Congressman Adam Schiff has joined activists in Cypress Park and neighboring Elysian Valley in calling on Metrolink to conduct an extensive study of the potential risks the commuter rail line’s Taylor Yard maintenance center poses to the health of nearby residents. In addition to noise generated by idling engines, many residents have also expressed concern about particulate matter – small particles of pollution that can be inhaled – in the exhaust of the many diesel engines serviced at the center. A health assessment could provide evidence that could support or refute such worries.
“I would like to see them do a health assessment so that the community could get good information on what is the particulate matter concentration in the air and what impact does it have,” said Schiff in an interview with The Eastsider earlier this week. The health assessment”would arm us with good information to decide if this is as serious as people feel it is.”
Under pressure from residents and some local political leaders, Metrolink has taken steps to reduce air and noise pollution at the maintenance center, which is located on San Fernando Road south of Rio De Los Angeles State Park. For example, the agency has reduced the idling time of engines while at the center in addition to taking other steps to reduction pollution. But it has been reluctant to conduct a health assessment. In response for comment to Schiff’s request, the agency issued a statement:
Metrolink is in the process of gathering the required expertise to understand all options available to examine our operations. We will continue to gather the necessary information so that we can provide recommendations to our Board of Directors on the appropriate next steps. This effort has and will continue to include respective stakeholders.
Schiff, who is also pushing the agency to invest in “hood technology” to capture engine emissions, said he was told the agency would get back to him shortly about his request.