It’s been awhile since I’ve mentioned much from the advocacy front, but if you’re living in the Gr818, there’s been a lot to talk about the last few weeks in terms of Valley transportation, so much so, that I had to break it down into sections!
Yay to things happening.
Boo to me typing to much….
San Fernando Valley Council of Governments Mobility Workshop
Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins
Last Thursday, I attended the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments (SFVCOG) Mobility Workshop out in Burbank with a number of government officials and mobility advocates on hand:
Board Chairman & LA City Councilmember David Ryu was slated to lead off the meeting. He did not make it.
Serving Burbank Mayor Emily Gabel-Libby followed fellow Councilmember Jess Telemantes noting how this city has 105,000 residents, but 150,000 jobs with the goal off adding a significant number of housing units in the coming years. Also, she had a lot nice things to say about Lime scooters.
Newly minted Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins was the keynote speaker leaving the audience encouraged by her presentation and handling of questions.
Her focus is to lean Metrolink into a customer service approach and recognizing systems shouldn’t function independently. Also, the biggest request from passengers is free WiFi.
Metrolink is receiving significant funding from the Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) Program. This will add a number of safety improvements and increase passenger rail service frequency. Cool.
Some of the SCORE targets for 2028
She noted four years ago Metro requested Metrolink to drop fares on the Antelope Valley Line 25%. This reduction has worked to the point that the increased ridership has paid for itself.
Mike Kaiser of BikeCar101 asked when the Ventura Line would be getting weekend service. “April 2020” Wiggins instantly replied. It was a mic drop moment.
In terms of the workshop, the biggest takeaway was how many groups pointed that a key priority for the Valley should be first mile / last mile connections. With so many projects in the works, I’m glad the realization is sinking in that we have to figure out how to get to them.
North San Fernando Valley BRT Corridor
Yesterday, Metro released a refined alignment proposal for the future North San Fernando BRT Corridor narrowing down the route which is scheduled to begin construction in 2022 with a startup date of 2025.
The key link to this project is linking CSUN with mass transit as the nearby Metrolink station needs better connectivity to reach the campus.
One of the options dropped was connecting the Northeast Valley directly to Chatsworth, instead opting for a line that mainly travels east / west on Nordoff & Roscoe.
Still, there are choices that will need to be pared down on how the line will move north / south.
My preference is to have the line continue up Laurel Canyon & Sepulveda over the Lankershim, Haskell and Woodley options because of the potential to reaching more riders.
The question to come is how much priority the BRT would be given to the roadway over other users to maximize its efficiency.
Currently, the Orange Line which covers the same distance takes roughly 50 minutes end to end, but that’s on a dedicated right of way.
Using city streets, I imagine the North SFV BRT will take longer to cover this length while Metro sorts out their center‐running, side‐running, or mixed‐flow options.
Of course, it doesn’t take much to rile up that car centric fear that’s so delicate.
I dunno I feel like this really sells the bus lane pic.twitter.com/MgjaYEnSsY
— Alissa Walker (@awalkerinLA) June 18, 2019
If you want to take a stand, show up to Wednesday’s Metro Planning and Programming meeting at 2pm or call these representatives and let them know why you support this important project:
- Chair, Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker 213-747-1188
- Vice Chair, Mark Riley-Thomas 213-974-2222
- Board Member, Mike Bonin 213-473-7011
- Board Member, John Fasana 626-357-7931
- Board Member, Ara Najarian 818-549-0808
- Non-Voting Member, John Bulinski 213-897-3656
East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor
Last week, Metro held three open houses in San Fernando, Van Nuys and Panorama City for to get input for first mile / last mile connections to the East San Fernando Valley Light Rail scheduled to break ground in 2022:
Each meeting focused on a particular region. I went to the one in Van Nuys which covered the area from the Orange Line up to Sherman Way. I didn’t know there would be boards up covering just that specific area as a number of others.
Metro studied this area and concluded that when the future Valley to Westside subway (or monorail) goes in that the ESFVTC will be so crowded that people will be unable to board trains south of Panorama City. That’s why the subway’s northern terminus has been moved up from the Orange Line to the Van Nuys Metrolink.
Protected bike lanes were included in the study along Van Nuys Boulevard south of the Orange Line and east / west along Sherman Way. Along with those options, participants were asked to prioritize pedestrian and street improvements by the corridor. One of the key suggestions is to make the parallel running Cedros and Tyrone avenues bike friendly since it doesn’t seem to be an option on Van Nuys Blvd.
I don’t know about the other meetings, but it didn’t look like there were a number of bus users there. After stopping by after a block away at the Orange Line stop, I noticed no signs up about this meeting. Opportunity missed.
Winnetka Ave – Earlier this month, LA City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield christened a new bike lane on Winnetka Avenue from Vanowen to Victory linking the LA River Greenway to the Orange Line and Pierce College on a stretch where I placed a ghost bike two years ago.
Blumenfield has been one of the most active councilmembers with another planned project on Reseda Blvd. in the works.
Strangely, this is the first bike lane installed in the City of LA that directly links to the LA River Greenway.
That’s a good looking cyclist out on Winnetka there (photo: Streetsblog LA)
Lorraine Lundquist advances in CD12 – Also in LA City Council news, Loraine Lundquist moved on as the leading vote getter in the primary to fill Mitch Englander’s seat in CD 12.
She is a strong advocate for transportation and environmental issues and hopefully the start of getting candidates in office with 21st century values.
Lundquist also got the highest rating from Bike the Vote and a full endorsement here from CiclaValley.
Loraine has put some serious miles on this bike…
San Fernando Road Bike Path – LADOT has passed the design phase for extending the San Fernando Road Bike Path from Branford to the city border at Cohasset.
This would add another four miles to the existing length of six miles, which also passes through the City of San Fernando.
Most Valley folk don’t know that this is already the second longest bike path in the Valley behind the Orange Line.
More importantly, it will finally give better options from the NE Valley to NoHo although some gaps still need to be closed.
One of the boards from an earlier Sepulveda Transit Corridor meeting
This line is projected to take 15 to 26 minutes from the Van Nuys Metrolink Station to the Expo Line.
For a point of reference, the Red Line covers the same distance and takes 29 minutes from end to end, but has about a third of the stops.
The project is slated to be completed by 2033, but there is pressure to find funding to get it done by the 2028 Olympics.