By Nikki Metzger
High Desert Daily
(Apple Valley)– The Town of Apple Valley hosted an Open House/Community Meeting Wednesday evening concerning the High Desert Corridor project. The HDC project proposes the construction of an approximately 63 mile east-west freeway between the 14 freeway in Los Angeles County and Hwy 18 in Apple Valley.
This meeting was to convey the results of the scoping that was done in the Fall of 2010. The project is currently in the environmental study phase. The community meetings are held to gauge public opinion and hear concerns about the corridor and how it could impact the community, as well as keeping residents involved and up to date on the progress of the HDC project.
The presentation was short, and consisted of a power point presented by Robert Machuca, Project Manager, that showed the proposed route and Project Area Map. The map showed two alignments for the corridor and 8 alternatives in the route. Mr. Machuca described the alternatives.
Karl Price from Cal Trans presented video animation of the flyover of the proposed route starting from the 14 freeway and concluding at Hwy 18 and Joshua at Dead Man’s Curve. Along the route he pointed out areas of concern, including some of the water sheds like Little Rock and Big Rock Creeks, 3 air fields along the route, even the Federal prison.
Rod Kazinski from Cal Trans explained that there are several concerns the core group is looking at, including waterways along the project, economic growth, how this project will impact traffic and areas along the proposed route, including the 3 air fields and the Federal Prison. He also presented some of the public opinions they have received about the HDC project. 21% generally favored the project, 61% of respondents were basically neutral on it and really just wanted to know what was going on, and 15% were generally against the project. Kazinski said that many of the negative responses came from Apple Valley.
Once the short presentation was complete members of the audience were invited to come up and ask questions or voice their concerns. Several people came up, with the views mixed between being completely for the project and being completely against it. Questions were raised about where funding was coming from for the corridor, to how this corridor will benefit residents of the High Desert.
Mr. Machuca fielded most of the questions, and time again he had to clarify that this was only the environmental study, which has been completely funded from Measure R funds. Laurie Hunter from JPA also clarified that the east/west corridor was really envisioned for moving goods across the desert, especially coming up from the LA area by rail, and coming into SCLA by plane. This was envisioned to help create jobs up here so people would not have to commute down the hill.
Ann Kerman from Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that all sorts of technology were being utilitized to get the word out, including streaming the meeting live online, and “Twittering” during the meeting. Participants online or on Twitter were invited to type in their questions to be addressed by the presenters.
More information on the project including the maps, power point presentation, and the animated flyover are available on the project website: www.metro.net/HDC. They also have a facebook page and they are on Twitter. All of that information is available on the website.