Scoping begins today on 405 Sepulveda Pass ExpressLanes project

UPDATE, AUG. 17: Metro is extending the comment period on the I-405 Sepulveda Pass ExpressLanes project from 30 days to 60 days, now through October 1, 2021, to allow more time for the public to submit their scoping comments.

Here’s the original blog post from Aug. 3:

Metro and Caltrans are beginning the scoping process today (Tuesday, Aug. 3) for a key project funded by Measure M: ExpressLanes on the 405 freeway through the Sepulveda Pass.

In government speak, scoping is the first step in the legally required state and federal environmental study process (called CEQA for the state and NEPA on the federal side). The idea of scoping is to identify the purpose and goals of a project, outline project alternatives and determine what should be studied as part of the environmental studies.

The public’s role is to help shape what gets studied by submitting your comments during the scoping period — we’re particularly interested in your views on mobility in this corridor and what could be improved. Here’s how to submit your comments:

Online Comment Form: 405EXPcomments.com

By mail: Ronald Kosinski, Deputy District Director
California Department of Transportation
Division of Environmental Planning
100 S. Main Street – MS 16A
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Regarding: Sepulveda Pass ExpressLanes project scoping comment

By email: 405expresslanes@metro.net

By phone: 213.922.4860

Storymap with graphics and text on the project

Some background on the project: the Metro ExpressLanes debuted on the 110 and 10 freeways in 2012 and 2013 and have proven to be very popular with motorists who want to avoid traffic jams and want more reliable commutes time-wise. ExpressLanes allow those meeting occupancy requirements and with a device called a transponder (the rules for the 10 and 110 are here) to travel for free, while also providing single occupant vehicles the option to pay a toll to use the lane. The idea is to use carpooling and tolls to limit the number of vehicles in the ExpressLanes, thus producing higher speeds.

This project has $260 million in funding from Measure M, the local sales tax passed by LA County voters in 2016. Additional funding sources will be explored as the project advances through the project development process. The ExpressLanes complement another project that was also part of Measure M: the Sepulveda Transit Corridor, which is a rail line or monorail that will run between the San Fernando Valley, the Westside and eventually LAX.

The 405 ExpressLanes project is proposed for the 14 miles of the 405 between the 10 and 101 freeways. There are five proposed alternatives:

•Alternative 1: The no build option.

•Alternative 2: Convert the HOV lanes on the 405 to one ExpressLane in each direction.

•Alternative 3: Convert the HOV lanes on the 405 to two ExpressLanes of non-standard lane widths in each direction.

•Alternative 4: Convert the HOV lanes on the 405 to two ExpressLanes of standard lane widths in each direction.

•Alternative 5: Add a second HOV Lane to the 405 in both directions of non-standard lane and shoulder widths.

It’s important to note that the goal of the project is to maximize any improvements to within the freeway’s existing right-of-way to avoid impacts to private properties.

As many of you know all too well, traffic in the Sepulveda Pass is notoriously terrible — in fact, the area suffers some of the worst traffic in the United States. This is the reason that Metro has several projects that could potentially provide some relief. The I-405 Multi-Modal Corridor Plan may identify additional improvements to improve mobility in the area. And Metro’s Traffic Reduction Study is looking for areas in L.A. County to test congestion pricing — i.e. using tolls and other high-quality mobility improvements to reduce traffic.

Three virtual meetings are also scheduled for later this month to learn more about the project and the environmental process.

The meetings will be held:

Saturday, August 14, 2021, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_G6Fzld1zSqy-SUPdWK7eAw

ID: 948 4124 4717

Passcode: 807271

Call-in: 213-338-8477

Tuesday, August 17, 2021, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_eRj-fBEpQu6RHWlyyi8Ukg

ID: 926 0660 7560

Passcode: 114859

Call-in: 213-338-8477

Wednesday, August 18, 2021, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_MhCrI70kS4aND7iee4CHtQ

ID: 964 9534 8721

Passcode: 059906

Call-in: 213-338-8477

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 replies

  1. Enough money has been thrown into the 405 freeway from the Valley to the Westside. They have their Car Pool Lane and now that does not seen enough. Save the two hundred and thirty million dollars and invest it in a more meaningful project that has been left behind or never addressed. Yes, the 405 is a nightmare but so is the Sunset Bl./ Santa Monica Bl. traffic corridor between Downtown L.A. and the Santa Monica City border. And that corridor has seen increased grid lock since the last two 405 upgrades.

    • No, enough money has not been “thrown into the 405”. With limited access points between the valley and westside, it’s going to get a bigger chunk of spending. Unlike your suggestion of spending for Sunset and SMB, where there are other choices for east/west travel, the 405 and (mostly) adjacent Sepulveda Blvd have no alternates to the west and a few winding slow moving streets to the east.

    • No one that lives on Sunset Blvd west of Fairfax is going to be interested in riding a rail line. Remember that all that is NIMBY territory so the suggestion of an transit project on Sunset Blvd is falling on Deaf ears.

      In Regards to Santa Monica Blvd. I can agree with that. I really hope the Original Silver Line concept will one receive at least some study funding and have it run from El Monte to Santa Monica via Expo Line but I’m the Short term we have the Expo Line and the Wilshire Subway. A simple connection to the Crenshaw Line (North) or the Red Line can easily be used as bypass for traffic points before finally going back up to Santa Monica which would probably be a 5-6 min ride back north.

      If Sunset Blvd lost its express lines (anyone remember the 429 and 430 routes?) and just lost its ONLY peak hour, PEAK DIRECTION bus line, and never even qualified for a Rapid Bus Line, what would make you think Sunset a Blvd west of Fairfax qualifies for Rail?

      Packed buses and rush hour traffic doesn’t automatically mean “oh let’s put a rail line there!” How’s ridership on the weekends? After 10pm? During the midday? From my experiences in the past, Line 2 ridership sucks outside of rush hour. The traffic is simply from the NIMBYS who will never leave their cars and people who have to deal with them.

  2. If we would stop planning for the crazy monorail on Sepulveda Pass and think twice about pouring yet another lane of traffic and moved those funds into the high capacity and quick subway, maybe that would be built sooner and actually start to really try to take some pressure off the freeway because it seems the growth and traffic SFVWestside is not going to stop and get worse, thus we need a true alternative

    Also, if the 405 traffic pattern is still generally south in the AM and north in the PM, why wasn’t (or maybe it was) a reverse flow lane study done to set up in the center lanes ala the I-15 in San Diego. Extra 2 lanes each way at rush- maybe no entrance or exit from the 101 to maybe the 10 to keep all that traffic out of the way so that people who actually need to get off at Sunset, Wilshire, Santa Monica etc get a break.

  3. Hopefully alternative 4 is chosen. But the issue will not ever be fixed until 2 things happen. The interchange at the 101 needs a complete overhaul. I find it to be the biggest source of backups through the pass and around Sherman oaks. It’s horrible and hard to believe with the billions spent in this area no one has even through to study a fix for it.

    The second thing is I-10 is way over capacity where traffic spills onto the 405 SB. I don’t know what the solution is there but until something is done severe backups will generally occur at rush hour no matter what.

    I also think and suggested Sepulveda BLVD should receive a massive upgrade. Much more vegetation should added. The tunnel should be widened to accommodate four lanes plus for bikes and pedestrians. The entire length of the street from Wilshire to Van Nuys should have sidewalks and protected bike lanes.

    If all of this happens plus the subterranean HRT it will really make traveling through the pass much more bearable for the foreseeable future. Clearly eliminating congestion won’t ever happen but you can ease it with more capacity on all fronts.