Gallery: Metro Orange Line Extension on opening day

On board the Orange Line bound for Chatsworth

On board the Orange Line bound for Chatsworth

June 30, 2012: Scenes from opening day of the Metro Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth. Click on images below to view.

Photos by Gary Leonard

Orange Line festivities, free rides draw midday crowds

Metro Orange Line extension to Chatsworth construction chief Hitesh Patel, center, and John Parker, chairman of United Chambers of Commerce, join the Canoga Park/West Hills Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon-cutting at Canoga Station as the community welcomes the new four-mile extension of the Metro Orange Line. Photo by Dave Sotero.

Metro Orange Line extension to Chatsworth project manager Hitesh Patel, center, and John Parker, chairman of United Chambers of Commerce, join the Canoga Park/West Hills Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon-cutting at Canoga Station as the community welcomes the new four-mile extension of the Metro Orange Line. Photo by Dave Sotero.

Metro and the West Valley communities are celebrating the opening of the Orange Line Extension today. Festivities continue to 4 p.m. and include food trucks, live music and community booths.

Chatsworth folks staged a ribbon cutting with Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, center, and Orange Line Transportation Manager Gary Spivack. To Spivack's right is Hitesh Patel, who directed the construction of the Orange Line Extension, and, at far left, is California Congressman Howard Berman. Photo by Dave Sotero.

Chatsworth folks staged a ribbon cutting with Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, center, and Orange Line Transportation Manager Gary Spivack. To Spivack’s right is Hitesh Patel, who directed the construction of the Orange Line Extension, and, at far left, is California Congressman Howard Berman. Photo by Dave Sotero.

At the Canoga Station, check out the community booths, food trucks, a group bicycle ride with Valley Bikery and live performances by Vocal Percussion Radio, Two Dogs Band, Tripletrouble, West 79th Street Funk Jazz Band

At the Chatsworth Station, there’s community booths, food trucks, a petting zoo and pony rides for children provided by The Farm. Also, live performances are presented by Cowboy Palace – Country Gone Awry and Coldwater Canyon – and Metro Express.

Rides on the Orange Line Extension from Canoga Station to Chatsworth Station are free both today and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Regular fares apply on all other Metro Rail, Metro Rapid and Metro Local lines.

Online: All about the Orange Line Extension

The Source taking a holiday

Hi everybody. I’ll be on vacation and largely away from the internet between today and July 10, meaning there there will be light posting on The Source until I’m back. Comments will be moderated while I’m gone, but not as often.

It’s been an eventful first half of 2012, with the opening of the Expo Line, the completion of the environmental studies for the Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector and this weekend’s debut of the Orange Line Extension.

The second half of the year should be equally interesting, with the fall opening of the ExpressLanes congestion pricing project on the 110 freeway and the strong possibility that voters could be looking at a Measure R extension on the November ballot.

Thank you to everyone for reading The Source and I’m looking forward to carrying on the conversation after a short break!

Steve Hymon, Editor


America Fast Forward – Embedded in Surface Transportation Bill – Heads to White House for President’s Signature

Metro CEO Art Leahy has just issued this legislative alert:

America Fast Forward – Embedded in Surface Transportation Bill – Heads to White House for President’s Signature

America Fast Forward, the innovative national transportation finance plan championed by our Board Chairman and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and our Board of Directors, is slated to become the centerpiece of the innovative finance portion of America’s new surface transportation program. Earlier today, the United States House of Representatives passed HR 4348, the Conference Report on the new surface transportation bill by a margin of 373-52, with the entire Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation voting in favor. The bill, known as MAP-21, reauthorizes Federal transportation policy and funding levels through September, 2014 at current funding levels, adjusted for inflation. Less than an hour after the House passed HR 4348, the United States Senate followed suit by passing the bill by a margin of 74-19, with both California Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, voting in favor.  Metro is deeply appreciative to our Board of Directors, Senator Boxer and all members of the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation and other Members of Congress, and the broad coalition of labor, business, and environmental groups who worked hard to ensure that MAP-21 includes America Fast Forward. The bill is headed to the White House, where President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law.

MORE:  American Public Transportation Association (APTA) report
House and Senate Vote to Pass Surface Transportation Conference Report

Ready to Roll: Metro Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth


Video of today’s event in Chatsworth by Mario Noriega.

Metro Orange Line bus breaks through banner at dedication event held at the new CHatsworth Station. Yes, that's Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in the operator's cab. Photo by Gary Leonard.

Metro Orange Line bus breaks through banner at dedication event held at the new Chatsworth Station. Yes, that’s Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in the operator’s cab. Photo by Gary Leonard.

Here’s the news release:
June 29, 2012
CONTACT: Dave Sotero/Marc Littman– Media Relations
213.922.3007/213.922.2700

Measure R Project Success:
Officials Celebrate Completion of Metro Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth Ahead of Schedule, Under Budget

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), joined by city, county and state officials, today celebrated the completion of the Metro Orange Line Extension, a four-mile addition to the wildly popular dedicated busway that will enhance regional transit connections to and from the Western San Fernando Valley.

The first transit project identified in Measure R to begin construction in 2009 has been completed ahead of schedule by three and a half years, and its original $215.6 million budget is currently forecasted to come in at approximately $154 million, $61 million under budget. The final project savings will depend on the closeout of the project, including the resolution of any final change orders with the contractor. Prior to the passage of Measure R, this transit project was scheduled to open in 2016.

The brand new north/south busway extension from Canoga Park to Chatsworth was built on a Metro-owned, former Union Pacific railroad right-of-way and adds four new stations, three new or reconfigured parking lots, a new busway bridge over active railroad tracks, two new busway bridges that cross waterways, new signalized busway/street crossings, street resurfacing improvements, new bicycle/pedestrian path, and landscaping similar to the original Metro Orange Line.

Now at 18 miles, the busway and its adjacent pedestrian/bikeway are the longest of their kind in Los Angeles County.

“Today we celebrate yet another Measure R transit milestone in Los Angeles with the opening of the Metro Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth,” said Antonio Villaraigosa, L.A. City Mayor and Metro Board Chair. “The busway extension will greatly expand the connectivity of the region’s transportation network, creating new linkages between Metro, Southern California’s Metrolink system and the statewide Amtrak network. It is the latest example of how Metro is creating a world class 21st century transportation system in Los Angeles County.”

The official opening of the line will be Saturday, June 30. Community festivities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday only at the Canoga and Chatsworth Stations and will include food trucks, live music, group bike rides and much more. Free rides on the extension are planned both Saturday and Sunday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Regular fares will apply on all other Metro Rail, Metro Rapid and Metro Local lines.

“The Orange Line is the most successful busway in America,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Director. “With the opening of this new segment, the northwest San Fernando Valley will now be served by this very popular mass transit line.”

Metro’s Congestion Management Plan reports that nearly 50 percent of San Fernando Valley home-to-work trips are made to destinations outside the Valley. The extension of the busway to the Chatsworth Metrolink/Amtrak Station, which also serves several Metro and municipal bus lines, is expected to offer these residents more public transit options for these trips. The Chatsworth Station is one of the busiest stations on Metrolink’s Ventura County Line. Amtrak’s San Diego to San Luis Obispo Pacific Surfliner also makes stops at Chatsworth.

“The Orange Line Extension is a project that improves L.A.’s transportation system by connecting different modes of public transportation to entertainment venues and employment centers,” said Richard Katz, Metrolink Board Chair and Metro Board Director. “Metrolink customers will now have a direct connection from the Chatsworth station to the Warner Center, a major employment and retail shopping destination in the San Fernando Valley and can take advantage of the Metro Orange Line connection at no additional cost with their Metrolink ticket.”

By the year 2030, the extension is expected to generate 9,000 new average weekday boardings. Metro projects the entire Metro Orange Line including the extension will generate 45,000 daily riders by 2030. When originally opened in October 2005, Orange Line ridership immediately exceeded Metro forecasts, with nearly triple the amount of daily boardings. Most recent ridership figures for May 2012 were 26,670 average weekday boardings.

“The new four mile Orange Line extension is the latest addition to Metro’s rapidly expanding transit system,” said State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills). “The Orange Line extension is a huge plus for people living and working in the San Fernando Valley, as well as improving the quality of life of residents throughout our region.”

New platforms have been added at the Canoga Station for Metro customers heading north on the extension, and a new 207-space park and ride lot has also been built at the Sherman Way Station. There will be a total of 1,075 parking spaces available at all three park & ride lots on the extension, and more than 4,000 parking spaces throughout the line.

“The Orange Line Extension is a tremendous benefit for valley commuters,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman. “It is clear evidence of the major transit improvements Measure R is enabling us to achieve for the greater LA region.”

The travel time for the busway is approximately 51 minutes from North Hollywood to the Chatsworth Station. Service will be split between North Hollywood/Warner Center and North Hollywood/Chatsworth. Peak weekday shuttle service will operate between Warner Center and Chatsworth approximately every 15 minutes.

“Bumper to bumper traffic should not be an inevitable part of our daily routines in Los Angeles where we are always one highway closure away from Carmageddon,” said Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley). “We are one step closer to providing real transit alternatives for the Valley so that people can get of their cars and on with their lives.”

Several contributing factors led to the project being completed ahead of time and under budget: a low bid during a significant economic downtown, good project management and cost savings associated with early completion.

The Metro Art program has installed art works at all Metro Orange Line stations. Tours of the stations along this line, as well as all Metro Rail stations, are available by arrangement for groups of 15 or more. For more information, visit metro.net/art.

The Orange Line Extension is a Measure R project. Fortunately, Metro was able to secure other funding to help pay for busway construction. Measure R taxpayers will benefit from $182 million that was earmarked for this transit project which can be applied to another San Fernando Valley transportation improvement in the future subject to Metro Board approval.

For additional information, visit metro.net/projects/orangeline.