The long-awaited plans to extend Lyons Avenue to Dockweiler Drive could finally be shifting out of neutral.
The city of Santa Clarita released its draft environmental impact report for a project that will eventually link the communities east of the railroad, Newhall Creek, including The Master’s University (TMU), Old Town Newhall and the Jan Heidt Newhall Metrolink Station.
In the conceptual planning stages for decades, the project would involve the construction of a bridge over the railroad right-of-way and Newhall Creek and connect TMU to Sierra Highway on the eastern end of Dockweiler Drive. (The extension of Dockweiler has already been approved.)
The Lyons extension is vital to TMU’s master plan, which is a guide to manage campus growth over the span of 10 years. Adopted in 2009, the plan took into consideration growth that includes “expansion and addition of educational facilities and dormitories, as well as construction of a new auditorium.”
The new environmental report states that in order to accommodate this type of growth, Dockweiler Drive needs to be extended from its current terminus near Valle Del Oro through TMU’s property south of the main campus, to the western boundary of the campus property.
“The extension of Dockweiler Drive is a critical east-west link that would provide a through connection from Sierra Highway to Lyons Avenue,” the report states. “The extension would also relocate the main entry to The Master’s University from Placerita Canyon Road and redirect traffic from Placerita Canyon Road onto Dockweiler Drive.”
The proposed Lyons extension would include the closure of the at-grade railroad crossing at 13th Street and Railroad Avenue, while adding a new at-grade railroad crossing at the intersection of Railroad Avenue and the newly adjusted Lyons Avenue.
Previously, the city of Santa Clarita had included the Lyons extension as a “major highway” in its general plan. But it has been re-designated as a secondary, four-lane road.
The road extension would require raised, landscaped medians and a bike lane. Yet it would yield anticipated benefits such as improved traffic flow and safety at the railroad crossings.
According to the draft report, the scope of the proposed extension would have “less than significant environmental impacts and less than significant impacts with the incorporation of mitigation measures – with the exception of air quality and noise.” These impacts, according to the report, were “significant and unavoidable.”
A number of agencies responsible for reviewing the project were invited in August to submit comments. Those agencies include the California Public Utilities Commission, California Department of Fish and Game, Army Corps of Engineers, County of Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Public comment on the draft environmental report will be taken through Oct. 16, 2017. The documents are available for viewing [HERE] and at the Old Town Newhall Library, Valencia Library, and the city clerk’s office at Santa Clarita City Hall.
An additional public outreach meeting is scheduled for Sept. 28. (One was already held Sept. 14). The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at The Master’s University, 24728 Quigley Canyon Road, Building #35, English and History Center, Room 100, Santa Clarita.
Comments for the outreach meeting must be submitted in writing.
Ultimately approval of the Lyons extension project will be up to the City Council.