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The Valley

Residents Protest Moving of Bus Depot

January 20, 2002|CAROL CHAMBERS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Angry residents rallied Saturday in Mission Hills to block relocation of a Greyhound Lines bus depot to a neighborhood strip mall.

More than 50 protesters and their children carried placards and chanted, "Stop the buses," as they paraded in front of the proposed depot in La Rinda Plaza at Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Rinaldi Street.

The residents said that a depot doesn't belong in the predominantly residential neighborhood--that pollution, noise and traffic will ruin their community.

"What are we, chopped liver?" protest organizer Joe Lozano asked. "These [Greyhound] people have really angered this community. No one told us about it. No one held a town hall meeting. We want a town hall meeting."

The protesters said they prefer the current depot at 1441 Truman St. in San Fernando because it is in a largely commercial area served by five Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus routes, while only one line serves the La Rinda Plaza location.

"I think they should leave it right where it's at," said Connie Zamora of Sylmar. "We don't want buses here. It brings riffraff and a lot of crime.

Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla, San Fernando Mayor Cindy Montanez and James Burkhardt, north Valley area director for Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn, joined the protesters in opposing the depot relocation.

"I think there are other sites that might be more accommodating for Greyhound," Padilla said. "They haven't asked the people who live right here if they want this."

Greyhound spokeswoman Kristin Parsley said the site is zoned for buses and the company obtained permits and approval from the city Planning Department.

"We did try to be sensitive to the community by reducing the number of schedules from 35 to 28 per day," Parsley said, explaining that 14 buses would enter and leave the depot daily. Greyhound will also limit its hours of operation from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The company is moving the depot because its lease on the Truman Street location is expiring. The La Rinda site is desirable because it's close to Interstate 5, Parsley said, adding that Greyhound plans to move into the new location Jan. 28.

Greyhound tried to open a depot at the La Rinda site 20 years ago, but the plan failed because of opposition from neighboring merchants and residents.

"It was a bad idea then and it's a bad idea now," he said.

Padilla won City Council approval Tuesday of a measure to post signs banning vehicles weighing more than 6,000 pounds from using streets in the adjacent residential neighborhoods, a move he hopes will encourage the bus company to seek another site.

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