The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has approved plans for infrastructure improvements to the San Fernando Valley’s Metro Orange Line. Plans will boost both safety and performance and prepare the bus line for its future conversion to light rail.

The project is funded with $286 million in Measure M taxpayer funds and $75 million in SB 1 state gas tax funds. The State of California has made a commitment to fund more than $1.8 billion in projects for Metro over several years as part of SB 1—The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017. Funding awards represent the largest allocation of SB 1 funds in California to date.

Metro will install up to 35 railroad-type crossing gates along the 18-mile Bus Rapid Transit Corridor that connects North Hollywood with Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley. The gating-system improvements will reduce or eliminate incidents between vehicles and buses, as well as increase the speeds of buses along the corridor and reduce travel times for riders. Crossing gates will enable buses to safely increase their intersection operating speeds from approximately 10 to 15 miles per hour to 25 to 45 miles per hour.

Plans also call for building two grade separations at Van Nuys and Sepulveda boulevards—the two busiest Valley streets along the corridor. Stand-alone bridges will physically separate buses and bicyclists from automobile and pedestrian traffic below. New aerial stations would be built on the bridges.

The project is slated for groundbreaking in 2019 and opening in 2025. In all, the improvements are expected to cut travel times by 20 percent to benefit riders along the 18-mile route. The Metro Orange Line has an average daily ridership of 29,000 boardings.

“One of our strategic goals is to provide high-quality mobility options that enable our customers to spend less time traveling,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “Our planned improvements for the Orange Line will save riders precious time as we continue to build fast, reliable and high-capacity transit for the residents of the San Fernando Valley.”

The project is part of Metro’s Twenty-Eight by ’28 Plan to complete 28 major road, transit and bicycle projects before the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in the L.A. area.

Southern California Partnership for Jobs supports infrastructure investment. We advocated for the passage of SB 1, a new transportation funding source that is becoming ever more critical for California. We oppose any efforts to repeal SB 1 that would rob our communities of vital road safety and transportation improvement funds.

No on Prop 6: Stop the Attack on Bridge and Road Safety.

Source: LA Metro News