Four refined concepts (above) have been released for the Metro project that will build a fast, high-capacity transit line between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside through the Sepulveda Pass. Three of the four are heavy rail — i.e. the type of trains used on Metro’s Red/Purple Line subway — and the other concept is a monorail.
The refined concepts are part of an ongoing Feasibility Study for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor project, which has nearly $10 billion in overall funding from Metro’s Measure R and M sales tax measures and other sources. Here is a new presentation; many of the slides are included in this post.
Before diving into the concepts, I think there are two slides worth mulling as both show the importance and benefits of the project. The first shows that this line is being designed to be fast — faster than driving the 405 over the Sepulveda Pass much of the time.
The second slide shows the estimated ridership of each concept. To put the numbers in perspective, the Red/Purple Line is currently Metro’s busiest rail line and averages about 138,000 boardings per weekday.
As for the refined concepts, here is some more information:
•Metro has a separate Measure R and M project that will build a light rail line between the Orange Line’s Van Nuys Station and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station via Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Road. That project is named the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor and has already been approved by the agency’s Board of Directors and is due to begin construction in 2022.
•A planning challenge for the Sepulveda Project has been figuring out whether it’s best to extend the Van Nuys light rail line to the Westside to allow a one-seat ride or use a different type of train and build a good, easy transfer between the two lines.
•Metro staff determined that light rail doesn’t offer as much future capacity for the Sepulveda Line as heavy rail or monorail. Why? Light rail has shorter trains and smaller rail cars. Therefore, staff are proposing to eliminate that concept from further study.
•Modeling by Metro shows that the Sepulveda rail project would also greatly increase ridership on the Van Nuys-to-Sylmar/San Fernando light rail line because it provides a reliable way for passengers to reach the Sepulveda line.
•Ridership, in fact, would exceed capacity on the southern part of that light rail line, the reason that the remaining four concepts for the Sepulveda project go to the Van Nuys Metrolink Station. The idea is to intercept the ridership demand on the Van Nuys line before light rail trains get too crowded.
•The monorail concept wouldn’t need as much tunneling (which is expensive) as the three heavy rail concepts, but a monorail would be slower and has lower ridership estimates than the other concepts. Here is more about each of the refined concepts — click on each slide to see a larger version:
•Metro is working with UCLA to find a station location for the Sepulveda line on campus. On the above maps, that station is represented by the dot near Sunset Boulevard. That dot will likely move.
•The refined concepts have a transfer between the Sepulveda line and the Purple Line at Wilshire/Westwood Station — which ridership modeling showed is the best place for the transfer point.
•An earlier concept from last June that would have extended the Purple Line from the Westwood/VA Station to the San Fernando Valley was dropped due to lower ridership. The problem: such an extension veers too far west and, thus, would have missed an on-campus UCLA station.
•Metro is still working on whether the first segment of the Sepulveda Project would terminate at the Expo Line’s Bundy or Sepulveda stations. There would be no station on the Sepulveda Line between the Purple Line and Expo Line because modeling showed low ridership potential.
•Metro is seeking to build the Sepulveda Project in time for the 2028 Olympics and Paralympics. That will require accelerating the current funding and building a very big and very complicated project at a very rapid pace.
•Under Measure M, the second phase of the Sepulveda project between the Expo Line and LAX is not due to break ground until 2048. Still, Metro is studying initial concepts for that segment to ensure that the first phase is built in such a way that it can continue south. Click on each slide below to see a larger version.
•All concepts for the LAX segment propose to terminate at the Aviation/96th Street Station that Metro will soon build near LAX. That station will serve trains along the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line and will be the transfer point to the LAX people mover that will take passengers to the airport terminals.
•Finally, this slide explains where we are in the Feasibility Study process. The Metro Board will review the alternatives identified in this study and decide which advance to the project’s formal environmental studies. Metro hopes to begin the environmental studies in early 2020.
And, the project’s history to date:
What do you think of the refined concepts, readers and future riders? Comment please.
Three community meetings will be held to discuss the new refined concepts beginning Wednesday night. They are:
Wednesday, January 30, 6 – 8 p.m.
Westwood Presbyterian Church
10822 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Saturday, February 2, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center
6262 Van Nuys Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91401
Tuesday, February 5, 6 – 8 p.m.
Proud Bird Restaurant
11022 Aviation Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
A presentation will be given at 10:30 a.m. for the Saturday meeting and 6:30 p.m. for the evening meetings.
All Metro meetings are held in ADA accessible facilities. Spanish translation provided. Other ADA accommodations and translations are available by calling 323.486.3876 or California Relay Service at 711 at least 72 hours in advance.