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Last week, the Metro Board reportedly approved the light rail line in the San Fernando Valley. With the Final Environmental Impact Report being greenlit, it marks the completion of the last step required by the state’s environmental review process. It’s a huge step towards commencing construction of the railway which will run between the G Line (Orange) Van Nuys Station and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station with 14 stations.
The line will serve over 35,000 people daily and will run similar to the bus routes currently running on Van Nuys Boulevard. Stations will be strategically located to other metro points to keep connections streamline. Construction is set to commence in 2022 and it’s expected to be completed in time for the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A key item contained in the board’s EIR approval is the option for the line to be built in segments, as is typically done for major Los Angeles Metro rail line construction projects. Building the line in “interim operating segments” gives L.A. Metro the flexibility to determine the most efficient and cost-effective way to build its projects. When complete, the new Valley light-rail line will make it easy to connect between L.A. Metro’s G Line, Metrolink, Amtrak, and multiple east-west Valley bus lines.
Also approved by the Metro Board is a corresponding First/Last Mile Plan. About 80% of riders reportedly walk or bike/roll to stations, and many other people say they want to take transit but getting to and from stations without a car is time consuming and unpleasant. The First/Last Mile Plan will identify small improvements that will make it smoother for pedestrians and bicyclists to move between stations. This plan would include creating a parallel bike path to replace the existing one on Van Nuys Boulevard.
Additionally, a federal environmental review process is expected to conclude in Jan. 2021 with an anticipated Record of Decision by the Federal Transit Administration. This action is anticipated to confirm the project meets all federal environmental guidelines and makes it eligible for federal funding.
The agency’s Measure M transportation sales tax measures provide local funding needed to attract additional state and federal funds. But this shovel-ready project already received state funding from SB 1, and, according to Metro, it could be well-positioned to compete if any federal funding opportunities become available.
Another Metro project — the Sepulveda Transit Corridor — proposes to build a high-capacity transit line from Van Nuys across the Sepulveda Pass to the Westside and then beyond to LAX. That project is currently in the planning phase as different routes and financing plans are being studied and developed.