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East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor

  • Overview
  • Refined Alternatives
  • Upcoming Meetings
  • FAQ's

Metro and the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) are evaluating a possible north-south transit improvement primarily along the Van Nuys Bl corridor in the east San Fernando Valley that offers connections 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 “first-decade” Measure R project with a scheduled 2018 delivery date.

The study is currently in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIS/EIR) stage.  Six options are under evaluation:

  • No build (required)
  • Transportation Systems Management (required)
  • Curb-running, peak period Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
  • Median-running, dedicated lane BRT
  • Median-running, Low-floor Tram
  • Median-running Light Rail Transit (LRT)

It is expected that the Draft EIS/EIR will be available for public review in summer 2014.

Background

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.  Metro described the different transportation modes and route being considered.  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 options would also be evaluated and renamed the project the “East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor.”

In October 2012, Metro held another 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 System 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 clearance 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 Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report:

  • No Build (required) – No new projects other than what is already funded and scheduled to be in operation through 2035.
  • Transportation System Management (TSM) (required) – Lower-cost street improvements such as signal prioritization 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 Road, 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 Road, continuing along Van Nuys Bl originating/terminating at Van Nuys Bl/Ventura Bl.

Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIS/EIR)

In March 2013, Metro and the FTA issued a Notice of Intent/Notice of Preparation to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report.  Four scoping meetings were held throughout the Study corridor to obtain input on issues that should be examined during the environmental clearance 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 received indicated community preference for:

  • Light Rail Transit (LRT)
  • Connections 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
  • Including bike lanes along Van Nuys Bl
  • Full evaluation of 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 October 2013, staff presented the Board of Directors with an expanded set of mode and alignment options, as well as a phased approach for the development of the project.  These will be evaluated as the Draft EIS/EIR continues into 2014.

Refinement of Transit Modes
In addition to the median-running BRT and LRT presented at the beginning of the Draft EIS/EIR, the study will also evaluate:

  • Curb-running, peak period only BRT; and
  • Median-running, Low-floor Tram

These alternatives are now being included for evaluation as they may achieve many of the project’s goals with fewer impacts.

Please review all the options being studied under the Alternatives section. 

Refinement of Alignments/Phased-Approach
Based on Scoping comments and further technical analysis, Metro is now considering a phased approach for the development of the East SFV Corridor where an initial bus or rail project would be constructed for a dedicated right-of-way on 6.7 miles of Van Nuys Bl between the Metro Orange Line and San Fernando Road.  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 projects on the northern and southern end of the Corridor that would connect to this project.

If a BRT or Low-floor Tram project is developed, service would continue in mixed-flow operation south to Ventura Boulevard and north to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station as a part of the current project.  If an LRT project is developed, it would be supported by feeder bus service to the north and south.  Ultimately, dedicated right-of-way service for the project could be extended to the south in coordination with the future Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor Project and to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station in coordination with future High Speed Rail and enhanced Metrolink service when those projects are futher defined.

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 of the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor for exclusive BRT, LRT or Low-floor Tram guideways.  Mixed flow bus operations, including enhancements to current bus service, would be provided south of the Metro Orange Line to Ventura Boulevard for the BRT and LRT alternatives.  The Tram could continue south to Ventura Bl operating in mixed-flow traffic.

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 Bus Rapid Transit 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 Stations in West Los Angeles, and possibly beyond.  Per Board direction, the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor is being analyzed in conjunction with the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor Project for Public Private Partnership delivery method. 

Northern Terminus Connection with Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station
Metro is now identifying the Van Nuys Bl/San Fernando Road intersection as the initial northern terminus of the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor for exclusive BRT, LRT or Low-floor Tram guideways. San Fernando Rd between Van Nuys Bl and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station is too narrow to accommodate a dedicated bus or rail guideway.  Mixed flow bus operations, including enhancements to current bus service, would be provided beyond Van Nuys Bl to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station for the BRT and LRT alternatives.  The Tram could continue onto San Fernando Road operating in mixed-flow traffic.

Before dedicated service in provided along this portion of San Fernando Road, future development of the existing railroad right-of-way will need to be considered.  This route is planned for future High Speed Rail service as well as enhanced Metrolink service.  Metro, Metrolink and the California High Speed Rail Authority will need to reach consensus about this stretch of San Fernando Road in order to provide for an extension of the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor in a dedicated right-of-way.

 


Refined Alternatives

    Since the close of the scoping period in May, 2013, the study team has refined the alternatives.  Six alternatives will be evaluated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report.

    The Alternatives to be studied in depth are:

    No Build (required)

    Transportation System Management (required)


    Build Alternative 1: Curb Running, Peak Period Bus Rapid Transit

    • Similar to the Wilshire BRT
    • Exclusive 6.7 miles of bus lanes on Van Nuys Bl during peak traffic periods between Metro Orange Line and San Fernando Rd
    • Mixed-flow bus service at all times south of Metro Orange Line and north of Van Nuys/San Fernando Road
    • On-street parking could remain during non-peak periods or lanes could be used by cyclists
    • Buses could bypass queues at traffic lights 
    • Up to 72 passengers per bus
    • Typical stop spacing:
      • One mile for Rapid bus
      • Half mile for Local bus
    • Approximately 25 bus stops:
      • 16 in exclusive peak-period lanes
      • 9 in mixed-flow at all times
    • Can share existing maintenance facilities
    • This alternative has been reintroduced as it may achieve much of the project’s “Purpose and Need” with fewer impacts than some of the other alternatives

    Build Alternative 2: Median-Running Bus Rapid Transit

    • Similar to Metro Orange Line
    • Buses operate at all times in 6.7 miles of fully dedicated bus lanes in center of Van Nuys Bl between Metro Orange Line and San Fernando Road
    • Mixed flow bus service provided south of Metro Orange Line and north of Van Nuys/San Fernando Rd
    • Buses could bypass queues at traffic lights
    • Would require removal of curb parking in most locations
    • Up to 72 passengers per bus
    • Station platforms constructed in median at approximate half-mile intervals to provide service to both Metro Rapid and Local buses
    • Approximately 25 bus stations
      • 16 in exclusive lanes
      • 9 in mixed flow lanes
    • Can share existing maintenance facilities
    •  

     

    Build Alternative 3: Low-floor Tram – Median Running At-Grade

    • 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 or through induction power in trackway
    • 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 south of Metro Orange Line and north of Van Nuys/San Fernando Rd
    • Would replace existing Metro Local and Rapid Bus Service
    • Up to 250 passengers per tram car
    • Operates at prevailing traffic speeds controlled by traffic lights
    • Station platforms constructed in the median at approximate half-mile intervals
    • Approximately 23 stations:
      • 16 in semi-dedicated right-of-way
      • 7 in fully mixed-flow operation
    • Requires new rail maintenance facility required
    • This alternative is now included as it may achieve much of the project’s “Purpose and Need” with fewer impacts than some of the other alternatives


    Build Alternative 4: Light Rail Transit – At and Below-Grade Median Running

    • Similar to other Metro LRT lines (Blue, Green, Gold, Expo)
    • Operates 6.7 miles in center median of Van Nuys Bl between Metro Orange Line and San Fernando Road
      • 1.5 miles below ground
    • Metro local bus service continues to operate in this 6.7 mile section
    • Requires overhead electrical power
    • Stations approximately one mile apart
    • Approximately 10 stations
    • Feeder bus service operates south of Metro Orange Line and north of Van Nuys/San Fernando Rd
    • Up to 335 passengers per two car train set
    • Requires new rail maintenance facility


     


It is anticipated that the next round of community information sessions will be held in early 2014. The Draft EIS/R should be released in summer 2014. At that time, there will be a 45-day review period including formal public hearings.

Please keep checking back for more information.


Frequently Asked Questions (Fall 2013)

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Metro and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), are evaluating a possible north-south transit improvement primarily along the Van Nuys Bl corridor in the East San Fernando Valley that offer connections to the local and regional transportation network. This set of Frequently Asked Questions is designed to provide you with basic information about the planning effort for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project. It will be updated periodically.

Overview

Modes and Routes

Cost and Funding

Regional Connectivity

Project-Specific

Public Participation



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