Metro Orange Line turns six tomorrow, progress made on Chatsworth extension

The Metro Orange Line is six years old tomorrow, Oct. 29.  The anniversary coincides with ongoing construction of its four-mile extension to the Chatsworth Amtrak/Metrolink Station, another key Valley transportation hub.

Metro’s construction team and design-builder are making good progress building the extension, which is scheduled to open in summer of next year.

Below is a photo of the very first station canopy work at the future Roscoe station.  Metro’s press release follows.

Workers use crane to unload canopy from truckbed at the future Roscoe Station. Photos: Dave Sotero

More photos are after the jump.

Crane holds canopy in place while workers secure it in place.

Worker hammers canopy roof slots into position.

View of Roscoe Station canopy construction facing north. Metro Orange Line right-of-way in the background.

METRO ORANGE LINE TO MARK SIXTH ANNIVERSARY OCT. 29, LINE NOW BEING EXTENDED TO CHATWORTH

As the sixth anniversary of the popular Metro Orange Line approaches on October 29, work is well underway to extend the Valley’s popular busway to Chatsworth to make important connections to the regional and statewide rail network.

The Orange Line has been a runaway success from Day One and is L.A. County’s first Bus Rapid Transit line built from scratch to run on its very own right-of-way using modern, hi-tech articulated compressed natural gas buses. Average weekday boardings in September 2011 reached 26,883 boardings, near the record of 27,596 boardings set in September 2008.  Weekend ridership also has remained strong, with average Saturday and Sunday boardings in September reaching 15,327 and 11,521, respectively.

Metro construction contractors are now building the extension of the Orange Line between Canoga Park Station and the Metrolink/Amtrak Station in Chatsworth. The station also serves numerous Metro and municipal bus lines.  The $215.6 million project, the first project identified in Measure R to begin construction, is anticipated to open in summer 2012.

“The Orange Line has proven to be an unqualified success in providing fast, frequent transit service across the San Fernando Valley,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa. “That success will continue as we expedite the second phase of the line’s construction to Chatsworth, creating badly needed jobs and generating economic activity that is crucial to our region’s recovery.”

Ongoing construction activities are steadily transforming the formerly blighted, Metro-owned railroad right-of-way into a world-class busway that will include bus signal priority at intersections, landscaping, bicycle and pedestrian paths.

“The Orange Line the most successful busway in the nation and one of the most successful transit projects in our county’s history,” said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who proposed and championed the project. “At a fraction of the cost of comparably sized rail projects, the Orange Line still delivers consistently high ridership, a trend that will continue as we extend the line further north to join one of the San Fernando Valley’s major transportation hubs.”

To date, the design-builder has substantially completed the final designs including street crossings, bikeway, stations, bridges, landscaping and other construction aspects. The project will include the construction of a completely grade-separated busway bridge over Lassen Street to separate bus, Metrolink and Amtrak trains serving Chatsworth Station.

Crews have graded the entire alignment and are now paving the main busway, curb and gutters.  The adjacent bicycle/pedestrian path has also been graded.  Crews have completed new foundations and platforms for the new stations planned at Sherman Way, Roscoe, and Nordhoff Streets.  Fabrication of all the station canopies is nearing completion and crews have started installing the first canopy at Roscoe Station.  Crews also have placed bridge girders and decks over two small bridges along the alignment.  Other street intersection work continues at various locations.

For more information about the Metro Orange Line, visit WWW.METRO.NET.

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6 replies

  1. What has not been clear in everything that I am reading is whether this project is going to bring the sidewalk improvements that Canoga Avenue has needed for decades. I have not been in that area for a long time but I always knew that the east side of Canoga has never been very ADA friendly between, lets say Roscoe and Vanowen.

    I just hope over time, the headway on this Chatsworth branch does not dwindle, especially given the headways of the nearby 245 and 244.

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  2. Just like did you when you made the Orange Line, turn all other abandoned railroad tracks into bus only lanes.

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  3. Does Metro intend to platoon buses, in other words start two at the same time, starting from the North Hollywood station, one heading to the Warner Center and one that turns north at Canoga Ave to Chatsworth? Platooning would decrease the amount of time cross traffic has to wait, with two buses traveling through the intersection at the same time, instead of every four minutes in one direction, as they do now during peak hours.

    As it is now, there is an additional bus during peak hours that runs in between the drop off schedule for the North Hollywood Red Line subway station. This handles the overflow of passengers that could not get onto the initial Orange Line bus, after exiting the Red Line subway station. Platooning would distribute the passenger load more evenly between these two buses by starting them at the same time. Currently, passengers cram into the first bus, and the bus departing four minutes later is much more lightly loaded, mostly with passengers that could not get into the first bus.

    Most intersection do not now give priority to the Orange Line buses. This increases travel time for the Orange Line and thereby increases the operating cost for Metro. Someone from Metro should go to LADOT and say, look, we will give you less interruption of cross traffic by platooning buses and you in turn should give more signal priority to the Orange Line buses in return. If this was a light-rail line, the priority would be given to the train in most instances. This is hampering the performance of the BRT and making it look far less capable in average speed compared to rail, which it is not inherently.

    Another issue that should be addressed is the peripheral vision of the Orange Line driver at intersections. A two lane road automatically decreases the peripheral vision of the bus driver compared to a four or six lane road. Metro has added to that problem by putting shrubs, trees, fences and soundwalls close to the intersection, which cuts down on the drivers peripheral vison even more. This forces the Orange Line bus driver to go very slowly through the intersecion, as visibility to the side is poor, and many Orange Line bus drivers will honk as they are unsure if there is any cross traffic, cyclists or pedestrians. The intitial accident rate of the Orange Line through intersections was at least partially due to the narrow peripheral vision of the bus driver due to sight lines being unnecessarily restricted by Metro.

    Compare the schedule of the Rapid bus line on Ventura Blvd to the Orange Line. The Rapid is moving much faster, during non-peak hours, compared to the Orange Line. That is mainly due to much better peripheral vision for the driver on Ventura Blvd. A BRT line, with a dedicated roadway, should not have a lower average speed than a parallel bus route that runs through a busy commercial district in mixed traffic.

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  4. I love the Orange Line!!!!!!!!!! Very frequent service. Unlike the Orange Line, frequency for the Silver Line on Sundays and Saturdays is a joke especially for a Metro Liner line. Why would a “brt” line run every 60 MINUTES?????????

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