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Population Spurt Predicted : Santa Clarita Area Warned of Road Logjam by 2010

October 16, 1987|MAYERENE BARKER | Times Staff Writer

Without major improvements, most thoroughfares in the Santa Clarita Valley, including the Golden State and Antelope Valley freeways, will be heavily congested during peak traffic hours by 2010, an area planner said Thursday.

Bijan Yarjani told the first meeting of a committee for the Southern California Assn. of Governments, also known as SCAG, that the area's population will increase by 200%, housing by 241% and employment by 315%.

Yarjani is SCAG project manager for the $150,000 federally funded study of growth and its effect on transportation.

The study, which will recommend long-range policies and transportation improvements for the area, is expected to be completed by September, 1988.

SCAG is organizing the committee and will lend its experience to the group, which includes county, state and local officials, homeowners and representatives of the building industry and business. Committee chairmen are Palmdale Mayor Tracy Bibb, who said he took the job because "what affects the Santa Clarita Valley affects Palmdale," and Connie Worden, co-chairman of the City of Santa Clarita Formation Committee.

To Recommend Solutions

Yarjani said the committee will study major and minor thoroughfares and recommend solutions to the area's traffic problems that will be affordable and environmentally sound.

"If the current system is kept in place with no improvements, most of the area will be congested by 2010," he said.

Car-pooling, staggering business hours and other alternatives to alleviate traffic congestion will be studied along with road improvements such as freeway widenings, Yarjani said.

When the study is completed, Yarjani said, the committee will propose a plan that will support development and freeway improvements. The study also will include ways to finance the committee's recommendations.

"At the end of the study, we're going to have a lot of knowledge and some awfully big numbers," said Gloria Casvin, representing Newhall Land & Farming Co., the Santa Clarita Valley's major housing developer, on the study group. "We should follow through on the recommendations and pursue some funding. You're totally relying on developers at the present time to make the improvements."

Bibb said government agencies cannot go to the state and ask for money without conducting a study.

The committee's first task will be to define the scope of the study. Yarjani proposed a study area bounded in general by the Golden State and Antelope Valley freeways and the communities of Castaic and Acton. However, committee members said the area should be enlarged to the Ventura County line on the west and the Los Angeles city limit on the south.

The study's scope will be up to the committee, Bibb said.

"This is the best highway thing that's happened up here," said resident Maurice Ungar, who was among about 50 people at the meeting.

Only California 126 is traveled enough to be classified as heavily congested by SCAG, Yarjani said.

His projections for 2010 included a population of 268,000, 99,600 housing units and 97,200 people working in the area.

The committee's next meeting will be Nov. 16.

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