A little more info on the Sepulveda Pass Corridor project

The aerial view of the Sepulveda Pass corridor from Google Maps.

The part of the Metro website devoted to projects was recently updated with a little more information about a project that I know is near and dear the hearts of many Source readers: The Sepulveda Pass Corridor, which proposes to improve transit between the Westside and the San Fernando Valley via the Sepulveda Pass Corridor.

From the project home page:

The Sepulveda Pass Corridor is a vital project for the Sepulveda Pass that connects the San Fernando Valley with West Los Angeles. Potential project alternatives could include light rail, bus rapid transit service on the I-405 carpool lanes with bus-only on and off ramps, peak-hour bus rapid transit-only shoulder lanes, or a transit/toll facility. All elevations (aerial, tunnel, etc.) and parallel routes, such as Sepulveda and Van Nuys Boulevards, will be explored.

Metro Planning, using its on-call technical consultant benches (planning, modeling, environmental, civil engineering, etc), will conduct an in-house technical feasibility study of various alternatives for the Sepulveda Pass Corridor, as a necessary condition to move forward with any project in the corridor. Obviously, a project embracing the initial concept of a multimodal transit and express toll road will be one of the concepts examined by staff. It is clear to all that under current financial conditions, no major project in the corridor can be built without consideration of a public-private partnership. Once a set of potential alternatives is identified, the Metro Board may then decide to undertake an analysis of the economics and feasibility of a P3 approach. This consideration by the Metro Board is likely to take place in mid-2012. Stay tuned.

A few other points worth considering after the jump…

•Measure R provides $1 billion in funding for a project. As the above says, a major project will likely need more money — especially because the current Measure R timeline has this project being completed in the late 2030s, when whatever gets built will likely cost more than if built now.

•I think this project is yet another fine example why Congress needs to pass the full America Fast Forward legislation that Metro is seeking to accelerate the construction of Measure R projects. At this point, parts of America Fast Forward have been embraced. The whole enchilada is needed.

•And this project, I believe, demonstrates the importance of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project that is adding a carpool lane to the northbound 405 between the 10 and 101 freeways. Critics of the project have said the carpool lane won’t do much to help traffic on the 405. But carpool lanes in the future can be managed quite differently than now and could greatly help transit get across the Sepulveda Pass. I also think some of the ramp improvements being done will benefit all traffic in the area, including bus traffic.

•Planning for this project has yet to begin, but when it does there are some ginormous questions to be answered. How will the project connect with the Westside Subway Extension, which will have a station at VA next to the 405? Or the Expo Line, which will have a station at Pico and Sepulveda, near the 405? And how will it connect with the future Van Nuys Rapidway project to improve transit service on Van Nuys Boulevard? And how will it connect with the Orange Line?

Your thoughts? Comment please!

17 replies

  1. Heavy Rail. Start the line at the Van Nuys Amtrak Station, head south down either Van Nuys Blvd. or Sepelveda Blvd. then under the pass to UCLA were it will link up with the Purple Line Extension at Wilshire.

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  2. Ideally, it would go from Sylmar Metrolink station to the Expo Line, but that is far too expensive for the money we have. Possibly, we can go after New Starts money and get this from the Orange Line to Expo as a tunnel with a new stop at Venture, UCLA campus, a connection at Westwood/Wilshire with the Purple Line and then use the Expo light rail maintenance facility instead of building a new one. That won’t be cheap though.

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  3. It seems like this is one of those geographical situations in L.A. where there is a very strong argument for transportation alternatives.

    Right now there is (effectively) only one way to move people from this portion of the valley to this portion of Los Angeles — a major multi-lane highway that is always going to be crowded (although I share your views on carpool lanes, Steve).

    This project should focus on building an alternative to this current route, and not just put large-capacity buses in special lanes. We need an entirely different technique of getting people over (or through) these mountains.

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  4. Light rail under the hill from Van Nuys/Ventura to UCLA Westwood Village, then on to Westwood/Wilshire and the expo line.

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  5. Too bad this couldn’t have been studied earlier so that the construction of anything major (light rail, HOT lanes, bus lanes, etc.) could’ve been involved in the current HOV lane addition project…

    That would’ve greatly minimized impacts to the neighbourhood, as well as traffic. Now, instead, the freeway will get the HOV lane, but will have to suffer again in the near future.

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  6. Having Metro acknowledge a relationship between the SFV and Sepulveda projects is a minor victory for vigilant transit advocates. However, these studies need to be formally merged. The timeline differences and funding are insufficient justification for separating them. Who cares how long it takes to get the money? Get the plan right and chip away at if for 30 years. Metro already has too many lousy rail connections determined by arbitrary constraints.

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  7. I agree with the Heavy Rail underground, but i feel that it should go at least as far south as LAX, either connecting with the Crenshaw line or Greenline. Of course, that’ll probably be farther down the road

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  8. This is a long time in the making. No-build, Light Rail or subway should be the only modes studied here. I agree with Me that it should go to LAX and make it an extention of the Van Nuys line. Also have a subway stop connecting the Getty Museums people mover.

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