The High Desert Corridor Is Back, and This Time It Includes Bikeways?

Yes. Let's.

Returning from paternity leave, I made a joke promise that if Supervisor Mike Antonovich’s office would get behind a transit line for the High Desert Corridor, a proposed new freeway connecting Highway 14 in Los Angeles County to Highway 18 in San Bernardino County, Streetsblog would give a week of exclusive coverage to the area he represents and praise him effusively.

Support Streetsblog by joining us for the ARTCRANK poster and art show at Orange 20 on December 4.

About an hour later I got an email from an acquantince familar with the project warning me, “be careful what you wish for.”

Now I know why. While Metro has promoted the project as a “$6 billion dollar,” “50 mile 6 lane highway” that will “accomodate an expected three to six fold increase in truck traffic,” a series of new meetings for the project are promising two give the project a second look, and perhaps a complete makeover. A list of the meeting times and locations is available at the end of the article.

The High Desert Corridor project team is now considering  a bike path, a green energy production/transmission corridor, and a high-speed rail feeder service connector for the area either as a replacement the project or addition to a smaller highway project. Politicians in San Bernadino have already heard presentations on the changes being studied and Supervisor Antonovich’s office confirmed that the environmental impact report will include all of these options both in companion to the freeway and as alternatives.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report is expected to be available for public review late 2013.

 Streetsblog was unable to get the Supervisor or Metro to comment on the record about the project until after the public meetings. In the meantime, if anyone has good ideas for stories in the Antelope Valley for Streetsblog to cover, leave them in the comments section.

High Desert Corridor Project Update Meetings:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 6-8pm
Lake Los Angeles Elementary School
16310 E Avenue Q
Palmdale, CA 93591

Thursday, December 6, 2012 6-8pm
Stater Bros Stadium
Mavericks Conference Room
12000 Stadium Rd
Adelanto, CA 92301

Monday December 10, 2012 6-8pm*
Endeavor School of Exploration
12403 Ridgecrest Rd
Victorville, CA 92395

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 6-8pm*
Larry Chimbole Cultural Center
Joshua Room
38350 Sierra Hwy
Palmdale, CA 93350

  • Inclusion of transit options in the EIS/EIR doesn’t necessarily signal a turnaround. Environmental reviews have to look at a range of available alternatives, by law — even when the agency/applicant has already made up its mind and views the review as a mere formality. Nevertheless, it’s good that advocates will have some options to point to and push for. I can definitely see bikeways and transit feeder service (BRT, most likely) being included alongside the highway project, but I won’t hold my breath on the highway component being downsized or eliminated in the final design. It’ll be interesting to see what Metro and the Supervisor say and how the process plays out.

  • Ted King

    Suggested edits :
    s/acquantince familar/acquaintance familiar/
    s/promising two give/promising to give/
    s/a replacement the project or addition/a highway alternative or in addition/

    P.S. Did “*Tentative – subject to change / cancellation.” get left off at the bottom ?

  • Davistrain

    There already is a rail line between Palmdale and Colton–Southern Pacific built it back in the 1960’s–at the time it was by far the longest all-new railway built in the US for many years, and it may still be.  It has never had scheduled passenger service; and only a few special excursions have run on this route.  Someone on a previous discussion of the High Desert Corridor mentioned that is was under discussion when he moved to the Antelope Valley in 1992 (and there was a Metropolitan Bypass Freeway proposed for this area back before 1967.)

  • — —

    Actually, the project is heavily focused on the rail component being a major selling point to make the project bipartisan and conforming with environmental pressures.  I like this project more and more and hope it moves forward.