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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 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.

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. 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:
  • 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

Phased-Approach

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.


Alternatives

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

 


The next round of community information sessions will be held in fall 2014. The Draft EIS/EIR should be released in mid to late 2015. 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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