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East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor

Metro and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in coordination with the Cities of Los Angeles and San Fernando, are evaluating the feasibility of a major mass transit project that would operate in the center or curb-lane along Van Nuys Bl from the Van Nuys Metro Orange Line station north to San Fernando Rd where it would proceed northwest along San Fernando Rd to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station – a distance of 9.2 miles.

Where We’ve Been

When the study began in 2010, 29 alternatives (i.e., routes and modes) were considered. That resulted in an Alternatives Analysis (AA) Report released in January 2013 that, based on analysis and public input, recommended five initial build alternatives for further study through the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) as required by federal and state laws. These alternatives were further refined throughout 2013 and 2014. Currently, there are two alternatives for dedicated bus rapid transit service and two for rail service, along with the federal and state required “No Build” and “Transportation Systems Management” alternatives.

Public participation has been critical throughout the study process and Metro has hosted numerous community meetings to update residents, businesses, elected officials and stakeholders on the study progress, and to encourage input on the refined alternatives. In March 2015, Metro launched an outreach campaign specifically targeting feedback from those who work and/or have businesses along and near the Van Nuys Corridor.

What We’ve Learned So Far

  • Van Nuys Bl has the 2nd highest transit boardings in the San Fernando Valley, following the Metro Orange Line.
  • On an average weekday, there are nearly 25,000 boardings on Metro buses operating on Van Nuys Bl.
  • Approximately 50% of the boulevard’s boardings occur along a 2.8 mile stretch, between the Metro Orange Line and Roscoe Bl.
  • In the same segment (Metro Orange Line to Roscoe) transit users experience the slowest bus speeds – where buses slow to approximately 10 mph during the afternoon rush hours.
  • Of the study area population, 35% is transit-dependent.

Where We’re Going

Metro is currently in the process of evaluating the alternatives and preparing the project’s Draft EIS/EIR that will compare each alternative and identify any impacts, as well as mitigation measures, if any, that may help offset the impacts. There are a wide range of issues being studied, including transportation, parking, communities and neighborhoods, construction, air quality, safety and security, and environmental justice. As part of this project, Metro is also coordinating with the City of Los Angeles regarding Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Director Garcetti’s Great Streets Program. Once this draft document has been reviewed and approved by the FTA for release, it will be circulated for a 45-day public comment period.

Funding

In November 2016, the voters of LA County approved Measure M, a ½ cent sales tax designed to make funds available for a number of transit and highway projects. Measure M earmarks $1.3 billion for the East San Fernando Transit Valley Corridor, which is sufficient to build either an at grade Light Rail Transit or Bus Rapid Transit project for the 9.2-mile corridor.

Refined Alternatives Being Studied

In addition to the No Build and Transportation Systems Management (TSM), the following four build alternatives are being evaluated as part of this study. All costs listed are preliminary capital costs in 2014 dollars and are subject to change.

Alternative 1: Curb-running Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Similar to the Wilshire BRT service, there would be 6.7 miles of curb-running dedicated busway on Van Nuys Bl and 2.5 miles of mixed-flow lanes along San Fernando Rd, operating either 24 hours or only in peak periods with 18 enhanced stations. This alternative is projected to cost $294 million.

Alternative 2: Median-running BRT

Similar to the Metro Orange Line, buses would run in a 6.7 mile dedicated median busway in the center of Van Nuys Bl and 2.5 miles of mixed-flow operations along San Fernando Rd, and would include 17 stations. This alternative would cost $402 million.

Alternative 3: Low-floor Light Rail Transit (LRT)/Tram

Similar to San Diego, Portland and European systems, this alternative would operate in a dedicated guideway in the center of Van Nuys Bl for 6.7 miles and 2.5 miles in mixed-flow along San Fernando Rd, with 28 enhanced stations. This alternative is projected to cost $1.3 billion.

Alternative 4: LRT

Similar to existing Metro LRT Lines, trains would operate for 6.7 miles in a median dedicated guideway on Van Nuys Bl with 2.5 miles underground. The trains would run for 2.5 miles on railroad right-of-way adjacent to San Fernando Rd. There would be 14 stations, three of which would be underground. This alternative is projected to cost $2.7 billion.


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


Frequently Asked Questions (February 2016)

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Metro and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in coordination with the cities of Los Angeles and San Fernando, are evaluating the feasibility of a major mass transit project that would operate in the center or curb-lane of Van Nuys Boulevard from the Van Nuys Metro Orange Line, north to San Fernando Road. From there, the proposed alignment would proceed northwest on or adjacent to San Fernando Road to the Sylmar/ San Fernando Metrolink station – a distance of 9.2 miles.

Overview

Modes and Routes

Cost and Funding

Regional Connectivity

Project-Specific

Public Participation


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