Caltrans kicks off the first of four “scoping” meetings Monday to gather public and agency input that will eventually shape the environmental scope of plans to seek funding for much-needed improvements to the 222-mile Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo (LOSSAN North) rail corridor. The meeting will be held at Metro from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 10. Meeting details: Public Notice
The rail line, also known as the Pacific Surfliner Rail Corridor, traverses some of California’s most scenic and environmentally-sensitive areas, according to the strategic plan for the corridor, which also notes increased rail traffic — and the impacts thereof — is expected to double over the next 20 years. The heavily-traveled southern portion to San Diego already makes the entire 331-mile corridor the second busiest intercity rail corridor in the nation. More than 2.7 million Amtrak passengers share the corridor with some five million commuter passengers.
The real stakeholders in this planning process are the riders, we would say, clearly defined by the increased demand for travel in the area from commuters, students, vacationers and commerce.
Here are some of the issues on the table:
- How to best improve rail capacity for all types of rail service, including intercity, commuter, and freight/goods movement: The northern LOSSAN corridor is less developed than the southern portion. Freight rail capacity and reliability is severely impacted by sharing single-track segments within the corridor with passenger rail operations.
- How to best provide faster, safer, and more reliable passenger service: The long stretches of single-track and relatively short sidings require passenger trains to wait for longer freight trains to clear a section before continuing.
- How to make the rail corridor a preferred transportation alternative to the increased traffic congestion and longer automobile commutes on Highway 101, which generally parallels the rail line.
Four scoping meetings will be held, one in each county served by the corridor. You can also send comments, questions by Feb. 15 to Matt Fowler at email@example.com.