In response to residents' complaints, an oil consortium has agreed to consider alternative routes for the Northeast Los Angeles and Glendale sections of a proposed 130-mile pipeline, a project spokesman said this week.
One alternative would avoid running the pipeline under Los Feliz Boulevard, with its residential neighborhoods. A second would bypass Griffith Park.
Homeowners in Atwater, Highland Park, Los Feliz and Elysian Valley have been lobbying elected officials and circulating petitions against construction of the $225-million Angeles Pipeline to carry crude oil from the Santa Barbara coast to southern Los Angeles County.
Fears About Pipeline
The 30-inch pipeline, designed to carry 330,000 barrels of oil a day, would be buried three to four feet deep for most of its length in urban areas.
Residents said they fear that the pipeline would create environmental hazards, increase air pollution and slow traffic during construction. They voiced special concern about the main proposed route, which would skirt the northern San Fernando Valley before heading south into Griffith Park, along Los Feliz Boulevard and down Western Avenue to refineries in the southern part of Los Angeles County.
Two alternative routes proposed last year have also become controversial. One would traverse the San Fernando Valley, crossing the Santa Monica Mountains along Sepulveda Boulevard. The second would travel east from Griffith Park along Riverside Drive, Fletcher Drive, San Fernando Road, and Cypress Ave, then run through Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles.
Those routes will remain secondary options, but, because of homeowner opposition, the consortium is also studying two modifications to the main route, said Ken Steele, a CalTrans spokesman who is working closely with the consortium and neighborhood groups.
One modification would bypass Los Feliz Boulevard but cut southeast through Griffith Park and along Riverside Drive, Steele said. It would then turn southwest on Hyperion Avenue, which becomes Fountain Avenue, proceed south on Myra Avenue, turn west onto Santa Monica Boulevard and south onto Vermont Avenue or Virgil Avenue. It would then head west on Melrose and turn south onto Western Avenue.
A second proposed modification would avoid the park by following the industrial area southeast along San Fernando Road in Glendale, turning west under Los Feliz and then south under Western.
The consortium plans to display the modified routes at a public presentation in Burbank later this month, Steele said. CalTrans has been designated to oversee preparation of state environmental reports for the pipeline. The U.S. Forest Service is supervising preparation of reports for the federal government.
The Angeles Pipeline was proposed last July by the Southern California Pipeline System, a joint venture of Atlantic Richfield Co., Chevron Corp., Shell Oil Co. and Texaco Inc.
"Of course, everybody's going to want it in someone else's street," Steele said.
Maris Andersons, president of the Los Feliz Improvement Assn., said his group will continue to oppose the pipeline and its proposed alternative routes as long as it is routed through heavily populated areas.
"We're talking about human beings," Andersons said, accusing the consortium of "taking a very cavalier attitude. To put something like this through a residential neighborhood seems senseless."
A consortium spokesman said the oil companies hope to complete environmental reports, obtain required local, state and federal permits and begin building late next year.
Construction of the pipeline at any point in an urban area will inconvenience residents and businesses for five to 10 days at any point along the route as crews dig trenches, lay pipe and repave streets, said T. W. Shettler, environmental and permit manager for the consortium.
Grass-roots activists say they are more concerned, however, that the proposed route lies along earthquake fault lines, which may increase the risk of fires or explosions.
"We have to feel assured the thing won't blow up," said Alita Hanger, vice president of the Silver Lake Residents' Assn. An aide to Los Angeles City Councilman Michael Woo, who shares her concern, said Woo opposes running the pipeline through a residential area.
Richard Adams, president of the Elysian Valley Property Owners, Renters and Businessmen's Assn., said he believes the consortium has tried to "railroad the pipeline" without adequately publicizing the routes. He cited low turnouts at recent public hearings to support his assertion.
30 Officials, 8 Residents
One such meeting, held to get homeowners' reaction, was attended by about 30 government officials but only eight residents, he said. Adams said the public is interested but does not turn out for such hearings because few people know about them.