Rail concepts released for Sepulveda Transit Corridor project

pdf here

A series of three community meetings for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor project began tonight with Metro showing six initial concepts for the future rail line. The presentation is above; the boards are here — and some are posted below.

The rail concepts were developed as part of an ongoing feasibility study for the project, which aims to build a rail line between the San Fernando Valley and LAX with routes generally following the 405. Metro will release concepts for the Westside-to-LAX segment later this year.



Some things to know about the rail concepts:

•Four different types of rail are being studied — see below. Rubber tire and monorail are better able to handle steep grades and could hypothetically be built alongside the 405. The Sepulveda Pass, btw, is too steep for surface heavy rail or light rail. 

•The emphasis at this time is to look at how a Sepulveda rail line could connect to other existing or planned transit lines, including the Orange and Expo Lines, the Purple Line Extension of the subway that is currently under construction and the future East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor line between Van Nuys and the San Fernando/Sylmar Metrolink station.

•The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor will be light rail or bus rapid transit. Metro’s staff recommendation for the project is scheduled to be released later this month. 

•As the feasibility study continues for the Sepulveda corridor, Metro will take a deeper look at other potential station locations along the routes of the different concepts. And, yes, that includes a potential station closer to or possibly on the UCLA campus.  

•Measures R and M — Metro’s two most recent sales tax measures — provide about $9.8 billion for this project, which will be built in three phases. About $260 million will go toward construction of ExpressLanes on the 405 between the 10 and 101 freeways, with a scheduled opening in 2026. The next $5.7 billion is for the Valley to Westside rail segment scheduled to open in the early 2030s and the remaining $3.8 billion is for the Westside to LAX segment with a 2057 opening.

•The Valley-Westside segment is part of Metro’s Twenty Eight by ’28 Initiative that seeks to complete 28 major projects before the Olympics and Paralympics in the L.A. region in 2028. Metro is exploring whether it can accelerate the project through a public-private partnership.

•As you can see on the above maps, the big question is where to connect this project with the four other transit lines mentioned above. The concepts, I think, provide a wide variety of intriguing options.  

•Metro is working with Elon Musk’s Boring Company to ensure their Loop tunnel project doesn’t interfere with any potential alignments for the Sepulveda project. The Boring Company plans to build a test tunnel beginning near the Expo Line’s Sepulveda Station that will run south to Culver City. 

•Metro will continue evaluating these concepts and hopes to conclude the project’s feasibility study in 2019. At that time, the concepts that are deemed best and pass public muster will continue into the project’s formal environmental analyses. Among the criteria to judge the concepts: impacts on nearby communities, cost effectiveness, compatibility with local and regional plans, potential environmental effects, ridership, travel time savings and reliability.

•Many of you took our online survey about travel in the project’s study area. Here is what you had to say:


•The other two public meetings for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor project this month are:

Saturday, June 9, 2018
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center
6262 Van Nuys Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91401

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
6 p.m – 8 p.m.
Proud Bird Restaurant
11022 Aviation Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045

The June 12 meeting will have a live webcast at http://bit.ly/MetroSepulveda.

I’m sure many of you have some opinions about the concepts. Please comment or feel free to ask questions. And please share this post! 


73 replies

  1. Concept 3 with a stop at Westwood/UCLA on the westside and Ventura/Moorpark in the Valley is the best option. Please do not use the freeway alignment. This generates a missed opportunity for reaching riders close to home, creating a first/last mile problem for valley residents near the hills.

  2. I’d like to see intermediate stations at Getty Center, Skirball, and Sherman Oaks Galleria. Too often I see these discussions focusing only on commuters for work, which is of course important, but the tourist factor & weekend destinations shouldn’t be forgotten. To have a line that runs near the Getty and not stop there would be an absurdity.

    • I think the intermediate stations would slow this lin e down too much. I prepose a tram lie vehicle, run by the Getty Center, to connect with this line at either Westwood / Wilshire Station. I have ridden the bus over the pass many times, and have yet to see more than a handful of people either getting on or off at the Getty Center.
      The straighter this line runs the better, and keeping this line away from Sepelvuda, and the 405 would be best. This line shouldn’t have to curve West in order to pick up a few passangers each day, and that includes Weekends.
      A SINGLE BORE tunnel, I feel, would be the best option for this line. The “Single Bore” option would make the most sense and would be the least disruptive, as well as, probably, being the cheapest to build.

  3. Ive heard people mention this a few times “x line will reduce traffic congestion”. Sorry to break it to you, none of this is going to reduce traffic congestion. It hopefully will provide us with a viable alternative to sitting in the car, but it in no way will it reduce congestion. That really is a myth that needs to be put to bed. The only thing that has proven to reduce traffic congestion is congestion pricing. And hopefully we will have an amazing network that allows is an alternative for when congestion pricing eventually gets enacted.

  4. The “Pie in the sky” idea of HRT is NOT going to happen anytime soon! Those of you who think that BRT or HRT are the best options, just don’t see the whole picture. This line needs to be ONE continous line from the East San Fernando Valley all the way to LAX and hopefully, someday, beyond. We will soon have 2 LRT lines serving LAX, we have the Expo Line, We will have the Orange line conversion to LRT, and too many of you are ONLY thinking of going Downtown LA or somewhere along Wilshire. Most people are already traveling distances outside of those areas, with the exception of UCLA and Westwood. They are coming from the Santa Clerita Valley, They are going to LA X, El Segundo, Torance, Redondo Beach, Inglewood, Long Beach, and some are going beyond. Again this makes the most sense to have this ONE continus line from East San Fernando Valley to LA X. DO IT RIGHT, don’t make ANY PART of this corrador HRT as, due to the addced costs, it will, most likely never get built.
    Other than the present Purple line extention, When was the last time you saw an HRT line get built here in LA? I t’s just NOT cost effective to build HRT. LRT can be run at surface level WITHOUT ANY, or with minamul grade seperations, Where HRT REQUIRES either undergrounding of the entire line, or grade seperating ALL intersections. This increases the cost to, almost, or double that of LRT.

    • John, any proposed rail line built between the orange line and lax is going to be 100% grade separated regardless of mode chosen, not one part of this route nor the route of phase two to lax will be at grade.

      That functionally means that the cost differences for the mode chosen, LRT, HRT, rubber tires or monorail will come down to the size and quantity of the station platforms and attendant excavations.

      However, the ESFV LRT will be 80% at grade, which is why it is so cheap to build 15 km of rail and 14 stations.

      To insist that the entire distance from sylmar to lax, 45 km, has to be a single seat ride is a bit nuts because that means you are constraining the 15 billion dollar 100% grade separated 30 km Sepulveda Pass corridor to the limitations of the 2 billion dollar 20 % grade separated 15 km ESFV line. And the ESFV line is being built to meet the transit needs of the people living in the area of the line, it is definitely not being built for super commuters trying to get through the neighborhood as fast as possible. You do realize that if a trip is perfect, the ESFV is still going to take 38 minutes to go from sylmar to the orange line, it is not designed for (and will never have ) an anti neighborhood express bypass service you seem to think it will be used for.

      You’re saying that train frequency in west LA should be determined by the level of automobile traffic congestion crossing Van Nuys Blvd east and west our in the valley, that is kinda nuts to say that we cannot take full advantage of our fifteen billion investment because the 2 billion investment service for the local valley neighborhoods is the limiting factor.

      • First, I don’t understand km, use miles, this is the United States and we use miles ONLY.
        You have to remember that this line needs to serve LAX and the West side, NOT just the Los Angeles area.
        If we build this line as a HRT we are creating bottlenecks where people will have to park or change modes of transportation [like at the North Hollywood Red Line Station] There is NO place, anyplace near the Van Nuys Orange Line Station to put that kind of parking. However, if we build this line as LRT instead, there will be a ONE SEAT RIDE from the San Fernando Valley to West Los Angeles, LAX, and someday beyond. By having a ONE SEAT RIDE, we will take the most amount of cars off the 405, decreasing traffic congestion, in the area, overall. Isn’t that what transit is supposed to do?

        • John, I’m from the united states, and I find it far easier to use km. like the rest of the world, the obsolete and archaic system used in the united states is confusing and hard to use, unlike the metric system.

          In terms of what takes traffic off the 405, that is dependent on competition.

          If the train tunnels do the trip from Ventura BLVD to UCLA in 6 minutes 30 seconds. It is outcompeting rush hour traffic for the same distance by about 800%.

          That level of advantage over driving induces a switch to using the faster alternative.

          However, to switch you have to make tradeoffs, so individual riders will calculate the best way for them to make the switch. Most riders will not take buses as the last leg of their trip, so the destination has to be by train, if that’s their last leg, however many riders are willing to take a bus (or rideshare) to the train for the first leg of their trip.

          So that means that the entire corridor in the valley will probably be feeding onto the line from surface street bus connections (or overlapped same routes as the buses but via rideshare).

          Additionally, currently commuters using the two metrolink lines and the orange line to head to downtown LA, but their peer commuters that are heading to west LA rather than downtown, cannot use metrolink or the orange line because there is no connection, those peer commuters thus all use the freeway. Therefore we can assume that a the two metrolink lines and the orange line lines will feed the ESFV and Sepulveda tunnels the same as they do to downtown LA.

          Those are the people who are probably coming off the freeway, people who take metrolink from santa clarita or Lancaster or Ventura and transfer to the ESFV line to get into west LA.

          And those people will be taking metrolink from the locales where they live, they will not be driving from Lancaster to Sylmar and then doing park and ride and take the ESFV, they will park in lancaster and take the metrolink.

          So you’re saying we need to be building park and ride for people who won’t be parking anywhere in the area, who are parked dozens of km away, that’s a bit nuts.

          And if you’re driving from Lancaster to Sylmar to Park, are you really going to stop to park to take a train for fifty minutes to get to westwood? I doubt it, you’ll take the train from the beginning or you’ll just continue to drive.

  5. Actually, here’s an improvement to Concept 6: HRT with a wye at Westwood Station.

    The northern branch would head north to the SF Valley, with a stop at UCLA. The western branch would continue to the VA and then head south.

    • I second that. And the station should be along Westwood Plaza between Strathmore Pl and Bruin Walk, with entrances on both ends of course. Whether the WYE would be west or east of Westwood station I suppose would depend on projected ridership patterns. I would lean towards the west side of it though.

  6. Concept 6 (HRT Purple Line Extension) is the best! It provides a full connection between all three directions (Downtown-Valley, Downtown-Expo, Valley-Expo).

    I understand the argument in favor of monorail or bus (it can go over the Sepulveda Pass). But I really think HRT subway is the way to go, because of the possibility of direct connection to the existing Purple Line, soon to be one of the busiest subways in North America.

    My only problem with this: it lacks a stop directly on the UCLA campus. Thousands of students, faculty and staff would take the subway, guaranteed. And this would remove so much traffic from the streets of Westwood Village.

  7. I think Concept 6 is amazing. My only issue with it is the lack of stops at UCLA and Ventura Blvd.

    Youve got to get to the west Valley. The potential ridership from there is huge. And, youve got to include a southern branch too, to connect Purple, Expo, Crenshaw, Green and LAX.

    This concept does it all. And it does it transfer free!

    BTW, notice that Concept 6 includes all three routings (LA-Valley, LA-Expo, Valley-Expo). In other words, a full 3-direction wye. Apparently some commenters criticizing this concept didn’t read this correctly.

  8. Only HRT or LRT should be considered since they will allow further expansion with more stations. The monorails and rubber-tire cannot deal with heavy traffic at peak times. They also don’t need another technology to service. I certainly hope there’s a LAX connection in the future. It must find a way to join with the Green Line although maybe another parallel line should offer another way to connect future south to San Pedro.

  9. It seems a little bit like tail is wagging dog. The ESFV line is very important, but this line is even more important. I think we should pick the mode for this one, and then if necessary upgrade the ESFV to heavy rail, not say this one needs to match the ESFV’s LRT.

    Also, I think there should be some better long range planning. It seems like we are picking the mode, line per line.

    HRT Lines:
    Purple line from Santa Monica to Artesia (extend further west and then down the WSAB).
    Red line from Burbank Airport (extended from North Hollywood) down Vermont (the new line)
    New Line from Sylmar to LAX

    That then begins to create a HRT high capacity core that the LRT lines can fill out.

    I don’t understand why their isn’t a comprehensive “dream map” of what this system is supposed to look like 50 years from now. It doesn’t need to have the exact alignments, but some rough ideas so we can better plan how the lines will interact.

    • Agreed. Piecemeal like this doesn’t result in the optimized coordination of lines that is necessary to solve users unique a to b journeys. Key is to make a fast efficient system that reduces transfers. What is necessary to create a system that anyone can get anywhere in the city in under 2 transfers and under 30 minutes? Start with the ideal customer experience target and engineer the lines and modality back from that aspirational target. The customer experience is the limpus test for success. Currently people aren’t using available metro lines because it’s too slow, so its necessary to br thoughtful about how this all links together and to optimize the network for speed.

      • That’s exactly what I’ve been saying all along. The BEST way to build this line is LRT due to the costs. Additionally, I don’t see why this line, along with the ESV line couldn’t be built in such a way that at a future date we can include EXPRESS trains.

  10. The line should definitely be LRT and run a continuous train from the ESFV LRT to at least Wilshire Westwood, but it is probably far better for all of Los Angeles to extend the purple line to lax.

    This would necessitate a transfer at Wilshire Westwood to get to lax from the ESFV LRT, but purple line headways will be every four minutes (or less), so this should not be a problem.

    Additionally, many will be transferring to get to west la or century city or Beverly Hills or mid City on the purple line, so lax will just have to be like one of those destinations, require a transfer.

    • Adam’s suggestion makes the most sense actually. It checks a lot of the boxes for which people have been asking for years.
      The Purple Line would then intersect with every line (other than Orange, which hits the Red). From West to East:
      Green & Crenshaw South @LAX
      Expo/East LA @Bundy
      Sepulveda Pass @Westwood
      Crenshaw North @Fairfax or LaBrea
      Red @Vermont
      Long Beach/Montclair @7th/Metro
      WSAB — somewhere downtown

      • Only thing they should have done before is double track the purple line in each direction first. If the purple line was extended to lax, the line would run into chronic over crowding and delays. Putting that amount of traffic on one line for a city the size of LA would potentially cripple it.

  11. As I understand it, the Orange Line is going to, eventually, run from Chatseorth to Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena. This line is, already, scheduled to be LRT so it would be impossible for the Red Line to go to Chatsworth. There have several proposals to extend the Red Line from North Hollywood to San Fernando and Sylmar. I don’t know if they are still on the books or not.
    Because this line [Sepelviea Pass] needs to go to BOTH Sylmar and LAX, it needs to be LRT. We don’t need another type of technogoly that is incompatible with existing systems and vehicles. The San Fernando Valley deserves a single ride from, at least, the central valley all the way to LAX and beyond, if possible.
    What they don’t need is something that will force them to make multiple transfers. The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor is, already planned to be LRT and this line needs to tie into that in order to have a seamless system. We DO NOT need another bottleneck, where you are forced to change modes, like the one we have in North Hollywood.
    Build this line right, build it LRT, or don’t build it at all.
    Having this line HRT makes no sense, since it would force people going North of the Van Nuys Orange Line Station, to transfer to another mode of transportation just to go farther into the Valley. HRT will just create more confusion and it won’t solve the problems with this corridor. Like it has been said, having 2 purple Line destinations is just going to confuse the public. There is an old saying, and METRO should adhere to it, KISS [keep it simple stupid]
    I do agree with the idea of a single bore tunnel,as they are doing, for BART, in San Jose.

  12. I’d want the extension of the purple line option. Less transfers equals faster travel times. Speed from my A to B is the most important criteria. I’d hope that this corridor would service two lines: the purple line extension and some future north south heavy rail line going to LAX.

    • Depends on where you are going. Going direct from the Valley to Wilshire/Westwood and transferring to the Purple line for Century City or points east would probably be faster than heading west and making a grand curve to get to Wilshire VA and then proceeding east to Wilshire Westwood/Century City/points east. The distance is just that much longer.

      Add in that the purple line is limited in frequency because it shares tracks with the red line, and then if it diverges again as in Option 6 with half the trains going south to Expo/LAX and half going North to the Valley would mean you would have to wait a LONG time for a train. Assuming there is a train out of Union Station every 5 minutes(12 trains an hour), only one in 4 would be going through the Sepulveda Pass, one every 20 minutes(3 trains per hour)

      • The idea of a Purple line going East into the valley just doesn’t make sense. Again, we need ONE train and ONE train only going from The East San Fernando Valley all the way to LAX. What we DO NOT need is a train that will go from somewhere in the San Fernando Valley and then curving West to go to the VA and then curving back to go back to downtown LA. If you have HRT you either MUST grade seperate ALL crossings or put the entire line underground. This, almost, doubles the cost of construction and METRO doesn’t have that kind of money. Those of you proposing this line as HRT need to think about costs. The more it costs, the less likely it is to get built. The BEST way for this line would be to have it LRT all the way from Sylmar to LAX. There will still be places where, due to traffic, this line will have to be undergrounded, but doesn’t mean that the whole line has to go underground, as would be the case with HRT.
        Yes, I agree, that this line needs to have station at Ventura & Van Nuys because it is a major transfer point, as it is, and will, in years to come just become an even bigger one. One continous line from East Valley to LA X as it will provide the fastest service, with the fewest transfers to areas on the West side, LAX, and all the west side. Having 2 HRT lines running into the Valley just doesn’t make any sense, as they will be non-compatable with other modes either proposed, or in the Valley.
        Making this line LR T just makes the most sense transit wise!

        • Lrt does provide the capacity and speeds a line like this would need. We should be avoiding at-grade lines at all costs. The number 1 reason people do not use the network is it is not fast enough from their A to B.

  13. I like the idea of extending the Purple Line to the valley. Although, I feel the ESFV should be completely HRT to be honest. I’m curious to know if it’s possible to build a single bore tunnel that would have a third rail in between. If LRT and HRT could be tied in together, LRT would be a straight shot from Sylmar down to LAX while the HRT can hook in north from the VA station to run in the center as an express train towards the van nuys orange line. The HRT would run on selected trips based off the 2-4 minute frequency. Transfers are gonna be made regardless. If that’s a no go, I would still consider having both LRT and HRT run north in the valley, just extended the Purple Line underground to Cal State Northridge instead while the LRT remains either aerial or underground with its original concept (4). I’m pretty sure the BRT in the valley will pick up more steam if this were to happen. The SM/Barrington, Expo/Bundy station connections are a great idea as well. I look forward to seeing the southern portion of concepts for this line. Based off the future system map, hopefully this line will run towards the new NFL stadium in inglewood and back on to the “Metro Owned” tracks of Slauson to connect to the Blue, WSAB and the Gold (if and when it’s extended to Whitter) lines. Still hopeful for an Arts District station extension as well!!!

    Side Bar: Does anyone else think metro should extend the red line from its terminus in NoHo to Chatsworth via the orange line? Just food for thought.

    • NO, the Orange line is planned to be converted to LRT and extended to Burbank, Glendale, and Pasadena

      • Hi John;

        The conversion of the Orange Line to light rail is part of Metro’s Measure M program — although not scheduled until the 2050s under the Measure M spending plan. That could change if — and it’s a big ‘if’ — Metro can find a way to accelerate more projects. As for the NoHo to Pas segment, that will be bus rapid transit. Planning studies are underway and that project. More here: https://www.metro.net/projects/bus-rapid-transit-studies/.

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

    • Extending a rail line to a stadium that’s used only 20-30 days a year doesn’t make financial sense. Shuttles from the Green, Crenshaw and possible Future valley line would suffice.

      In an ideal world, the Red Line would go west and connect with the northern Purple extension in Van Nuys to create a loop. West of The 405, even light rail might be overkill. But, as Steve H says below, it’s likely light rail to Chatsworth from NoHo.

  14. The ONLY BEST option is the Purple line extending to that part of LA……..

  15. Sure the tie-in with the Purple Line is nice, except now there will be 2 HRT lines going to the valley from Downtown, both of which won’t directly connect to the 2 other rail lines operating in the Valley, so yeah, PASS. LRT is the only way to go at this point. If Metro failed to provide a direct LAX-LAUS rail connection, then at least Hollywood, Westwood, Santa Monica, and the Valley should get it.

    You know, as much as I would blame Metro if there if in the end we have to deal with 3 different modes of transit from Sylmar to LAX, I would actually put the blame on the people themselves for advocating for HRT on this line, as that is a clear example of how LA is going nowhere in terms of transportation instead of realizing that this one rail line, once all 3 pieces are tied together under the same mode, can demonstrate how efficient public transit can truly be. But ultimately knowing how Metro can’t even punch in numbers correctly, I heavily doubt this will be HRT, but I can’t say the same for SFV though.

    If by a miracle it does turn out to be LRT, at least the valley can stop complaining about how they have no rail, and they can get one that will one day go to LAX and the South Bay.

  16. I love northbound option #6, it looks like by far the most powerful vision for reducing travel time. Monorail is also exciting because seeing it zoom overhead while stuck in traffic is terrific advertising for the system as a whole.

    The one mile southern segment leaves a LOT to be desired – it splits the whole system into three different lines, meaning people are going to be waiting at platforms as purple lines pass them by because they’re going to the ‘wrong’ destination.

    I checked the length of the southern segment, it’s only 1.2 miles.
    That’s not much farther than the longest moving walkway in the world.
    I’d imagine one mile of underground pedestrian tunnels with conveyer belts would be a hell of a lot cheaper than a mile of heavy rail. There are ‘faster’ moving walkways like the Toronto Pearson Travolator.
    I’m sure Metro can engineer it to keep the travel time comparable to the rail headway.

  17. Quick question about the trip origin/destination data used in the presentation: is it only for commutes (e.g. from Census LODES), or is it for a broader set of trips? If the latter, I’d love to know where that data can be accessed.

    • One thing to keep in mind is that transit usage in this corridor is severely depressed in any study that crunches the numbers because there are minimal transit options that traverse this corridor effectively. So even if there is a lot of transit dependent riders they’re basically locked out of using the corridor. neither side can access the other side. This is partially why the freeway is so severely congested, there are no other options.

      This is functionally creating a new north south arterial in an area of profound latent demand, and it’s very exciting from a potential ridership point of view.

      A LRT train traveling a 5.4 mile long nonstop tunnel between UCLA/sunset and Ventura/vanNuys 65 mph with acceleration and deceleration should make the 5.4 mile trip in about SIX minutes.

      When was the last time you managed to drive the 6 miles of the 405 of the Sepulveda Pass between Ventura and sunset in six minutes?

      In light traffic it takes eighteen minutes to go those six miles, in rush hour it takes about fifty minutes to go those six miles, so you’re looking at the train out competing the freeway on travel time by a 300% factor at the fast end, and about 850% faster during rush hour.

      • I’m fully with you on the benefits – this is a really exciting project. Just curious if they’re using a dataset I don’t already know about, because if so I’d love to play around with it 🙂

        • In light traffic, the drive from the 101/405 interchange to the 405/10 takes 10 minutes. I do it often and do that stretch before 6am to get early morning flights out of LAX. It has never taken 18 minutes to do that stretch in light traffic.

  18. Is it possible to run HRT and LRT in the same tunnels? In principle it should be: the track gauge is the same, and there should be enough clearance between subway vehicles and the overhead catenary, and between light rail vehicles and the third rail. The main issue would be a gap between the light rail vehicles and station platforms, but this can be solved with extenders that deploy automatically at the relevant stations; we’re talking about vehicles that won’t be put into service for at least another 10 years. (Also, is the platform height the same?) Building the tunnels and stations for joint HRT/LRT operation probably won’t add too much to the construction costs, and leaves interesting possibilities for the future, for example connection to both the Purple Line and to Expo/East SFV (even if initially only one of the connections gets built).

    • This is a good idea and would combine the benefits of having LRT and HRT in one build-out for very little additional cost. The platform height is slightly lower for LRT, about 6 inches lower (HRT is 45 inches, LRT is 39 inches.) However, this could be solved by having small gradual dips to a lower level in the platform specifically placed between where doors would be on HRT cars so as not to overlap/conflict with their entry points. Dips would be better than just a closed ramp with rails so as not to cause overcrowding at entry points. LRT trains would simply pull up to the proper spot along the platform to align with the lower platform sections, so long as spacing between doors, between HRT and LRT overlapping, would permit.

  19. Concept 3 (Light rail with a connection at the Van Nuys Orange Line station) seems like the best idea to me, especially if the East SFV corridor is built as light rail up Van Nuys. I especially like the idea that every other train would go just from the Orange Line to the Expo Line.

    That said, if the board does select heavy rail, is it at all feasible to connect from the Expo line at Bundy to both the VA and Westwood Purple Line stations? Presumably it would run on Purple Line track between the two. I honestly don’t know if that could work given geography, track switching, etc.

    No matter which option is chosen, I have to agree with other commentors that a station at Ventura seems almost mandatory. Perhaps Metro could eminent domain one of the two gas stations at Ventura/Van Nuys?

  20. I understand that this may be built in phases. But how come the various concepts only extent south to the Expo Line? Shouldn’t the concepts extend down the whole study area to LAX and see what mode (HRT, LRT) works best for the whole area and best connects with all the other system lines (Green, Crenshaw)?

    • Hi GH;

      Another set of concepts will be released later this year for the Expo-to-LAX segment. You make a good point and the project team is certainly keeping those considerations in mind!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  21. Hybrid Concept 4 and Concept 6.

    Hybrid part of concept 4 is: Branched LRT service from the Orange Line Sepulveda and Van Nuys Stations (and future Van Nuys LRT line), Service to UCLA and Wilshire /Westwood (potentially to expo, but my below detailed hybrid of concept 6 would cover the connection to expo)

    10 trains per hour on each LRT branch, so Twenty trains per hour through the Sepulveda pass or a capacity of about 8000 people per hour, each direction, equivalent to four new lanes of traffic (each direction).

    That would be 24,000 people each 180 minute rush hour period, daily, each direction. With only 3 car LRT, higher capacity possible if 4 car LRT, but the Van Nuys LRT cannot be built with 4 car platforms, so 4 cars are out.

    That would provide a single seat service from Sylmar to the purple line. that would mean that commuters coming from Lancaster could access west LA with a single transfer from Metro Link to the Van Nuys line.

    And commuters coming from Ventura or even Santa Barbara could access west LA with a single transfer from metro link to the van nuys line.

    Access to LAX, Brentwood, and Century City would be furnished by a second transfer to the purple line at Wilshire Westwood.

    That creates a lot of transit alternatives for commuters that simply does not exist right now as there is virtually no transit service, Since MANY MANY of the commuters using the 405 are coming from the north and the west, the single seat ride on the Van Nuys line gives them many, many options and could seriously decrease car traffic on the 405.

    My Hybrid part of concept 6 is: Purple line extension from the VA to LAX.

    This would entail purple line stations at

    Wilshire / Barrington

    Santa Monica / Bundy

    Expo line Bundy station (Pico and Olympic)

    This would cover what metro’s proposed phase one of the Sepulveda Pass project covers, Later this summer they’re going to put out similar proposals for phase 2 that go from Expo to LAX

    This is how I would have my hybrid of concept 6 extend for sepulveda pass phase 2 to LAX

    Centinela / Venice-Washington

    Centinela / Jefferson

    Sepulveda / Howard Hughes

    LAX!!! @ Aviation / 96th

    Century City / Prairie (Hollywood Park, new Inglewood stadium, the Forum)

    Note, Both the Sepulveda Tunnel between Westwood and the Orange Line, and my proposed purple line extension to LAX should be built in the style of San Jose BART extension and Barcelona line 9: As a Single Bore, 43 foot diameter tunnel.

    Both train tracks fit in the single tunnel, and the station platform fits in the tunnel too. The tunnel happens at a depth of 60 feet, which is below most building footings, and below all utilities, stations are excavated on street corners, not under the street, with construction impacts very similar to building the footing for a skyscraper (minimal street closures, no utility relocation).

    That means we could build the next subway extension without ever having to coordinate six agencies over four years to relocate utilities through an extremely complicated built out West LA, the complications of utilities around LAX, or the even more subterraneanly complicated UCLA campus. A single bore tunnel will be below all that nonsense.

    Additionally, A rail tunnel under Bel Aire is going to be opposed by the billionaires that live in bel Aire. Why? Because every 500 feet in traditional dual bore construction, there has to be an Emergency cross passage constructed. That means jet grouting has to stabilize the soil every 500 feet for dual bore construction. That means tons of construction equipment up in the billionaires business for four years.

    That means building enormously expensive road access built through the unbuilt canyons so that heavy construction equipment can be moved in to do jet grouting every 500 feet. And all that disruption means massive environmental impacts from the construction, and environmental lawsuits to stop it.

    And ALL of that is avoided by going single bore because the tunnel is large enough for emergency accessways, so there is no need to build cross passages, jet grouting is only needed for single bore on each end of the station, otherwise the tunnel is sealed completely, and it quietly tunnels under Bel Aire, and under the canyon while never once disturbing the billionaires nor the environment.

    Single Bore means No construction access roads in the canyons, no heavy equipment in the canyons, no construction in Bel Aire whatsoever.

    Politically, single bore should be a slam dunk, and it is probably the only way that this rail tunnel will ever be built.

    (note, the branch to Sepulveda Orange Line in concept 4 (1.1 miles) should be built on an Aerial pergola structure, similar to the High Speed Rail’s amazing pergola they’re building in a similar situation. This could potentially allow the orange line to continue to run with minimal disruptions)

  22. If this line is to, eventually go to LAX than it needs to be LRT and NOT HRT, as some have proposed. This line, for purposes of compatability, ease of use, maintanence needs to be LRT. A stop, on the UCLA campus, either near Sunset or near Westwood & Le Conte would be best. The FIRST PHASE of this project should run from the Van Nuys Orange line station to the Expo/Sepelveda Station. This would get the most passangers, as well as, make the most sense transportation wise. Future exentions, would be the East San Fernando Transit Corridor, as well as extentions to LAX and, possibly beyond.

  23. Option 3, LRT as a continuation of the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor (hopefully also LRT) would be the best choice. Terminating short of the rest of the Valley would result in another demand issue like the North Hollywood Red Line station where parking is full at that station because it’s the closest Metro Rail station to many Valley residents, having a one-seat ride deeper into the Valley would help to spread out the demand, also for those connecting via local buses in the Valley won’t have to put up with another transfer similar to taking a local bus in the Valley, transferring to the Orange Line, then transferring to the Red Line.

  24. Again we see stupidity coming from the inexperienced MTA staff. They have no knowledge of actual bus or train operation but instead rely on concepts dirived from books and other printed material. I suggest they go down to the MTA Library and see what has worked in the past in Los Angeles. They would learn a 30 second headway was possible when streetcars and interurbans were operated via sight only. One still see’s this type of operation on the “F” Line in san Francisco today. In addition they would see operating via steep hills was possible with rail vehicles. P.E. traveled to Mt. Lowe as well as over Cahuenga Pass for many years. Lastly, it’s time the MTA be proactive instead of reactive when planning light rail. If they had been proactive the problems with the operation of the Seventh and Flower Light rail Station could have been addressed before the Expo Line was added to it’s operation. I’m still wondering how they are going to address the Expo Line Yard capacity issue if the Gold Line is physically severed adjacent to Little Tokyo. Where are the Gold Line East L.A. cars going to stored since the Expo Line Yard is operating at capacity at this time. The yard is located in a small industrial area that leaves little to no room to expand.

  25. At first I would say option 3 or 4 would be the best because you have to remember this needs to connect down to LAX at some point, and is they use HRT, that may never happen. But I do also love the Purple line tie in… so what if the tie in the purple line and have trains that go from Arts District (maybe someday) to East SFV, from Arts District to LAX via Sepulveda, and trains that go from LAX to East SFV all HRT!?? That would make LAX a great transfer hub to get to the North, east, south, and DTLA.

    • for trains to go from LAX to the east valley unless they’d have to change the junction at Vermont. Speaking of which, the Red Line could go from North Hollywood to Vermont/Gage while Purple A goes Arts District to LAX and Purple B goes Arts to Sherman Oaks

  26. Read through these options. I’m someone who commutes daily between Northridge and El Segundo. The key failures of all of them is that they don’t take into account commuters who live in the Valley and work in the Playa Vista/LAX/South Bay regions. Providing some form of connection to the line that will connect down to LAX and El Segundo could be a big start towards that. But don’t just stop at the Expo line, or the line will be useless to lots of commuters.

    • Hi Daniel —

      Fair point. I think in the future those connections will be there, the key phrase admittedly being “in the future.” This project will eventually connect to LAX, where it could connect to the Green Line and Crenshaw/LAX. The Green Line will also eventually run to Torrance. So there are plans, although it may not happen until the late 2050s — depending on when the connection to LAX can be accelerated. There is also another long-term project — the Crenshaw Northern Extension — that would extend the Crenshaw Line to the Purple Line and then north. That project is slated for completion in the late 2040s under the current Measure M timeline.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  27. Really glad to see that all the options include connections to the Expo Line! This sort of connectivity just impoves the system overall but Metro has skimped on it in the past.

  28. The Purple Line Extension concept is the best option in my opinion, although some changes could make it much stronger. Tunneling under Wilshire and under the SM mountains are two of Metro’s largest investments and it would be illogical not to connect the two tunnels.

    The only major downside of the PL extension concept is the lack of a centrally-located UCLA station. Why not move the junction from the VA station to Wilshire/Westwood? This way, trains could pass directly under UCLA between the valley and Expo/Bundy, or between the valley and downtown.

  29. The line has to hit Expo/Bundy via Barrington/Santa Monica. Let’s fix the mistake Metro made ending the Purple Line at the VA (and next to the 405) and actually put stations some distance West of the 405 to ease the Westside traffic. As the survey showed, Brentwood/West LA and Santa Monica are the two most popular destinations (not including LAX), so it’s pretty clear the line should actually go to those areas. West of the 405 deserves it now based on population/jobs, but also look at everything in the construction pipeline–the need is going to be that much greater when the Sepulveda Line actually goes live. And for the love of god, please don’t put stations at Sepulveda–we’ve already seen that putting lines that hug a freeway are far less successful than lines that are a reasonable distance away from the freeway.

    • This is def. true. How on Earth was the VA deemed the spot to end the Purple Line? With Measure R, they said they screwed up the Metro Long Range Plan language and said the Purple Line could only go to Westwood. But instead of fixing this in Measure M, it was left alone somehow. The VA is nearly impossible to access and the roads are backed up a mile from here yet as we see in these surveys people want to go West of the 405.

      I think the better to solution is to have this line end at Westwood, but extend the Purple Line to Bundy.

  30. Let’s not introduce a third vehicle type to learn, train on, maintain. Let’s stick to LRT or HRT please. Interconnectivity with either Purple or ESF will make the system so much stronger. Loved the notion of it being an HRT Purple line extension – then you just keep tunneling.

    If it was LRT, you could surface at division 14 for more train maintenance and moves management options.

  31. With the VA Hospital being the furthest west the Purple Line will go, the more rail service west of the 405, the better. Connecting to the Expo at Bundy, rather than Sepulveda gains commercial and population centers at Sawtelle and Barrington.

    With Metro possibly pursuing a Purple Line extension to the Valley (what would that do to headways) seems like it will never reach Santa Monica.

    Heavy rail. Only.

  32. Great to see Metro considering the purple line tie-in. That would really maximize the utility of this line as heavy rail. It would be the fastest and have the highest capacity. The second best option here after concept 6 is concept 4. It may have lower capacity but it has plenty else going for it since it is close in speed, and ties in to both the east valley corridor AND the orange line (future LRT). A single LRT maintenance facility can serve both routes. It would also be wise to add a connector track between this line and the expo line, if built as LRT, in order to more easily move rolling stock around and to be able to use its maintenance facility. I might even suggest a direct tie-in for revenue service much in the way a purple line tie-in would work for HRT. The rubber-tired metro option has its advantages but besides it’s capacity vs. LRT, it’s ability to climb steep grades is constrained by the fact that its routing is inferior anyways due to its lower top speed and curves, as well as said incompatibilities. The same goes for monorail minus the capacity (although a Disney style monorail would admittedly look cool ; – ) ). But yeah, the straight underground tunnel is still the best option.

    As far as stations are concerned it would be wise for Metro to add a station at Ventura blvd. at minimum. It would be great at both Sepulveda and Van Nuys if possible, although I understand how that would complicate routing. In any case it’s the primary east-west commercial and residential corridor for the south valley. A connection / access point there is a must.

  33. Concept 3, especially if East SFV is LTR and it should be. Build it. Bring on the Westside to LAX concepts. Mar Vista/Playa Vista needs a real connection to transit ASAP.

  34. I strongly support a HRT for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor project with concept one that connects Westwood/ UCLA station and Expo/ Sepulveda station. Rubber tire transit is basically similar to heavy rail transit, unless it performs similar functions and has less construction budget than heavy rail transit, I would not recommend it. Also your light rail system only travels 55 mph max not 65 mph, and majority of light rail runs below that speed. and does each car of heavy rail and light rail have the same capacity (135 passengers), I think heavy rail is capable of at least 200 passengers per car.

  35. This transit corridor MUST connect with the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor, as well as, be the same type of vehicle. I believe that this project should be light rail and NOT BRT. Additionally, I feel that turning this line slightly East around Sunset would be best and easiest to bring this line closest to UCLA. Turning this line South, either under UCLA or under Veteran would be the best concept and attract the most passangers with stops on the UCLA Campus and another at Westwood/Wilshire. Again these would bring in the most passangers with the least amount of disruption to the area. I like the idea of having every other train continue North to the San Fernando/Sylmar Metrolink Station. Again, I feel that the Northern point of this line should be both the Van Nuys Orange Line Station and the San Fernando Sylmar Metrolink Station.

    • But why MUST it? That area up the SFV isn’t nearly as dense. If the ESFV project is LRT, It could potentially become one with the orange line.

    • •Four different types of rail are being studied — see below. Rubber tire and monorail are better able to handle steep grades and could hypothetically be built alongside the 405. The Sepulveda Pass, btw, is too steep for surface heavy rail or light rail.

  36. A straight shot from Expo/Sepulveda through Wilshire/Westwood up to the Van Nuys Orange line station seems like the most straight-forward to me. I would add a station somewhere on UCLA’s campus (near Sunset Blvd.), one on Ventura and Van Nuys in Sherman Oaks, and maybe one on Santa Monica/Sepulveda in West LA in addition to the transfer points on the Orange, Expo, and Purple Lines. UCLA and Wilshire/Westwood would be a huge part of ridership from the Valley I think, with some 30,000 to 40,000 employed around that area, a large portion would be coming that way. Think about it, a ten to fifteen minute ride from Sherman Oaks or Van Nuys to UCLA in the morning? It will be a godsend!

    • I would add that I would go with HRT (Concept 1), there will be enough volume from the Valley to justify it, especially when this line gets extended to LAX in the future (think of the traffic on the 405 between the 105 and the 10, just awful). I would also argue that this should be extend beyond the Orange line to the Van Nuys Metrolink, but that probably will conflict with the East SFV line that is being developed.

      • The point of this line and the SFV line is for both to become one. This is why LRT is now the only way to go. Why force people to hop on a bus, then transfer to a train to continue south when the line can continuous from Sylmar to Westwood and eventually LAX?

        • I would argue for HRT all the way up to Sylmar, but that is too expensive I guess. I just don’t think LRT will have the capacity to satisfy the demand along the Sepulveda corridor. The volume of humanity that travels in that corridor is gargantuan. Transit-wise, you have to consider the amount of people who will feed the Sepulveda line via the Orange, ESFV, Expo, Purple, Green/Crenshaw line in addition to those choosing transit over cars in the Valley, West LA, Culver City, Westchester, etc. A 2-3 car LRT car every 6 mins will not be able to satisfy that, in my opinion.

        • I have to agree with TinLA for heavy rail. When completed this would be one of the most used corridors in the Metro system, and sending 3-4 car length light rail cars, even with short headways will not do. SF is learning this the hard way with their light rail MUNI cars.

    • I attended the community meeting last week. The main takeaway for me was that metro proposals did not take into consideration expansion to Santa Clarita valley. I can understand not including this in the first phase but any plan should make it a priority to be able to build out to the north in the future. This being said, it seems that some of the options being proposed would be eliminated, de facto.
      Also, none of the proposals have potential costs associated with it. When we buy a car or house we look at the cost first and eliminate what is unreasonable before narrowing choices and making final decisions. Why not here.

      • I don’t feel that we need to build the Metrorail system out to the Santa Clerita Valley, we already have Metrolink and it doesn’t make sense to continue this rail to the North.
        I agree, with you, on another point, that being cost estaments. Why pick something that we can’t afford or in other ways unrealistic. That’s what I call “pie in the sky” dreams. Let’s be realistic, HRT will cost way too much and NEVER be completed.
        Why would you want a station at Santa Monica & Sepulveda when there is already one on the Expo Line at Sepulveda?

      • Lancaster/Palmdale. Santa Clarita. Newhall Ranch. Centennial City. All basically bedroom communities for the West Side, with combined population over one million. Would be amazingly shortsighted not to envision an easy tie-in between Metrolink near Sylmar/San Fernando and a Sepulveda Corridor project. There’s a reason that the 405 is so much worse from South Bay to the Newhall Pass than any other freeway in SoCal.