Faced with worsening traffic in north Los Angeles County, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has launched a two-year study to find ways to improve freeway commutes and expand bus and rail service in the fast-growing region.
The $2.6-million study also will examine the feasibility of a building a highway tunnel through the San Gabriel Mountains, which would link the Palmdale area with La Canada Flintridge. The tunnel idea, which Palmdale officials have floated for years, is not a major part of the study, however.
The MTA analysis instead will focus on creating more truck and carpool lanes, broadening Metrolink service and widening California 138. The study area includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.
The Santa Clarita Valley's population, now 195,000, is expected to grow by about 60% by 2020, to roughly 313,000, according to forecasts by the Southern California Assn. of Governments.
Over the same period, the Antelope Valley's population is expected to more than double, from 380,000 to about 770,000, the association projections show.
The MTA study will look for ways to improve traffic flows from the junction of the Golden State and Antelope Valley freeways north to the Kern County line, said MTA planning manager Brian Lin.
"Any improvements they can make would be appreciated, at least by this commuter," said Lt. Carl Deeley, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Deeley said he went through "commuter shock" when he was transferred from a job near his home in Santa Clarita to Monterey Park.
Parsons Transportation Group of Pasadena is conducting the study, Lin said.
Public comment will be sought from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the cafeteria of the College of the Canyons, 26455 N. Rockwell Canyon Road. A second meeting is scheduled for Thursday, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Palmdale Youth Library, 38510 Sierra Highway.