The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on September 17, 1991 · Page 387
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 387

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Tuesday, September 17, 1991
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LOS ANGELES TIMES F TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1991 B3 San Fernando, Santa Clarita' and Antelope Valleys Valley News Subway Faster, Elevated Rail Cheaper, Study Concludes Transportation: A report on possible transit links reopens the debate over an underground system favored by a county commission and a line above the Ventura and Holly wood freeways. By JACK CHEEVERS TIMF.S STAFF WRITF.R More commuters could travel faster between Woodland Hills and downtown Los Angeles on a subway than on an elevated railway above the Ventura and Hollywood freeways, according to a study made public Monday. On the other hand, the elevated line carrying futuristic monorail trains or trains riding on electromagnetic fields could be built much more quickly and inexpensively, said the report prepared for the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission. The study comparing the two mass-transit alternatives was released as the commission gears up to oversee construction of a multibillion-dollar system for whisking people back and forth between the west-San Fernando Valley and one of two Metro Rail stations planned for North Hollywood and Universal City. The release of the report immediately reopened debate over whether the transit system should be a high-tech one rising on columns above the freeway median or a more traditional subway, running on a route following Chandler and Victory boulevards. The commission last year designated the subway option as its first choice for the system, but the new report could : be used to justify changing that decision. Homeowners in areas next to the freeways strongly oppose the elevated system, arguing it would be unsightly, could be vulnerable to earthquakes and would create noise and traffic problems in their neighborhoods. But Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antono-vich has pushed hard for the overhead system, saying it would cost far fewer tax dollars aiid could be in operation much sooner than a subway. Last year, when the Transportation Commission selected the subway, the line was supported by several key homeowner groups along the proposed route, largely out of relief that an earlier proposal for a ground-level light-rail line was simultaneously dropped from consideration. At the same time, the commission hired Gruen Associates, a Los Angeles consulting firm, to study ah elevated line. The overhead system could carry rubber-wheeled monorail trains or high-tech "mag-netic-levitation" trains, which float above tracks on an A Belated Opening for Center Education: CSUN officials say the problems at the $15.4-million science building have been solved. By MICHAEL CONNELLY TIMES STAFF WRITER When a curtain covering a plaque on the wall of Cal State Northridge's new science building was pulled away during Monday's dedication ceremony, patches of paint came off as well. The crowd of administrators, faculty and students good-naturedly laughed and booed at the minor damage. CSUN President James W. Cleary said not to worry: "It only shows how fresh the paint is." But the glitch in the unveiling of the much-heralded $15.4-million addition to the school's science facilities served as a reminder of the long road the school trod before the. grand opening of the addition, which includes a 105-seat planetarium, faculty offices and chemistry and biology labs. Administrators said the opening of the ' science building, which has been in use since the start of the fall semester, was nearly 1V6 years later than planned because of construction delays, design changes and other problems. Some of the seemingly minor glitches-such as floor vibrations from the air conditionerwere particularly troublesome because they were in laboratories where sensitive experiments were to be conducted. But having finally completed the building, school administrators showed it off Monday, saying the problems had been rectified and that the school how has a state-of-the-art science complex. In a planetarium demonstration, they projected the Milky Way on the ceiling and tracked the moon's rotation around the Earth. They took visitors on tours of the labs, showing off a molecular sciences lab where researchers can study such things as the makeup of pollution samples or DNA. Cleary announced that the addition was dedicated to Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sylmar), who fought for three years to obtain funding for the new science center. He also said the new building will provide students with a top quality environment for science studies and noted that the planetarium will offer programs available to the whole community. "I think the opportunity the planetarium will provide is to assist us in our mission to bring Please see SCIENCE, B4 ' ' TOj-- 5r (nil -FSf, TjT r Bi 1 IMP tfu w TON 1 M1 xr t Cal State Northridge's much-heralded science building, originally scheduled for an April, 1990, completion, was officially opened in ceremonies Monday. The center has been in operation since the beginning of the fall semester. Above, Assemblyman Richard Katz, left, talks with CSUN President James W. Cleary before the dedication. Katz, honored for his role in obtaining funding to build the facility, inspects the planetarium, right. KICK MEYER Los Angeles Times I .trWn j I mmmmmma y'mmmmmmixmm electromagnetic cushion. It aiso could accommodate light-rail trains controlled by computers instead of drivers. The Gruen Study, released by the commission Monday, said that following a series of public hearings, the commission could cancel its selection of the subway line as its first choice for a Valley mass - transit project and replace it with an elevated line. The commission has asked for bids from private contractors, due in January, on both routes. The report contained no exact cost comparison, but said the elevated line would be "much less costly." Last year, commission planners placed an estimated price tag of $2.7 billion on the subway and $2.3 billion . on the elevated line. The suhway, however, could rnove more people , more quickly, the report said. Please see TRANSIT, B4 Defender's Office Opposes Transferring Courts, Trials Law: A petition will be filed to halt the . plan to move the death-penalty cases of dozens of blacks and Latinos from the inner city to Van Nuys. By J AMES QU INN TIMUS STAFF WR1TF.R Saying that a defendant from South-Central Los Angeles cannot get a fair trial in the San Fernando, Valley, the Los Angeles County public defender's office said Monday that it will petition federal court to halt the proposed transfer of dozens of death-penalty trials from downtown to Van Nuys. The program, proposed by Los Angeles Superior Court judges to relieve a backlog of 130 death-penalty cases, would permanently transfer four courtrooms from downtown to Van Nuys. It is expected to be approved today and to begin in December. Under the program, dozens of inner city defendants; who are black or Latino would be tried by jurors drawn from a pool that is mostly white and affluent, said Assistant Public Defender Michael P. Judge. "It's the equivalent of taking someone from Granada Hills or Encino and trying them in Compton," Judge said. The district attorney's office also opposes the proposed transfer of four courtrooms from downtown to Van Nuys. However, Judge Gary Klausner, who supervises criminal courts throughout the county, dismissed the concerns of prosecutors and defense attorneys and said he expects the transfer to be approved today by the court's 18-member executive committee. "We transfer cases around the county all the time" to take advantage of empty courtrooms, he said. "If there is a legal problem with that, and I don't think there is a problem, then it will be a problem with all the cases we have transferred." He predicted that "four months down the road, no one will remember this controversy." Under the judges' plan, the downtown criminal courtrooms will be shifted, together with judges, Please secTKlALS, Bi Neil Armstrong to Join Lancaster Walk of Honor Aerospace: The astronaut will be one of five test pilots to be inducted at the city's second celebration of its historic link to Edwards Air Force Base. By JOHN CHANDLER TIMliS STAFF WRITF.R Astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on ithe moon, and four other test pilots will be inducted iinto Lancaster's Aerospace Walk of Honor this weekend in a ceremony that will feature a keynote, 'speech by NASA chief Richard Truly, city officials ' .announced Monday. ' The other inductees to be honored with granite . monuments during the second annual event are retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Prank Kendall Everest Jr., retired Air Force Lt. Col. Fitzhugh L. Fulton Jr. and ' two deceased pilots, Air Force Maj. Gen. Albert Boyd and Joseph Walker. Armstrong, Everest and Fulton will attend. The Walk of Honor is Lancaster's celebration of its ties to the test pilots who pioneered aerospace ; development at Edwards Air Force Base, about 20," miles to the northeast. A $50-a-plate black-tie dinner ; is scheduled for Saturday and the unveiling ceremony is at 2 p.m. Sunday. The public ceremony will be held outside Lancaster's soon-tdropen Performing Arts Center on Lancaster Boulevard at Fern Avenue. Five r other test pilots led by Chuck Yeager were the first ; group inducted last year. ' ' As with last year's group, each of this year's five inductees will have a six-foot-high, 675-pound granite ,' : monument placed on the boulevard. Each monument has an 18-inch-diameter aluminum logo and a bronze Please see LANCASTER, B5

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