 people who on Wednesday packed a public hearing at Glendale City Hall hosted by the California Public Utilities Commission, which will decide on the proposed closure.

Two previous hearings were held in June, but state officials scheduled the third after residents complained they had been unaware of the meeting and were left out of the process.

But representatives for businesses located in the Los Angeles portion of the San Fernando corridor argued the move would significantly restrict access for customers.

"It's really going to hurt a lot of businesses," said John Gasparian, of Glendale Metals & Recycling.

Los Angeles public safety officials also opposed the closure, saying it would hurt the ability to evacuate the area or bring in emergency responders.

"In the event of an emergency, it would make it very difficult for both police and fire to respond," said Los Angeles Police Officer David Lindsay.

He added that a Doran closure would likely create additional traffic hazards at the nearby crossing at Broadway and Brazil Street.

State officials have said they recommend the Doran closure be contingent upon a widening of the Broadway-Brazil Street crossing and other safety improvements.

Administrative Law Judge Linda Rochester, who oversaw the three hearings, said the public input would be taken into account during the commission's proceedings.

The Public Utilities Commission is not expected to issue a final decision until early next year.

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