Santa Fe Springs may expand Metrolink parking

SANTA FE SPRINGS -- Metrolink customers who catch the train at the always-crowded Norwalk/Santa Fe Springs Transportation Center could soon get some parking relief.

The Santa Fe Springs City Council is considering combining $282,000 of city funds with a $1.2 million federal grant to build at least 200 more parking places at the center, according to Marina Sueiro, director of intergovernmental affairs for the city.
"The place is just jam packed,' Sueiro said. "It's in dire need of parking relief.'

Use of the center at 12700 Imperial Highway near Bloomfield Avenue has increased from about 450 riders per day in January 1996 to about 1,300 riders per day in September of this year, according to Metrolink statistics.

The center, however, has only 358 parking places. Every morning, frustrated motorists zigzag through the center's parking lot hoping to find a spot.

The city has resorted to shuttling Metrolink riders in buses from nearby parking lots to the train station, Sueiro said.

The only catch to the deal getting done is the willingness of the City Council to put up all the local money for the project.

The federal grant is technically being given to a consortium of six area cities called the I-5 Joint Powers Authority, according to a Santa Fe Springs report.

To be eligible for the $1.2 million federal grant, area cities and agencies are responsible for coming up with 20 percent of the total project costs for the parking additions.

So far, the only other agency willing to chip in any money is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which contributed $25,000.

Officials from other local agencies, including the other five cities in the consortium, have committed no money to the project.

"The grant was given to rework the station and the only one coming up with the money to utilize the federal grant is Santa Fe Springs,' said Santa Fe Springs City Councilman Ron Kernes. "Only 14 percent of the people using the station are from Santa Fe Springs. The others are from Norwalk, Cerritos and the other cities around here. They're not putting in any money and it's not fair. I'm not going to vote to approve it if we're putting up all the cash.'

Kernes said the council planned to approve funding for the station at an Oct. 23 meeting but put off their decision until November in hopes that other cities will contribute to the project.
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