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Corona council studies McKinley Street railroad crossing options

By in Press Enterprise on November 29, 2017

By Suzanne Hurt

The Corona City Council postponed a decision on a proposed project to solve traffic and safety problems at a McKinley Street railroad crossing and instead directed city staff at a Tuesday, Nov. 28, study session to return with more information.

The council took no vote after hearing local business owners, residents and a few business owners’ attorneys express concerns about both options under consideration for the McKinley grade separation project south of the 91 Freeway.

One is an $84 million overpass that would take cars over the tracks. The other is a $213.7 million project to raise the tracks over south McKinley Street, which would require two miles of walls as high as 40 feet and a 100-year maintenance obligation by the city.

Those who spoke in the crowded chamber, with more than 115 in the audience, didn’t necessarily agree on the best solution for problems with delays and deaths after city Public Works Director Nelson Nelson said the number and length of trains are expected to grow in the future.

Irina Vassilian said she and husband David invested “our life savings, our house, everything we own” to open Quickie’s Quality Car Wash because they believed Corona was business-friendly.

Their property wouldn’t be seized to build the raised-tracks option, but she thinks they wouldn’t be adequately compensated for business losses if a 40-foot wall forces motorists to make six turns to enter their Sampson Avenue business.

“So, in effect, you are condemning our property,” she said.

Shell station operator Ahmed Radwan, who supported the second, more costly option, said he’s faced many difficulties in the 40 years since he opened the first business on south McKinley Street — mainly because of changes to roads and freeway ramps. The most recent change left motorists struggling to safely turn into the gas station, he said.

“This will be the last […]    

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