The Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report (DEIS/R) has been released for a project that proposes to build bus rapid transit or light rail on a 9.2-mile route between the Orange Line’s Van Nuys Station and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station. The project — formally called the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor — would be built on or along Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Road.
The Executive Summary of the DEIS/R provides a good overview of the project and is embedded above. The entire document can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.
Project alternatives studied in the DEIS/R include:
•Curb-running bus rapid transit with the bus lanes would be located next to the sidewalk.
•Median-running bus rapid transit — the buses would run in exclusive bus lanes in the middle of Van Nuys Boulevard.
•A median-running light rail with 14 station stops that would preserve existing local bus stops with curb-side bus stops along the entire route.
•Options for light rail would include the selection of one of three potential rail yard maintenance sites. Light rail could also include a potential subway section between Sherman Way and Roscoe Boulevard.
This chart from the DEIS/R sums up the different alternatives. Metro is legally-required to study the ‘no build’ option and the ‘TSM’ alternative means traffic signal and road improvements.
As the DEIS/R notes, Van Nuys Boulevard is the seventh busiest corridor in the Metro Bus system with service provided by the Rapid 761 and Local 233. Those two lines together have the second most boardings in the San Fernando Valley behind only the Orange Line. The busiest stretches ridership-wise for the 761 and 233 are between the Orange Line and Panorama City.
This project was originally part of the Measure R sales tax approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. Initially, the plan was to build bus lanes on a major north-south street or streets on the east side of the Valley. But stakeholders and community members asked Metro for a more robust transit project with more speed and capacity.
Measure M is adding $810.5 million in funding to the existing $520 million available from Measure R and other sources for a total of $1.33 billion. The Measure M expenditure plan has the project breaking ground in 2021.
Two other points worth mentioning:
•Another project with funding from Measures R and M is the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor. A technical study for that project is ramping up and will begin the process of determining what form of transit is used to connect the Valley to the Westside. As part of picking the preferred alternative for this project, Metro staff and Board will consider the best way to connect the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor with the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor.
•The light rail alternative in this project — with a 2.5-mile section of subway under Van Nuys Boulevard — carries an estimated cost of $2.67 to $2.79 billion, according to the DEIS/R. It is possible that Metro could reconfigure the light rail alternative so that it costs less, an important consideration since there is $1.33 billion available for this project.
•This project will also intersect with Metrolink’s Ventura Line at the Van Nuys Station and Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line at the Sylmar/San Fernando Station, as well as the future North San Fernando Valley Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project that was part of Measure M. That project will provide an east-west bus rapid transit line across the northern Valley. The study area includes Northridge, Panorama City, Sun Valley, Pacoima, Sylmar, North Hollywood and San Fernando.
Here are a few photos of the corridor I shot recently:
The public is invited to ask questions and weigh in as Metro holds a series of meetings during the 45-day public review period extending until October 16. Material presented at each of the five meetings will be the same and simultaneous translation in Spanish will be available. The schedule is as follows:
● Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017 (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.) City of San Fernando Regional Pool Facility, 208 Park Ave., San Fernando 91340 (This meeting will be live-streamed at ustream.tv/channel/eastsfv).
● Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 (8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.) Zev Yaroslavsky Family Support Center, 7555 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys 91405.
● Monday, Sept. 18, 2017 (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) Valley Municipal Building, Council Chambers, 14410 Sylvan St., 2nd floor, Van Nuys 91401.
● Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 (9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) Pacoima Charter Elementary School Auditorium, 11016 Norris Ave., Pacoima 91331.
● Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 (9 a.m. to noon) St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 14646 Sherman Way, Van Nuys 91405.
Comments on the draft study can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or left on the project hotline at 818.276.3233.