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VAN NUYS : Rail Officials Seek Quick Solution for Hazardous Crossing

April 16, 1993|JEFF SCHNAUFER

Responding to community concern, Metrolink officials said Thursday that they will meet with Southern Pacific railroad officials next week to try to come up with an immediate solution to the problem of children crossing the tracks south of Blythe Street in Van Nuys as a shortcut to school.

Francisco Oaxaca, public affairs manager for Metrolink, had promised his help last week at a meeting called by residents whose children use the shortcut on the way to and from Valerio Street Elementary School and Fulton Junior High School.

Used by as many as 50 students a day, the route is located at the end of Willis Avenue between Blythe and Raymer streets. There are no rail crossing arms at the site.

The residents had asked that Metrolink place a fence at the end of Willis Avenue or along Raymer Street, and then erect an overpass or provide transportation for students. Upon investigation of the site, Oaxaca said, he found that the shortcut on Willis Avenue is actually owned by Southern Pacific.

"Metrolink and Southern Pacific will be meeting next week to see what we can do as a team about the situation. I think we need an immediate solution to stop the kids from getting across. But the issue of transportation will not be solved overnight," Oaxaca said.

Rae Sheffield, a community leader who has been pressuring Metrolink for help, was pleased at Oaxaca's response.

"If he fulfills all the promises, I think that's great," Sheffield said.

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