By: Robert Scott
Valley Mobility Summit 2011
The San Fernando Valley Council of Goverments
The Main Ballroom of the Airtel in Van Nuys was packed on Thursday as nearly everybody who was anybody showed up to share their ideas about the future of transportation in north Los Angeles County. From congressmen to county supervisors; from visioning experts to political mavens; all were there—and more miraculously, most were given the opportunity to speak.
"Our three-hour breakfast event pushed the walls out to almost four hours" said San Fernando Valley Council of Governments Executive Director Robert Scott. "We had people calling in reservations at midnight the night before, and several speakers not coming through until the day of the event."
Transportation is a pretty specialized topic, but there was a lot of pent-up energy" according to Scott. "The valley region has been waiting for nearly a century to have an official government agency such as the valley Council of Governments through which to speak with a unified voice."
Surprisingly, with most of the relevant government and civic organizations represented—and sponsoring the event—there was virtually no complaining. It was a very constructive and innovative event, perhaps signaling a new sophistication in the region's approach to civic and political issues. The topics spanned areas extending from the Port of Los Angeles to the reaches of the LOSSAN rail corridor in San Luis Obispo—and up into the high desert areas of the Antelope Valley.
The summit covered virtually all of the existing rail, road, freeway, air, ground access and goods movement projects in the region. The main premise was to view these projects from the perspective of the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys. Participants were interested in how the northern region of Los Angeles County could work for transit and transportation improvements in the future.
With California's Central Valley High Speed Rail line currently at the $100 billion mark, there is a general sense that the project no longer makes economic sense. Many were interested in how to re-direct this momentum and funding into more practical uses such as LOSSAN, missing connectors, upgrading existing rails to express, toll-transit projects, and the elimination of gaps and pinch-points in existing highways.