Metro recently held workshops to update the community on the status of the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor study — the before-and-after renderings shown above were presented at the workshops.
The study is evaluating alternatives aimed at improving north-south transit along the Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Road corridors between the Orange Line and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station.
Please take the time to scroll through the presentation (below), which was compiled using information from new conceptual engineering and ridership/cost estimates done as part of the work toward completing the project’s draft environmental study.
Six alternatives are being studied. They are:
•Curb-running bus rapid transit.
•Median-running bus rapid transit.
•Median-running light rail.
•Median-running low-floor train that can be boarded from street level (i.e. no platforms are needed).
•Transportation Systems Management improvements (i.e. road, intersection and traffic signal improvements).
•The legally-required no-build alternative.
At this time, the project has about $170 million in funding reserved through Metro’s Long-Range Transportation Plan, which includes $68 million from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. As with other Metro projects, this isn’t enough money to cover the cost of any of the four transit alternatives under study (see page 37 of the presentation). Some extra funds will need to be identified from other local, state and/funor federal sources.
While the presentation shows that light rail would offer the quickest trips and is forecast to receive the most boardings, it’s also the most expensive at $2.7 billion owing in part to an underground section along Van Nuys Boulevard and a maintenance yard for light rail vehicles that would be required since this leg wouldn’t be connected to the rest of Metro’s light rail system.
What does all this mean? The Metro Board will eventually have to make a big decision about this project: pursue one of the less costly alternatives that could be funded and built relatively soon or delay the project for a pricier alternative to be built later if and when funding can be identified.
Another issue to keep in mind: the study area for this project also overlaps with the study area for the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor that is evaluating options to improve travel in a corridor between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside.
That project is still early in the planning stages. Formal environmental planning has not yet begun for this project that has about $1 billion in Measure R funds available. Metro is looking at possible alternatives to deliver this project including the potential of a public private partnership. The two project study teams are consulting with one another for an obvious reason: the projects need to consider how they might link in the San Fernando Valley.
Meanwhile, the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project is focused on Van Nuys Boulevard from the Orange Line north because that’s where the largest concentration of transit riders are located. This part of Van Nuys Boulevard is also where buses are slowest and experience the most delays.