A major transportation study that began this week could help communities northeast of Los Angeles win mass transit funds that have been lost to the San Fernando Valley because of homeowner opposition, Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre said.
The 18-month study of an area northeast of downtown Los Angeles will be conducted by the Southern California Assn. of Governments as part of a regional transportation plan used to distribute federal transit funds in the metropolitan area.
Alatorre, chairman of a committee overseeing the study, said Monday he expects the study will show a need in the area for better public transportation, including light rail, freeway improvements and possibly a Metro Rail line.
The Northeast area is competing with the Valley and communities north of Los Angeles International Airport for the next light-rail line, expected to be opened in 1994. Several routes are under consideration for a light-rail line connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena.
Until last week, the Valley was considered to have the edge. However, because of growing homeowner opposition to a rail line, the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission abruptly halted a $1.6-million study to select a Valley route.
"Maybe as a result . . . we will be the beneficiary in this particular area," Alatorre said. "I think this area is more receptive to a better transportation system."
The $500,000 study, funded by the Urban Mass Transit Administration, will cover East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, western Pasadena, South Pasadena, Alhambra and Monterey Park.
Portions of nine state and interstate freeways converge in the area, "creating some of the most significant and heavily congested regional freeway interchanges," a fact sheet prepared by SCAG said.
The Foothill, Long Beach and Pasadena freeways end in the area, dumping heavy traffic onto neighborhood streets, it said. Traffic on the Pasadena Freeway, the oldest in Southern California, also is hampered by design deficiencies, it said.
In population, the area is one of "transit dependency" because of its high percentage of elderly and low-income families, Alatorre said.
Because of its location between downtown Los Angeles and San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the area will grow increasingly important as a commuter corridor, the fact sheet said.