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Santa Clarita CA
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Today in
S.C.V. History
December 3
1887 - Prohibitionist Henry Needham purchases land in Newhall, attempts to establish "dry" colony [story]
H.C. Needham

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Dec 9, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieWhen I’m driving from the northeastern part of Santa Clarita on the 14 and heading to COC, I’ve got a choice of routes, and none is short or quick. The vaunted cross-valley connector has become a near maze of stoplights that seem ill-timed with each other.

I could take Soledad Canyon Road and all of the stoplights along it.

Or maybe go all the way down to Newhall Avenue and head back through town, west on Lyons, etc.

I could take the 14 to the 5 North and get off at Valencia. That adds only eight miles to the drive.

Yes, we need a real “cross-valley road” – yes, a freeway – without stoplights and red-light cameras. Not a surface-street solution that only adds congestion and irritates anyone traveling the street. Imagine, a 65-mph road between the 14 and the 5. I’ve even found a route. (At least my idea of one.)

From the 14 after the Golden Valley exit, the interchange would start the new freeway to run past the existing oil fields and through the old Bermite property to Saugus. The highway would be elevated over the tracks and Railroad Avenue, then curve up the wash toward Newhall. Yes, I’m proposing that the road be elevated up the wash towards Newhall and on up Pico Creek to I-5. Expensive? Yes. Feasible? Yes. Easy? Maybe.

There would be off- and on-ramps at a place to go to Golden Valley and that area. Another set of ramps at Railroad Avenue then Old Orchard.

Every time I drive between Canyon Country and COC or Newhall or Lyons Avenue, I get just a little bit angry. Of course I remember when you could drive through Placerita Canyon between Railroad and Sierra Highway. I should remember that route. I got two visits to the local court for running the stop sign at Placerita and Highway 6.

I don’t want to disrupt Placerita Canyon, folks, but I do know that when the new Disney studios are complete and all of those folks are commuting around the SCV, our current roads are not going to work. Sure, getting to the Antelope Valley is possible. But what happens as folks from that studio move here and buy maybe some of those new homes south of the 126? Newhall Ranch Road and Golden Valley are going to be a slow road to and from anyplace.

I can hear the yelling now: “You’re going to destroy the riverbed and Pico Creek and…” Well, we’re not talking about a free-flowing creek. It has, for the most part, cement sides and a controlled course. Why not a freeway over the top?

You see, I was thinking of a route that takes out few if any homes and nary a business. It goes over the top of some real estate called Bermite where little if anything else can be built. Would you buy a home that sits atop a potential superfund site? I didn’t think so.

I had thought about having the road be built over the Santa Clara River, but that wouldn’t work because of getting to the river and over or under the train and around the new homes going in across from the Swap Meet on Soledad.

No, let’s use our creeks that have already been channeled and damaged. I doubt we will ever return them to their original and natural state.

The proposed roads from the 14 to downtown Newhall will only have the same problems we have seen with Golden Valley-Newhall Ranch. That road was great until all of the stoplights started showing up. The joy of driving on that road has ended already. I’d rather take Soledad Canyon or drive all the way to Newhall Avenue on the 14 if I’m headed to Old Town Newhall. If I’m going to Lyons and Pico Canyon, I prefer going to I-5 and over Weldon Canyon.

I watched the roads in Virginia be expanded. It was done in fits and starts, and many problems encountered then are even worse today. We can avoid that.

We still have an open space that would be great for a freeway, since building homes and businesses on it may never happen.

This may all just be a dream. With gas prices going down, what are a few extra miles? We do need a faster alternative to the cross-valley connector. We need a freeway.

Thank you for letting me share my little dream. Now it is time for a nap. I’m exhausted.

Oh, just one more question for the City Council. Please, can we get rid of the red-light cameras? They aren’t making us money, and they really stink.

Rant complete. Thank you.


Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].


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  1. T. Jones says:

    For someone who spent many years in a ‘tube of tolerance’ (thank you for your service!) you’re beginning to sound old and cranky.

  2. Steve Petzold says:

    Nothing about billboards?

  3. T. Jones says:

    Or faint odors in the air?

  4. Susie Evans says:

    Thanks for the ideas and memories. I guess people forgot all about the Bermite site and how contaminated it is or they were never told about it when they came to Santa Clarita. Shame..

  5. James Farley says:

    Darryl – glad you added the issue that is near and dear to my heart at the end. Thanks. Not sure how feasible a freeway is through the corridor you describe. I’m afraid the possibility for a freeway only exists to the North and Im not sure how effective that would be.

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