The North San Fernando Valley Bus Rapid Transit project is returning to the Metro Board of Directors this month with an update from agency staff on the project, which aims to build a speedy and high-quality bus line to serve the northern part of the Valley.
The project’s Alternatives Analysis study was released in June and proposed a route from the Chatsworth Metrolink Station to the North Hollywood Red Line and Orange Line station with some variations along the way. Public feedback was voluminous with comments both for and against changing street design to allow for bus-only lanes, concerns about upzoning (which Metro is not proposing) and public input on the project and many comments also supporting transit improvements.
As for the project update, here’s the news:
•With more than 4,300 comments from the public on the project, Metro staff will begin the project’s environmental review phase by doing further analysis to address the many concerns raised. This means taking a fresh look at all aspects of the project, including routes, bus rapid transit infrastructure, street design, public input, the NextGen Bus Study and cost effectiveness. Once the analysis is done, Metro staff will recommend a refined project and the level of environmental review that will be required.
•Here’s a key paragraph from the staff report to the Board:
Metro acknowledges there are issues to respond to during the environmental review phase. One such issue involves strong community support behind Metro continuing to study a route option along Roscoe Blvd between the I-405 freeway and Reseda Blvd. Given the community feedback and the evolving NextGen Bus Study, [Metro] CEO [Phil Washington] has directed that staff include further evaluation of the Roscoe Blvd alternative identified in the AA Report as part of the environmental review phase. Additional route options using Roscoe Blvd. may also be considered so long as a connection to CSUN is provided. Metro will keep the community informed on the progress of the study and upcoming decision points and will provide meaningful ways for the public to participate in the development of refinements to the Proposed Project.
•To stress what’s in the above: staff views providing service to CSUN as very, very important.
•The NextGen piece is also key. For those new to that effort, Metro is in the midst of restructuring its bus system to better serve riders with faster and more frequent buses. New proposed routes are scheduled to be released for public review in 2020. Doing more analysis of this project will give Metro more time to ensure it works well with NextGen.
Some project background: the northern San Fernando Valley presently has several east-west local bus lines — but no rapid lines that run east-west. With $180 million in funding from the Measure M sales tax, the project would provide transfers to current and future bus and rail lines, including Metrolink and the East San Fernando Light Rail Project, which will run between the Orange Line in Van Nuys and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station.
The Metro Board will hear this item at their meeting on Oct. 24 that begins at 10 a.m. at Metro headquarters adjacent to Union Station in downtown L.A. The meeting, as always, will be live-streamed (and later archived) with a link appearing here shortly before the meetings begins.