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Council OKs $2.5 Million for Transit Center

May 16, 1991|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In three separate actions Tuesday, the Glendale City Council tackled a major challenge--transportation management.

It authorized spending $2.5 million to acquire land for expansion of a transportation center, allocated another $150,000 for a light-rail study and introduced an ordinance to create a new commission to pull it all together.

A seven-member Transportation and Parking Commission is expected to be officially formed next Tuesday when the council will simultaneously vote to abolish two advisory boards--the citywide Parking Commission and the Montrose Parking Board.

The new commission is expected to play a wide-ranging role in dealing with comprehensive transportation issues, including proposed commuter rail, light rail, trolley and bus service, as well as parking regulations.

Unlike the current advisory boards, the new commission would have the authority to adopt and enforce regulations dealing with transportation and parking, except in the downtown redevelopment zone.

The proposal drew strong opposition for the second consecutive week from some Montrose businessmen who complained that the new commission may not be responsive to the needs of their quaint shopping district. One opponent, attorney Tom Jeffers, threatened to sue the city. He presented petitions with more than 100 signatures charging that council members have been indifferent to the needs of the community.

Several council members chided opponents for what they said is open hostility and insults. "I'm personally very shocked, disturbed and hurt," Councilman Larry Zarian said.

Robert Torres, president of the Montrose Chamber of Commerce, said the anger exhibited at the meeting reflects the frustration of merchants over their inability to resolve local problems, particularly the need for more parking facilities.

"There are factions that exist in Montrose and that's a problem," Torres said. "We're like sharks feeding on raw meat in the water." He said he personally endorses the creation of a comprehensive, citywide board to deal with transportation and parking issues. "Maybe the fragmentation will disappear," Torres said. "There hasn't been unity for a long time."

In the action to acquire land, the council voted to apply for county Proposition A transportation money and for grant money from state Proposition 108 in order to purchase property adjacent to the historic Southern Pacific Depot at 400 W. Cerritos Ave. The city, which bought the station in 1989, plans to turn it into a transportation center linking rail, bus and commuter services. Additional land is needed for a multilevel parking garage.

Funds for the rail study will match an equal grant from the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission to conduct environmental impact studies on a proposal to build a light-rail system between Glendale and Los Angeles.

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