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Congressman wants Metrolink to study health impact of Cypress Park rail yard

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.



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22 comments

  1. Uhm, I think the trains were there first!

  2. Uhm, I think the trains were there first!

  3. Really? Two major freeways right there and you think the trains are the pollution problem?

    • Completely agree – no one ever considers the impact of freeways on the health of nearby communities. Given the car culture in America, we just turn a blind eye to this.

      Yes, MetroLink could probably do better and a little pressure to reduce idling time only benefits the neighborhood and cuts fuel costs, but let’s get real about the source of health problems here.

  4. Really? Two major freeways right there and you think the trains are the pollution problem?

    • Completely agree – no one ever considers the impact of freeways on the health of nearby communities. Given the car culture in America, we just turn a blind eye to this.

      Yes, MetroLink could probably do better and a little pressure to reduce idling time only benefits the neighborhood and cuts fuel costs, but let’s get real about the source of health problems here.

      • Metrolink Central Maintenance Facility started in 1992 with 17 locomotives and is now currently servicing over 50 locomotives today.
        When implemented in 1992 there was NEVER a HRA nor a CEQA conducted. Since that time major studies have concluded MANY dangers from breathing Diesel Particulate Matter. This facility is not regulated by AQMD, ARB or the EPA. Metrolink has gone on about their business as they wished with NO oversight and NO regard to the surrounding area. Residence called them on their complete disregard due to the excessive daily noise entering their neighborhood and the obvious daily smelling & breathing diesel fumes coming directly from their activities. I personally live within 400 feet where most of the services is conducted. I have one of the very few vantage points where you can actually CLEARLY witness what’s happening at the facility and I monitor their daily activities because of my concerns breathing these fumes. I actually have wind indicators to let me know to stay inside with windows closed. Wind direction toward Elysian Valley in the mornings, Cypress park in the afternoons typically. Activities at the facility….Load Test is? What is a HEP engine is or does? Load test make an incredible amount of both Noise & Air Pollution and to witness this is actually shocking because it’s happening so close to homes and to the surrounding parks where our children play and our elderly walk daily with these clouds of fumes drifting to the surrounding area from these load test and running of the HEP engines. People are indeed breathing these fumes without question. The HEP engines? HEP engine is 1 of 2 diesel engines on each locomotive, each HEP engine is equivalent to 44 diesel truck engines and are used only for generating electricity to heat and cool the cabins and for cleaning (no passengers in cabin in the facility). They burn on average of 33 gallon of diesel fuel per hour. 32 trains average running their engines approx. 4- 5 hours each daily . Do the math and MOST of this is completely unnecessary running of their engines. Now the area is rapidly changing with the LA Revitalization, new LA Bike Trail, new National Recreational Trail, and soon an area which is being designated as a regional recreational area. Yes, the 5 freeway also has its problems. All the MORE reason that more needs to be done to reduce pollution at the facility. AND there are new policies being implemented to reduce pollution from the freeways as well. Fewer and fewer trucks run on diesel fuel these days. For people to comment that the trains were there first is ignoring the problem and throwing stones. Mind you the facility was implemented in 1992, the neighborhood began in the early 1920’s.
        A Heath Risk Assessment is the responsible and right thing to do… period regardless of the results. If that facility, which was intended to be a temporary facility to begin with, is to continue to exist at this location, it must perform a HRA and implement new modern procedures bases on the HRA results such as the hood technology to capture pollution during their load test.
        Susan, Union Pacific pollution in this area is totally minor compared to the facility pollution. Your just plan wrong about that.
        UP horns are a whole different matter.

        • Grove, not to make light if your legitimate concerns, but it is relavent to point out that the Metrolink Facility is built on a portion of Southern Pacific’s Taylor Yard, a locomtive servicing facility which began operation roughly 100 years ago.

          This study does seem like a good starting point for a discussion, especially if pollution sources can be determined (ie rail versus freeway).

          • Why don’t you monitor the vehicles driving in the 5, the 110, and 2 fwy for their emissions. That train yard has been there, as mentioned above, for almost 100 years. The fwys generate way more emissions than any idling train will. 44 trucks you say? I see 44 trucks pass every 15 minutes on just the 5 fwy itself! While your efforts and passion are noble, I believe they’re concentrated in the wrong area. And before you say anything about me, I too live in the Cypress Park area.

  5. Eastsider is behind the times. Metro-link has already done several things to reduce the pollution and the ideling and there are still more plans already in the works. The eastside should have spoken to MetroLink to get better information on what has already been done and what they are still working on. (More details would have been nice). To Metro-Link’s credit they have already taken action and are not finished yet.

    The real problem has never been Metro-Link. But kudo’s to Metro-Link for what they have done to solve their problems and for their continued work on them. The real problem? It is with UNION-PACIFIC!!

    The real elephant in the room that no one wants to touch. Union Pacific is the real polluter. Union Pacific are the trains that pollute, not Metro-Link. Everyone wants to go after Metro-Link because they are a good guy, they do the right thing, they are easy to work and deal with. Union-Pacific is the bad guy and no one wants to deal with them. Even though it is not as difficult as some think.

    I sent Councilmember Ed Reyes a package of information on how to stop Union-Pacific polllution and horn blowing “quiet zones” several times. All his staff person, Sonia Jimenez, would say is “no, we are not going to do anything”. And, I am sure that package of information ended up in the trash. Sure something can be done but only when government officials are willing to get involved. And, Councilmember Ed Reyes office could have got involved and did nothing over the last 12 years. And, now his staff person is running for office, “no way, Jose”. And, he will do the same as his boss, did, nothing. He has already told me so.

    Let’s put blame where it belongs. It is not Metro-Link. What problems existed no longer exists. Union-Pacific is the bad guy, go after them. But Councilmember Ed Reyes refused to do that after I asked him for 12 years to do that. So, that makes him a bad guy for not caring about our community, not caring about the pollution problem from ideling trains in our community and not caring about the train horns that blow night and day from Union Pacific (not Metro-Link). And, since this problem runs through Mayor Candidate and form city councilmember Eric Garcetti’s area, he did not care about the community either. People should remember those things when voting. Don’t vote for “no way, Jose” or Garcetti who did nothing about the train pollution problem or the train horns.

    I attended meetings where no public officials up on the stage where only 1 person out of 12 even knew what a “quiet zone” was. This shows how ignorant most are. Here they are making a lot of money off of taxpayers and do not even do a little homework. They should be thrown out of office. Councilmember Ed Reyes and his staff refused to do any work on this issue even though the information was provided to them several times by me. That really is being lazy. Don’t do anything that requires a little work. Sad. Don’t vote for another 12 years of “do nothing, Ed Reyes” with his staff person, “no way, Jose.” Vote for change. Vote for Gil.

    • I think these folks who are harassing the Metro Link facility are a little off base. That facility has been there for many years and doubt they have done as much harm to health in that area as claimed. They provide a goodly number of good jobs. Do people in the lst really want to drive good jobs out of their community??? Ed Reyes was good at keeping jobs out of the area for 12 years do you want to lose more?? Also remember that you have freeways running through your area what you wanta do about them??

      • Well, remember when Rotem wanted to use the old Union Pacific Shops to assemble the new Metrolink cab cars and bi-level cars, and the neighborhood said no (and Ed Reyes)

        Metrolink is a government entity, so I would guess they were exempt from the environmental studies at the time, and may be exempt now. I have read public agencies do not have to meet the clean-diesel truck standards that private companies have to meet in CA until 2023. Please correct me if I am wrong…

  6. Eastsider is behind the times. Metro-link has already done several things to reduce the pollution and the ideling and there are still more plans already in the works. The eastside should have spoken to MetroLink to get better information on what has already been done and what they are still working on. (More details would have been nice). To Metro-Link’s credit they have already taken action and are not finished yet.

    The real problem has never been Metro-Link. But kudo’s to Metro-Link for what they have done to solve their problems and for their continued work on them. The real problem? It is with UNION-PACIFIC!!

    The real elephant in the room that no one wants to touch. Union Pacific is the real polluter. Union Pacific are the trains that pollute, not Metro-Link. Everyone wants to go after Metro-Link because they are a good guy, they do the right thing, they are easy to work and deal with. Union-Pacific is the bad guy and no one wants to deal with them. Even though it is not as difficult as some think.

    I sent Councilmember Ed Reyes a package of information on how to stop Union-Pacific polllution and horn blowing “quiet zones” several times. All his staff person, Sonia Jimenez, would say is “no, we are not going to do anything”. And, I am sure that package of information ended up in the trash. Sure something can be done but only when government officials are willing to get involved. And, Councilmember Ed Reyes office could have got involved and did nothing over the last 12 years. And, now his staff person is running for office, “no way, Jose”. And, he will do the same as his boss, did, nothing. He has already told me so.

    Let’s put blame where it belongs. It is not Metro-Link. What problems existed no longer exists. Union-Pacific is the bad guy, go after them. But Councilmember Ed Reyes refused to do that after I asked him for 12 years to do that. So, that makes him a bad guy for not caring about our community, not caring about the pollution problem from ideling trains in our community and not caring about the train horns that blow night and day from Union Pacific (not Metro-Link). And, since this problem runs through Mayor Candidate and form city councilmember Eric Garcetti’s area, he did not care about the community either. People should remember those things when voting. Don’t vote for “no way, Jose” or Garcetti who did nothing about the train pollution problem or the train horns.

    I attended meetings where no public officials up on the stage where only 1 person out of 12 even knew what a “quiet zone” was. This shows how ignorant most are. Here they are making a lot of money off of taxpayers and do not even do a little homework. They should be thrown out of office. Councilmember Ed Reyes and his staff refused to do any work on this issue even though the information was provided to them several times by me. That really is being lazy. Don’t do anything that requires a little work. Sad. Don’t vote for another 12 years of “do nothing, Ed Reyes” with his staff person, “no way, Jose.” Vote for change. Vote for Gil.

  7. Grove, I totally respect what you said. The article sadly has no mention on you and your friend who worked on this issue. Without the two of you nothing would have been done. You two are hero’s, especially you, Grove. You worked hard and got a lot done. And, Congressman Schiff listened to you and helped. You know more about the pollution than I do so I respect your answer. Metrolink has cleaned up their act and that was only because of the work YOU did.

    The issue I have tried to work on are the train horns blowing day and night. I tried to get “quiet zones” for 12 years and Councilmember Ed Reyes office would not help or do anything. The information packages I gave Sonia Jimenez, his field office deputy probly ended up in the trash. Union Pacific is the problem with the train horns. And, still no one is addressing that problem. It is not as difficult as it seems. But no one wants to try, not Councilmember Ed Reyes or his staff, “no way, Jose” or Councilmember Garcetti, who is now running for mayor. I have spoken to both of them and they both refused to do anything about it. They give ignorant answers which show they know absolutely nothing about the issue. They both said no they will not even look into it. Vote for change. Don’t vote for another 12 years of “do nothing Ed Reyes” with his staff person “no way, Jose”. Vote for change. Vote for Gil.

    And, Grove still even with your group, you are not addressing train horns with Union Pacific. I guess no one wants to take on the really hard stuff. Metro-Link was very cooperative.

  8. What wonderful news for the Cypress Park and neighboring Elysian Valley communities to learn of Congressman Schiff’s endorsement for a Health Risk Assessment at the Taylor Yard Metrolink facility. Only following such a study will all truly know the risk this maintenance rail yard poses to the neighboring communities made up residential housing, open recreational park space, schools, houses of prayer, area businesses et al. I too applaud the Congressman’s position that Metrolink continue to explore and move toward cleaner alternatives (i.e., hood technology, cold-ironing-electric plug-in, cleaner engines, etc.)-proven effective at the Port of Los Angeles. Equally refreshing was the the position taken by CD-13 candidate Mitch O’Farrell at the February Candidate Forum in Elysian Valley calling for Metrolink to undertake the health risk assessment without further delay. Thank you to Congressman Schiff, Mitch O’Farrell and the many who recognized that public health comes before profit.

    Respectfully,
    David De La Torre
    Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch
    evnw.wordpress.com

    • Thank god Adam Schiff is doing this; god knows Mitch didn’t do a dam thing to help the people here. He was too busy helping people that would eventually contribute to his campaign.

  9. I agree, this is wonderful news. Community activists play an important role in keeping government, governmental agencies, and corporations honest. Without pressure to “do the right thing”, it is too easy for these entities to get lazy and/or cut corners at the expense of the community at-large. Congratulations to our local activists who, by asking questions, are encouraging Metrolink to operate more cleanly and more efficiently at a benefit to us all.

  10. Agree with Tracy. Always a good thing to have any collection of people, be it businesses or government, be a part of the community. Glad to read this news.

  11. Now who is willing to work with Union Pacific? I am. I having been trying for a long, long time. No one else wants to help or step up to the plate.

  12. Now who is willing to work with Union Pacific? I am. I having been trying for a long, long time. No one else wants to help or step up to the plate.

  13. i believe they can find better means of operating. they have been around for 100 years.

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