How We Roll, Sept. 21: San Fernando Valley edition

Art of Transit: 

Down in the L.A. River south of DTLA. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Dept. of Sportsing: The Rams beat the 49ers 41-39 Thursday night. That means they’ll be at least .500 by the time their next game at the Coliseum rolls around Oct. 8 against the Seahawks. Not bad. How to Go Metro to games at the Coliseum.

In baseball action, the Dodgers clinched a tie for the NL West title and can wrap up the division tomorrow night at home against the Giants. If that happens, they will begin the playoffs at home on Friday, Oct. 6, against either the Rockies, Diamondbacks, Cubs, Brewers or Cardinals. I’m thinking the D-Backs are the team the Dodgers would rather sidestep in the Division Series. And, yes, the Dodger Stadium Express is running for all post-season action, with free service to the ballpark from Harbor Gateway and Union Station.

Sherman Oaks homeowners ask Metro for subway through the eastern Valley (Curbed LA)

The project to build bus rapid transit or light rail between Van Nuys and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station recently released its draft environmental report and public meetings are underway. The formal name of the project is the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor.

And now the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Assn. (SOHA) have let their views be known: they want the entire 9.2-mile project to be a subway, saying traffic impacts of at-grade light rail or bus rapid transit would be felt even in their ‘hood. The group also wants the study to include a more detailed analysis of how this project would connect with the Sepulveda Pass transit project that will run between the Orange Line and the Purple Line in Westwood. SOHA wants that project to be a subway.

As for the Van Nuys-Sylmar/San Fernando project, funding is the big issue. The project has about $1.3 billion from Measure M and other sources. The light rail alternative — which is partially underground along Van Nuys Bouleard — is estimated to cost about $2.7 billion although could be reconfigured to cost less. A full subway, Metro officials told Curbed, would cost north of $7 billion. That’s the kind of difference in price hard to make up with grants and private sector involvement.

In the meantime, there is one more community meeting on the draft study for the project:

● 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 eastsfvtransit@metro.net or left on the project hotline at 818.276.3233.

Amazon wants a site for new headquarters; San Fernando Valley can deliver: Bob Blumenfield (Daily News)

We posted recently about the derby between cities across the U.S. to become the second headquarters for Amazon. An analysis by the data gurus at the NYT favored Denver as the eventual winner owing to its affordable housing, transit, quality of life and existing tech sector.

Not so fast, says Los Angeles Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who represents the southwestern part of the San Fernando Valley. Excerpt from his op-ed:

The West San Fernando Valley is where the Aerospace industry was born and major companies, including Northrup Grumman and Aerojet-Rocketdyne, continue that proud tradition. Growing Amazon’s new headquarters on the 47-acre property where Rocketdyne actually built the jet engines that launched our astronauts and rockets into space — to the moon and Mars — would not only be fitting but inspiring.

That property in Warner Center is vacant, available and ready for sale. And, with the adopted Warner Center 2035 Specific Plan governing development in this regional center, this property is zoned to support the business, good-paying jobs and development program that Amazon requires.

The property is at Victory and Canoga and also happens to be a stone’s throw from…the Orange Line! There has also been considerable work done on the planning end of things to densify Warner Center and make it more of a work-live-play type places.

Attentive readers know that the Orange Line is readying for several upgrades, including full electrification and a Measure M-funded project to speed up bus trips. Measure M will eventually (in the 2050s under the current timeline) convert the Orange Line to rail.

Will Amazon go for the Valley? I think our region and the SW SFV has a lot going for it but acknowledge that if a plentiful and affordable housing stock is important to Amazon, that one is not exactly our region’s ace in the hole.

Can fast buses help ease Atlanta’s traffic nightmare? (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Great inbound traffic in Atlanta is possible! Credit: AMC.

Traffic in the Greater Atlanta area is miserable and officials are looking to expand the transit system beyond the city. Voters in the ‘burbs haven’t shown much enthusiasm for funding rail extensions, the reason that transit officials recently traveled to our region to check out the Orange Line and bus rapid transit.

In their view, BRT lines can be built quickly and more cheaply than rail. Opponents say no thanks, you get what you pay for.

Fun quote from Atlanta-area official:

“I always thought this was where they did movies and had cars,” Roswell’s Wood marveled in Los Angeles. “Now we’re doing movies in Georgia and they have transit.”

Of course, one of the television shows filmed in Georgia offers an extremely effective traffic solution, albeit one that transforms 99 percent of the population to zombies. The remaining one percent of the human population do enjoy the benefit of simplified and speedier commutes, although dealing with zombie herds, wannabe politicians, cannibals and baseball bat-wielding psychopaths can delay some trips.

5 replies

  1. The valley has their chance for a subway in the 1990’s. The locals put pressure on the politicians who caved and thus the Orange Busway came to being.

    Is there enough density to warrant a subway north of the Orange? That seems like ideal BRT territory. The HRT Sepulveda line could replace the Orange Busway from Van Nuys to North Hwd, although density would make Ventura Blvd a more natural choice.

    • You are correct, the valley did have their chance until the Orthodox Jewish community shot it down because they believe the noise, traffic, etc. of the rail line would negatively impact their religious institutions. How ridiculous and selfish does that sound? SMH.

  2. If Amazon seriously consider the SFV for its new second headquarters, Metro should seriously consider extending the Red line to the Warren Center…

  3. As I recall, around 1990 there was a popular vote in favor of a monorail line on the 101 Freeway. The politicians and professionals fell all over themselves ignoring the popular vote, perhaps because a monorail isn’t expensive enough.