Metro announced today that it has been selected to receive $2 million in Federal Transit Administration funding to begin two new transportation projects: an alternatives analysis for a premium transit service on Van Nuys Boulevard and work to improve the agency’s transit forecasting model. See the FTA’s announcement.
This latest funding notice from the FTA injects new momentum into the agency’s Measure R program and is a win for the San Fernando Valley.
The Van Nuys Corridor is a main element in the East San Fernando Valley North-South Rapidways Project, which seeks to provide better transit service on key corridors in the Valley.
For the Van Nuys Corridor project, the goal is to greatly improve mobility on Van Nuys Boulevard for about 10 miles between Ventura and Foothill Boulevards. Anyone who has ridden a bus down Van Nuys Boulevard in this area knows this street is primed for some sort of premium service.
The Van Nuys corridor consistently ranks as one of the top ten busiest bus corridors in Los Angeles County. In the Valley it is the busiest corridor. Total weekday boardings on Metro buses serving this boulevard even beat the Metro Orange Line and Ventura Metro Rapid in terms of daily ridership. (Metro has approximately 27,000 weekday boardings for buses running on Van Nuys compared to the Orange Line’s 23,500 and Ventura Rapid’s 5,500 boardings).
So what are the possible transit alternatives the Alternatives Analysis will study? Besides the obligatory No-Build and Transportation Systems Management alternatives, Metro will be looking at the following options:
- Dedicated bus lanes
- Light rail
Metro’s project planners say that any of the options short of doing nothing will impact parking along much of this portion of Van Nuys Boulevard. They also say that the study will have to evaluate ways in which the removal of parking to build the project can be mitigated, which could include — among others — off-site parking lots. The community input process should help vet these and other issues during the AA process.
The streetcar option is an intriguing prospect for Van Nuys Boulevard, creating a “Back to the Future” possibility. While not technically streetcars, the last Pacific Electric Red Car traveling on Van Nuys was taken out of service in 1952.
Metro has released its Request for Proposals to conduct the AA work and could be ready by early 2013 to recommend a project to the Metro Board of Directors.
The work to improve Metro’s transit forecasting model will help improve the way other Measure R projects like the Westside Subway Extension and Crenshaw-LAX projects model their own travel demand.