- Refined Alternatives
- Upcoming Meetings
The study team has refined the alternatives that will be studied in-depth as part of the Draft EIS/EIR. The six alternatives being evaluated are:
1. No Build
No new projects other than what is already funded and scheduled to be in operation through 2040.
2. Transportation Systems Management
Lower-cost street improvements such as minor intersection widenings, street restriping, bus operations enhancements, signal prioritization, optimization and synchronization.
3. Curb Running, Bus Rapid Transit
- Similar to the Wilshire BRT
- Exclusive 6.7 miles of bus lanes on Van Nuys Bl between Metro Orange Line and San Fernando Rd
- Mixed-flow bus service at all times south of Metro Orange Line and north along San Fernando Rd to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station
- Up to 75 passengers per bus
- Typical stop spacing:
- One mile for Rapid bus
- Half mile for Local bus 18 bus stop
- Can share existing maintenance facilities
This alternative was reintroduced as it may achieve much of the project’s Purpose and Need with fewer impacts than some of the other alternatives
4. Median-Running Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
- Similar to Metro Orange Line
- Buses operate in 6.7 miles of “bus-only” lanes in center of Van Nuys Bl between Metro Orange Line and San Fernando Rd
- Mixed flow bus service provided south of Metro Orange Line and north along San Fernando Rd to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station Requires removal of curb parking in most locations
- Up to 75 seated passengers per bus
- Station platforms constructed in the median at approximate half-mile intervals:
- Approximately 17 bus stations
- Can share existing maintenance facilities
5. Median Running Tram
- Similar to surface-running rail systems in San Diego, San Francisco, and Portland
- Could use modern streetcar/tram systems being implemented in Europe and other parts of the world
- Electrical power supplied by overhead wire
- 6.7 miles of street-running, semi-dedicated rail in the median of Van Nuys Bl between Metro Orange Line and San Fernando Rd
- Mixed-flow tram service would continue north of Van Nuys Bl along San Fernando Rd to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station
- Would replace existing Metro Local and Rapid Bus Service
- Up to 250 seated passengers per tram car
- Operates at prevailing traffic speeds controlled by traffic lights
- Station platforms constructed in the median at approximate quarter-mile intervals
- Approximately 27-28 stations
- Requires new rail maintenance facility
6. Median-Running Light Rail Transit (LRT)
- Similar to other Metro LRT lines (Blue, Green, Gold, Expo)
- Operates mostly at-grade in center median of Van Nuys Bl between Metro Orange Line and San Fernando Rd
- Operates 1.5 miles below ground between Vanowen St and Roscoe Bl
- Metro local bus service continues to operate in this section
- Feeder bus service operates south of Metro Orange Line and north along San Fernando Rd to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink
- Station Requires overhead electrical power
- Stations approximately one mile apart
- Approximately 14 stations
- Up to 335 passengers per two-car train
- Requires new rail maintenance facility
Join Us! Community Meetings Being Held
Metro, in collaboration with the Cities of Los Angeles and San Fernando, will host informational meetings to update the community on the status of the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project.
This will be an opportunity to:
- Learn more about the overall project
- Get details about each alternative being considered
- Ask questions
- Share your thoughts
There are currently no scheduled community meetings. Please go to Meeting Presentations to view material from past meetings.
Frequently Asked Questions (Fall 2014)
Metro and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are evaluating the feasibility of several candidate north-south transit improvements, primarily along the Van Nuys Bl corridor, in the east San Fernando Valley . This set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide basic information about the planning effort for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project. Updated periodically, the FAQs are organized around the following topics:
1. What is the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor?
Measure R, approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008, will fund a variety of transportation projects designed to expand the County’s network of rail, highway, signals, bicycle, transportation enhancements, and pedestrian ways. Twelve transit projects were amongst the projects promised voters when the Measure passed. One of these is the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project, which has also been adopted into Metro’s 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The study will assess the feasibility, benefits, and impacts of six alternatives which are described in greater detail later in these FAQs. For a better illustration of the project’s limits, please refer to Question 9 where a study area map is provided.
2. What is the process for studying this project?
The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor must go through an environmental review process consistent with state and federal guidelines. For the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor, the process began with the completion of an Alternatives Analysis (AA) Report and continues with the refinement of the alternatives and the preparation of a Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR).
In January 2013, staff presented the AA to the Metro Board of Directors, which included an initial set of modal and alignment alternatives. In addition to the Metro Board of Directors, the AA was presented to the Cities of Los Angeles and San Fernando. In 2013, Metro and the FTA initiated the Draft EIS/EIR by hosting four Scoping Meetings along the Van Nuys Corridor. At these meetings, the project was presented and attendees were invited to provide comments. The comment period was open until May 2013. As a result of comments received and additional technical analysis, the alternatives in the project’s AA were refined to better meet the transit needs of those living, working, or doing business in the Corridor. At the end of the Draft EIS/EIR, the Metro Board of Directors will be asked to select a Preferred Alternative. Because all the build alternatives would operate on or near streets owned and operated by the Cities of Los Angeles and San Fernando, both cities will be instrumental in the project’s development.
The project is also following federal procedures for environmental review. As such, the FTA is involved throughout the planning process. After the Metro Board of Directors certifies the Final EIR, the federal environmental review process concludes when the FTA grants the project a Record of Decision (ROD).
3. What is an Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR)?
The EIS is completed to satisfy federal requirements and the EIR is completed to satisfy state requirements. A combined EIS/EIR document identifies and analyzes the potential social, economic, transportation and environmental benefits and impacts associated with the construction and operation of the project’s “build” alternatives. It also analyzes and compares those to a “No-Build” alternative that assumes no changes beyond those already funded, and a “Transportation Systems Management” (TSM) alternative that incorporates low-cost capital and operational improvements such as improved bus service, signal timing, street restriping, signal synchronization, etc. During the development of the Final EIS/EIR, it also identifies ways to avoid or reduce any environmental impacts.
4. What is a “build” alternative vs. a “no build” alternative?
“Build” alternatives are those that propose to construct a new transit line (e.g. Light Rail Transit, Tram, bus lanes and stations). “No build” alternatives are those that will not construct any new transit line or simply make improvements to the services available today and those funded to take place in the next several years.
5. When will this study be completed?
The full study is scheduled to conclude in 2015/2016. The components of the study are discussed above in Question 2, and are estimated to occur as follows:
- 2015: Draft EIS/EIR
- 2016: Final EIS/EIR
6. When will I be able to ride the new service?
If the Project’s Preferred Alternative turns out to be Curb Running BRT, then the project could be in operation by 2018. However, the Median Running BRT, Tram, and LRT alternatives would be considerably more complicated and expensive. If one of these alternatives is selected as the Preferred Alternative, it would take several more years to identify funds, complete planning, technical analysis, preliminary and final engineering, and to construct.
7. What factors will be used to evaluate the various alternatives for this project?
The alternatives will be evaluated using the following criteria:
- Mobility Benefits and Impacts
- Regional Connectivity
- Cost-Effectiveness (such as capital and operating costs)
- Environmental Benefits and Impacts
- Land Use Considerations (such as job creation, development opportunities and quality of life improvements)
- Community Input
- Financial Capability
8. Where will the project be located?
From the Metro Orange Line it will run north along Van Nuys Bl to San Fernando Rd. The route continues northwest parallel to San Fernando Rd to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station.
9. How was the study area determined?
Initially, an alignment along Van Nuys Bl and Sepulveda Bl (as well as several hybrids of both) were considered as these two Boulevards realize the greatest north/south transit ridership and the greatest congestion in the San Fernando Valley. After completing a technical review and after considering hundreds of community comments (most expressing a preference for service on Van Nuys Bl), it was determined that the Project should focus on Van Nuys Bl. In addition to the Boulevard being the busiest north-south transit corridor in the San Fernando Valley, it includes the Civic Center and other primary origin/destination points including the Van Nuys Metrolink station.
Also based on community comments and a technical review, the northern origination/terminus of the Corridor was changed from the Interstate-210 Freeway to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station. This location is serviced by a number of buses and provides a connection to regional commuter rail service that connects with Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley communities.
10. What are some of the existing conditions of the Study Area, specifically Van Nuys Bl?
The Van Nuys Bl Corridor extends from the Metro Orange Line and through the communities of Van Nuys, Panorama City, Arleta and Pacoima to the City of San Fernando, ending at the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station in the northeast San Fernando Valley. Initially, the Study Area included Van Nuys Bl south to Ventura Bl and through the community of Sherman Oaks. However, the Boulevard is wider along this stretch which allows buses to travel at good speeds. In addition, ridership isn’t heavy south of the Metro Orange Line.
- Van Nuys Bl realizes approximately 24,800 daily/weekday boardings.
- The Corridor has more transit-dependency, more zero-vehicles households and greater poverty than Los Angeles County averages.
- Of the transit trips, 50% stay within the Corridor
- More than half of the boardings within the Study Area occur within the three-mile segment between the Metro Orange Line to the south and the Panorama City Mall to the north.
- In the congested segments of the Corridor, bus speeds drop to between 10-14 mph during the afternoon peak-periods (3 to 6 PM).
- The Corridor has the 7th highest transit boardings in the entire Metro system
- The Corridor has the 2nd highest transit boardings in the San Fernando Valley, following the Metro Orange Line
11. The project is located within the City of Los Angeles and also in the City of San Fernando. What role will each City play?
Both the City of Los Angeles and the City of San Fernando are participating in all facets of the planning process. At project milestones, updates are provided to both City Councils at which time input is received. Being that the boulevards are owned and operated by the Cities, nothing will be advanced that’s absent their knowledge and support.
12. Will this be a bus project, a rail project or something else?
We don’t know yet. That’s part of what the study will evaluate utilizing the criteria discussed in Question 7.
13. What modes are being considered for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project?
Three modes of transit are being considered for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project:
- Bus Rapid Transit
- Light Rail Transit
14. What are the “build” alternatives that are being evaluated:
Four “build” alternatives are being evaluated:
- Curb-running Bus Rapid Transit (BRT): Similar to the Wilshire BRT - high-capacity, clean-fuel/Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses would operate in dedicated “bus only” lanes running along the curb of Van Nuys Bl.
- Median-running BRT: Similar to the Metro Orange Line - high-capacity, clean-fuel/Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses would operate in dedicated “bus only” lanes in the center of Van Nuys Bl.
- Low-floor Tram: Similar to surface-running rail systems in San Diego, San Francisco and Portland - low-floor, electric-powered rail vehicles would operate in a combination of “tram only” and mixed-flow traffic lanes at prevailing traffic speeds controlled by traffic lights.
- High-floor Light Rail Transit (LRT): Similar to the Metro Blue, Green, Gold and Expo Lines - overhead electric-powered rail vehicles run in an exclusive rail track in the middle of Van Nuys Bl.
See Question 15 for information on the routes and characteristics being studied for the BRT alternatives, and Question 17 for the Tram and Question 19 for the LRT alternative.
15. What are the routes and characteristics being evaluated for the Bus Rapid Transit alternatives in the Draft EIS/EIR?
Two configuration options are being considered for the BRT alternatives:
- Both BRT options would operate in dedicated lanes along Van Nuys Bl between the Metro Orange Line and Van Nuys Bl/San Fernando Rd, a distance of approximately 6.7 miles.
- Both options would operate in mixed-flow traffic along San Fernando Rd, between Van Nuys Bl and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station. Additionally, both would permit buses to continue south in mixed flow lanes to Ventura Bl, after serving the Metro Orange Line Station.
16. Wasn’t the curb-running BRT alternative previously eliminated during the AA process? Why is it being reconsidered?
The Alternative is being reconsidered as it could have the least impact on existing traffic and has the potential to be constructed within the budget reserved for this project in the 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan.
17. What are the routes and characteristics being evaluated for the Low-floor Tram alternative in the Draft EIS/EIR?
- The Low-floor Tram alternative is proposed to run in the middle of Van Nuys Bl between the Metro Orange Line and San Fernando Rd.
- To the north, the Tram is proposed to operate in mixed flow lanes along San Fernando Rd, between Van Nuys Bl and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station. It would operate at prevailing traffic speeds, controlled by traffic lights.
- To the south, Tram service could connect with the future Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor project once decisions are made about that project’s alignment, budget, and delivery schedule.
- This alternative would be similar to surface-running rail systems in other cities such as the San Diego Trolley, San Francisco Muni and Portland MAX. It could also mimic modern tram systems that are being implemented in European cities and other parts of the world.
- Stations could be constructed at approximately half-mile intervals.
- A new rail maintenance facility would be required within a ¼ mile of the alignment, for which several industrial locations are being evaluated.
18. Why are you evaluating a low-floor tram system?
This mode was not specifically included in the AA Study as it was presumed that the rail alternative would be modeled on the standard Los Angeles LRT lines already in operation. We are now considering this new mode (which is similar to LRT) as it would have much higher carrying capacity than a BRT system, while avoiding some of the grade separation and right-of-way impacts that would be required with the standard Los Angeles LRT alternative.
19. What are the routes and characteristics being evaluated for the high-floor Light Rail Transit alternative in the Draft EIS/EIR?
- The LRT would operate in fully-dedicated right-of-way along Van Nuys Bl and in the Metro-owned right-of-way that runs along San Fernando Rd, with signal priority for a distance of 9.2 miles.
- Depending on the location along the route, it would operate on the street or below ground.
- Metro Local bus service would continue to operate, thereby continuing to provide service to less traveled intersections along Van Nuys Bl.
- This alternative would connect to feeder bus service between the Metro Orange Line and Ventura Bl.
- Stations could be constructed at approximately one-mile intervals.
- A new rail maintenance facility would be required within a ¼ mile of the alignment, for which several industrial locations are being evaluated.
20. What is meant by low-floor versus high-floor vehicles?
The terms refer to the height of the entrance to each rail vehicle. The low-floor vehicle can be boarded at curb-level whereas with a high-floor vehicle, boarding is at a raised level (approximately three feet in height) requiring the use of a station platform to come up to the vehicles’ entrance.
21. What other alternatives are being evaluated?
As a part of the process, the study must also evaluate two other options:
- No Build: This looks at the study area in 2040 without any new project. It incorporates existing roads; highways; transit services and facilities, as well as any other future projects that are included in the Metro Board adopted 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan for implementation by 2040.
- Transportation Systems Management (TSM): This option considers low-cost capital and operations improvements to the transportation system such as improvements to signal timing, enhancing existing bus service, widening targeted intersections, etc.
22. How is a Tram different from a Light-Rail Transit vehicle? How are they different from a Streetcar, an option that had been eliminated earlier?
Low-floor Tram, Light Rail Transit, and Streetcar are all different types of rail vehicles that are in common use throughout the world. The terms may be used somewhat differently in other areas of the United States.
- Here in Los Angeles, we have generally used the term “streetcar” to refer to smaller, one-car rail vehicle that operates at street-level, in a confined area, in mixed flow traffic, as a circulator.
- We use the term “light-rail” for many of the existing rail projects in Los Angeles including the Metro Blue, Green, Gold and Exposition Lines. Light Rail Transit vehicles can:
- Operate in a two- or three-car configuration
- Carry more people at greater speeds than a streetcar
- Operate at street-level, above or below-ground, with the tracks in their own right-of-way.
- Light rail cars in Los Angeles use high platform stations that must be constructed in the middle of the street or railroad right of way.
- A tram can:
- Operate in a two or three-car configuration
- Carry more people than a streetcar.
- Operate at street-level, above or below ground, within the tracks in their own right-of-way or in mixed flow traffic.
- Stations would be approximately at existing sidewalk levels so that normal sidewalks could be used for stations instead of the high platform required for light rail.
- Tracks for low-floor trams could be flush with the street pavement
23. How is each powered?
Bus Rapid Transit vehicles are powered by clean-fuel Compressed Natural Gas. Light Rail Transit and Tram vehicles are powered by electricity from overhead lines.
24. How much money is available for the Project and what are the funding sources?
$170.1 million has been identified for this project in Metro’s 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). These funds come primarily from the State of California’s Traffic Congestion Relief Program (TCRP) and Measure R, the ½-cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.
25. How much does each build alternative cost?
Currently, cost estimates for each of the build alternatives are as follows:
- Curb-Running BRT: $ 294 million
- Median-Running BRT: $402 million
- Tram/Low-Floor Light Rail Transit: $1.3 billion
- High-Floor Light Rail Transit: $2.67 - $2.79 billion
These estimates will be further refined as the study continues. Please note, however, that only $170 million has been identified to build this project.
26. Why is there such a wide variation in the cost numbers?
Rail options such as LRT and Tram are generally more expensive due to the costs associated with constructing tracks and electrical power along the line to power the trains. Costs would also be incurred to acquire land and build the required rail maintenance and storage facility. On the other hand, existing Metro bus maintenance facilities in the San Fernando Valley could support the BRT options. The cost ranges for each travel mode can also vary due to the differences in the number of stations, forecasted property acquisition needs, grade separations, etc. The cost projections will be refined further as the study continues.
27. The alternatives all seem to cost more than $170.1 million. How are you going to build the project if you don’t have the money?
Like all of the other Measure R transit projects, the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor will likely need to seek additional funding to be able to be built in full. The project may also be built in phases to match available funding. These options will all be evaluated as the study progresses. As the details of the project become better defined, additional funding sources may be identified.
28. How will the proposed East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project improve transit connections to the entire region?
The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor intersects with the Metro Orange Line that connects to the Metro Red Line in North Hollywood. It also connects with Metrolink and Amtrak stations providing linkages to regional destinations.
29. Is Metro determining where the greatest number of people need to – or want to – travel?
Yes, one aspect of the analysis will be to determine travel patterns in the study area, including travel to key destinations within the corridor and beyond. Community input from individuals and organizations will provide important information about key destinations. The study will also complete a “trip distribution analysis” to better understand travel characteristics within the study area.
30. How will the proposed East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project work with the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor Project?
The Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor Project is another one of the Measure R transit projects. This future project is intended to improve connections between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside of Los Angeles. Based on the current funding schedule in Metro’s 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor Project is not planned to be in operation until 2039. However, Metro is exploring alternate funding scenarios, including Public-Private Partnership, which may allow a project to be completed sooner. It is not yet known what kind of project this future improvement would be. Options range from BRT in High Occupancy Vehicle/Express Lanes along the I-405 Freeway to a full transit/highway tunnel extending under the Pass from the Metro Orange Line to the future Metro Purple Line and/or Metro Expo Line Stations in West Los Angeles. Regardless, planners for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor and the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor Project are working together to ensure coordination between the two projects.
31. Will the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project look at connections into Downtown Burbank?
No. In Metro’s 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor is focused on improving north-south travel. A connection further east to Burbank is being studied separately as a potential Bus Rapid Transit project as approved by the Metro Board of Directors on July 24, 2014.
32. How will the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project work with the proposed California High Speed Rail Project?
Metro and the California High-Speed Rail Authority are working closely together. The East San Fernando Transit Corridor Project must consider the future development of the railroad right-of-way that extends from Van Nuys Bl to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station. This route is being considered for future High Speed Rail service that will connect Downtown Los Angeles with San Francisco in less than three hours.
33. Will bike lanes and other bike facilities be included along the Corridor as part of this project?
As a part of the environmental study, opportunities to integrate shared bike facilities are being evaluated due to the limited width size of current streets.
34. How will the location of stops or stations be determined?
Several factors are considered when determining station locations. Depending on the type of project, stations are typically located 1/2- mile to one mile apart. The goal is to improve overall travel time by allowing for greater speeds between stations, and less time stopped at stations, while also maximizing ridership potential by locating stations to allow for easy transfers to other bus lines and to serve highly visited destinations and activity centers.
35. Will on-street parking be affected?
Some of the options being evaluated would impact on-street parking in areas; however, it is too early in the process to identify specific locations or impacts. Parking impacts are being evaluated in the environmental study.
36. Will corridor businesses be affected?
Similar to the previous answer on parking, it is too early in the process to identify the effects, if any, that the project will have on businesses. The EIS/EIR will analyze impacts of the project for businesses in the area.
37. Will a new storage and maintenance facility be needed?
If a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project is the preferred alternative, the service would be supported with Metro’s existing bus maintenance facilities though they may need some modifications. If a Light Rail Transit (LRT) or Tram alternative becomes the preferred alternative, a new facility would be needed to store and maintain the rail/tram cars. This will be evaluated as a part of the environmental study.
38. Where would a rail storage and maintenance yard be located and how big would it be?
The Draft EIS/EIR will identify possible locations for a rail storage and maintenance yard. It would need to be located within a ¼-mile of the route in an area zoned for industrial use, and approximately 20 acres in size.
39. How will a new transit system help the area economically?
A new transit system has the ability to create new development opportunities along the corridor because it will provide increased regional connectivity, as well as increased travel options. It will also allow users to conveniently access retail centers along the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor, thereby stimulating increased sales revenues for local businesses. Opportunities for Transit Oriented Development (TOD) around stations can lead to providing service to residential and commercial projects, which in turn creates job opportunities.
40. Why is it important that I participate in this study?
Community participation is a key component in planning any new transportation project. The environmental review process requires that public input and suggestions be considered. Your feedback will help us better understand the community’s transportation needs and priorities. Please make sure your voice is heard by attending one of our community meetings, joining the dialogue online, or sending us your comments by US Mail or e-mail. See Question 44 for more information on how to do that.
41. How will public input be reflected in the study?
Public input is an important element of the planning process and has already influenced the study. Based on comments received at earlier stages, the project has evaluated different travel modes, routes and origin/destination points. Public input will continue to be one of the factors used to analyze the alternatives being evaluated for this project. All feedback received is summarized, documented and shared with the Metro Board of Directors. While public input is gathered throughout the study effort, there are two “formal” public comment periods.
- Scoping Meetings: The work on the Draft EIS/EIR began with a “scoping period” from March 1-May 6, 2013. During this time, the public was invited to provide input on the issues they suggested the study analyze. Public comments were received in person during Scoping meetings and in writing.
- Public Hearings: Prior to consideration and action by the Metro Board of Directors, the Draft EIS/EIR will be released for a 45-day public review period. This is the time when the public can submit “official” comments and questions for further consideration by the Metro Board and for additional analysis during development of the Final EIS/EIR. Comments and questions may be submitted in writing and at public hearings that will be scheduled during this time. It is anticipated that the Draft EIS/EIR will be available for public review in mid- 2015.
42. What can I do to help spread the word?
There are several things you can do:
- Join our mailing list by sending your contact information to email@example.com.
- Follow us on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/EastSFVTransit) and Facebook (www.Facebook.com/EastSFVTransit)
- Share project information with your network of friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family
43. Can you make a presentation to my community group?
We would be happy to schedule a presentation for your organization. Please contact us through any of the methods discussed in Question 44.
44. How can I contact you to ask a question, provide input or participate?
There are many public participation opportunities throughout this process. You can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask a question, provide input or send us your contact information.
- Please attend any meetings we host in the community at key milestones. We will let you know when those dates are if you send your contact information to email@example.com.
- Follow us and participate on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/EastSFVTransit) and Facebook (www.Facebook.com/EastSFVTransit)
- Call us at (818) 276-3233
- Send a letter to: Walter Davis, Project Manager; Metro; 1 Gateway Plaza, 99-22-15; Los Angeles, CA 90012
Metro and the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) are evaluating possible north-south transit improvements along the Van Nuys Bl and San Fernando Rd corridors in the east San Fernando Valley that connect to the local and regional transportation network.
The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor is one of 12 Measure R Transit projects. Metro’s 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan reserves $170.1 million for this project.
Project’s Purpose and Need
The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project seeks to:
- Improve north-south mobility in the eastern San Fernando Valley
- Provide improved, more reliable operations and connections between key transit hubs/routes
- Enhance transit accessibility and connectivity for residents within the study area to local and regional destinations
- Provide additional transit options in a largely transit dependent area
- Encourage mode shift to transit in the study area
Environmental Document Being Prepared
An environmental document is being prepared as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is the federal document and the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is the state document. A combined EIS/EIR document will be prepared to analyze how each project alternative might benefit or impact the study area in terms of traffic, air quality, water quality, visual/noise/construction impacts, economic development opportunities, jobs, among other aspects. The EIS/EIR analyzes six alternatives:
- No Build
- Transportation Systems Management (TSM)
- Curb-running Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
- Median-running BRT
- Median-running Tram
- Median-running Light Rail Transit (LRT)
It is expected that the Draft EIS/EIR will be available for public review in mid to late 2015.
The study was launched in 2011 as the “Van Nuys Bl Rapidway Study.” In October of that year, three community meetings were held to introduce the study and gather public input. At these meetings, Metro described various transportation modes that could be studied for further consideration. The modes presented were: Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail Transit and Streetcar. The route alignment traveled along Van Nuys Bl from Ventura Bl on the south to the I-210 freeway on the north.
Public comments at the time urged Metro to also evaluate Sepulveda Bl as a possible route and to consider the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station as an origination/terminus for the project. In April 2012, Metro announced that these and other route options would be evaluated and renamed the project the “East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor.”
In October 2012, Metro held a third round of community meetings to share an initial set of eight alternatives that were being considered. These included the two required alternatives – “No-Build” and Transportation Systems Management – as well as four Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) alternatives and two Light Rail Transit (LRT) alternatives.
Alternatives Analysis Report
In January 2013, the first phase of the environmental documentation process was presented to the Metro Board of Directors. Known as an Alternatives Analysis (AA) report, it identified four alternatives for further study in the project’s EIS/EIR:
- No Build (required) – No new projects other than what is already funded and scheduled to be in operation through 2035.
- Transportation Systems Management (TSM) (required) – Lower-cost street improvements such as signal prioritization, optimization and synchronization, minor intersection widenings, as well as bus operations enhancements.
- Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Alternative – Operating in dedicated median lanes, originating/terminating at the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station, running along San Fernando Rd, continuing along Van Nuys Bl with three possible southern origination/terminus options:
- Van Nuys Metro Orange Line Station
- Sepulveda Metro Orange Line Station
- Ventura Bl/Sepulveda Bl
- Median-Running Light Rail Transit (LRT) Alternative – Operating in a dedicated median, originating/terminating at the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station, running near San Fernando Rd, continuing along Van Nuys Bl originating/terminating at Van Nuys Bl/Ventura Bl.
Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIS/EIR)
In compliance with NEPA and CEQA, the FTA issued a Notice of Intent and Metro issued a Notice of Preparation to announce that an Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report would be prepared. As part of this formal process, four public scoping meetings were held throughout the study area to obtain input on issues that should be examined during the environmental documentation process. Over 250 comments were received from various stakeholders prior to the end of the scoping comment period on May 6, 2013. Some of the more prevalent comments indicated community preference for:
- Building a Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project
- Connecting to:
- The future Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor Project
- Amtrak, Metrolink and future High Speed Rail
- Eliminating dedicated lanes along Van Nuys Bl, south of the Metro Orange Line
- Ensuring that bicycle facilities are a component of the project
- Evaluating impacts from any parking loss along Van Nuys Bl
Throughout summer 2013, the study team conducted additional technical analysis and considered comments received during the spring 2013 scoping period. In November 2013, staff presented to the Metro Board of Directors an expanded set of mode and alignment options. In addition to the Metro Board, the expanded modes and alignments were presented to the Cities of Los Angeles and San Fernando.
Refinement of Transit Modes
In addition to the median-running BRT and LRT build alternatives, Metro staff reported to the Board of Directors that the study will also evaluate the following alternatives:
- Curb-running BRT
- Median-running Tram
Based on Scoping comments and further technical analysis, Metro is also evaluating a phased approach to develop the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project where an initial bus or rail project could be constructed in a dedicated right-of-way on 6.7 miles of Van Nuys Bl between the Metro Orange Line and San Fernando Rd.
This will allow the project to be developed first in the area where ridership is highest and transit speeds are the slowest. It will also allow time for the project to coordinate with other connecting projects on the northern and southern end of the Corridor.
Southern Terminus Connection with the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor Project
Metro is now identifying the Metro Orange Line Van Nuys Station as the initial southern terminus/origination for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor for exclusive BRT, LRT or Tram guideways. Mixed flow bus operations could be provided south of the Metro Orange Line to Ventura Bl.
Transit improvements along Van Nuys Bl south of the Metro Orange Line must consider a connection to a future transit line connecting the San Fernando Valley to Los Angeles’ Westside. A variety of alternatives for a future Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor Project have been identified ranging from BRT in High-Occupancy-Vehicle/Express Lanes on the I-405 Freeway to a full transit/highway tunnel extending under the mountains from the Metro Orange Line to the future Metro Purple Line Extension and/or Metro Exposition Line in West Los Angeles, and possibly beyond.
Northern Terminus Connection with Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station
The study team has identified the Van Nuys Bl/San Fernando Rd intersection as the initial northern terminus/origination of the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor for exclusive BRT and LRT. San Fernando Rd between Van Nuys Bl and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station is too narrow to accommodate a dedicated bus or tram guideway. Mixed flow operations could be provided along San Fernando Rd into the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station.
For the LRT Alternative, the study team is also evaluating using the Metrolink right-of-way to operate a dedicated rail track into the Sylmar/San Fernando Rd Metrolink Station. However, before dedicated service can be provided, future development of the existing railroad right-of-way will need to be considered.