The latest round of community meetings began last night for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project, which aims to improve north-south transit in the area shown in the map above. Info on the remaining three meetings is here; the next meeting is Thursday night (Oct. 4) from 6 to 8 p.m. at San Fernando High School. The meeting will also be live-streamed on the Internet.
Below is a handy chart showing the alternatives that are under study (you can download the pdf here):
A few notes about the project:
•This study is evaluating improvements that begin at Ventura Boulevard and extend north from there. It is not specifically looking at improvements over the Sepulveda pass and beyond. As many of you already know, another project, the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor, extends all the way from the San Fernando/Sylmar Metrolink station to Los Angeles International Airport, overlapping with the East San Fernando Valley’s study area. Here is a post from June about the alternatives being studied as part of the Sepulveda Pass project. The two planning teams are consulting with each other and there is a great deal of interest in ensuring that these projects coordinate.
•This project is scheduled to be completed relatively soon, in 2018. The future Sepulveda Pass project is the last of the Measure R transit project and is not scheduled to be completed until 2039. More on that below.
•Why are travel times for bus rapid transit and light rail similar? Because both bus rapid transit and light rail would run in street medians. The big difference between the two in this project is cost and capacity; trains can carry more people than a single bus. Light rail is also much more expensive due to the costs of train tracks, overhead wires, train vehicles and a maintenance facility. There is no other light rail in the Valley, so trains couldn’t reach an existing facility.
•It presently takes anywhere from 47 minutes to an hour to travel by bus between the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station and either Van Nuys/Ventura or Sepulveda/Ventura. The various alternatives improve on that by varying degrees.
•This project is scheduled to receive $170.1 million in Metro’s long-range transportation plan, with the money mostly coming from a combination of state funds and Measure R, the half-cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. As the chart shows, the two light rail and four bus rapid transit alternatives all cost more than $170.1 million. As is the case with other Measure R projects, that means that the project will likely need to seek additional funding to be able to be built in full. The project may also be built in phases to match available funding. The ongoing studies will be addressing that not-so-small issue.
•Would Measure J — which extends the Measure R sales tax increase until 2069 — increase the funding available for this project? No. Measure J provides additional bonding capacity to accelerate some Measure R transit projects but it does not provide additional funding for this project or any other project. This project is already scheduled to be complete in 2018 and wouldn’t be accelerated by Measure J, which focuses its efforts on completing projects in the next decade that otherwise wouldn’t be funded and constructed until the late 2020s or 2030s. The Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor project would be accelerated under Measure J.
•Speak up! Community input is welcome! Even though the project won’t be complete until 2018, the big decisions about the project will be made during the ongoing studies over the next two to three years. You can email the project team at firstname.lastname@example.org. The project can also be followed on Twitter and Facebook.
Here is a recently-updated FAQ on the project’s website that looks at a wide range of issues about this project.