Metro breaks ground on Orange Line Improvements Project

Metro today broke ground on the Metro Orange Line Improvements Project, which will improve bus speeds and safety, and prepare the bus rapid transit line in the San Fernando Valley for a future conversion to light rail.

Metro has initiated preliminary engineering and has begun taking soil samples near the Sepulveda busway intersection in Van Nuys. The soil samples are part of site investigation work that will better characterize underground soil and ground conditions where the structural supports for aerial bridges are planned to physically separate buses from street traffic below. The project will build two aerial bridges and stations as well as bike and pedestrian path grade separations at Van Nuys and Sepulveda Boulevards – two of the line’s busiest crossings.

Metro will also build four-quadrant crossing gates at up to 35 intersections between North Hollywood and Chatsworth. Other project improvements will include better traffic signal priority technology for buses to improve travel times along the 18-mile corridor.

Taken together, the project could achieve a 20 percent reduction in bus travel times, increase ridership capacity by 39 percent and virtually eliminate the potential for vehicle intrusions onto the busway while improving safety for buses, cars, pedestrians and bicyclists alike.

The $320- to $393-million transit project is funded by Measure M. Approximately $75 million of the project cost has been made available by SB-1, the state’s gas tax and vehicle fee transportation funding program that was approved by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017.

The project is scheduled in Measure M to be completed by 2025 and is one of the transit projects identified in Metro’s Twenty-Eight by ‘28 list of transportation improvements slated for completion before the arrival of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles.

Metro is now working closely with the city of Los Angeles to test four-quadrant gates for a BRT application like the Orange Line. The pilot gate will be located at the city of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services crossing that is approximately 300 yards east of Sepulveda Boulevard and will be completed in winter 2019.

In conjunction with the pilot gates, a traffic impact analysis is being conducted with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to evaluate potential impacts of crossing gates on traffic along the Orange Line corridor and to ensure that the proposed gating system meets desired speed improvements while minimizing delays for Valley cross traffic.

Metro will coordinate the project’s future connections in Van Nuys or Sepulveda with other planned transit projects, including the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project and the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project. Other planned transit projects in the area include the North San Fernando Valley Bus Rapid Transit Project, the North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Project and the 2020 electrification of all buses on the Orange Line.

Metro began its technical study for the project less than a year after voter approval of the Measure M transportation measure in 2016. The Metro Board approved project recommendations this summer.

The Orange Line is planned to be converted to light rail by 2057 unless it can be delivered sooner via a Metro public-private partnership.

For more project information, please visit https://www.metro.net/projects/orangeline/.

2 replies

  1. “Other project improvements will include better traffic signal priority technology for buses to improve travel times along the 18-mile corridor.”

    All fine and good but doesn’t adding crossing gates mean automatic preemption? I assume “signal priority” is an intermediate improvement until full crossing gate preemption is installed. Or does this mean that some intersection crossings will be left out of the project and still be signal controlled at LADOTs whim? I certainly hope not. The “up to 35 intersections” implies there is a strong possibility that not all crossings will end up getting this treatment. C’mon metro, don’t whittle this down please.

  2. If you need an intersection to test a pilot gate, why not the Tujunga crossing just outside the North Hollywood station? Buses tend to wait there forever while no cars go by.

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