By Steve Hymon, June 26, 2014
There has been a nice variety of commuter rail projects in the San Fernando Valley on Metro Board agendas in recent months, including one that was approved today to add a new pedestrian bridge for the Metrolink station at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.
To help provide a bigger view of projects that Metro is helping plan, fund and coordinate, here is a quick list:
•A pedestrian bridge between Bob Hope Airport and the existing Metrolink station along Empire Avenue. The bridge will also connect to the airport’s new Regional Intermodal Transportation Center, that will include bus stops and a rental car facility. Metro staff report
•A new station to serve Bob Hope Airport along Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line. This will allow both Metrolink lines in the San Fernando Valley — the Antelope Valley Line and the Ventura County Line — to provide service to and from Bob Hope Airport. Earlier Source post
•A second track for 6.5 miles approximately from Woodley to DeSoto streets along the Ventura County Line. This will help eliminate a long-standing bottleneck in the Valley and increase capacity of trains along the Ventura County Line. Staff report
•A new center platform between the two tracks at Van Nuys station and a pedestrian under-crossing to help passengers reach the new platform. This will provide service to both existing mainline tracks rather than the existing single track service. Staff report
There is another project in the works that will benefit all Metrolink riders: Metro is planning to eliminate a long-standing bottleneck at Union Station that requires all trains to enter and exit the station via tracks on the north side of the facility. It currently takes trains about 15 minutes of turn-around time because of the current track configuration.
Metro’s Southern California Regional Interconnector Project (known as SCRIP) would allow trains to enter and exit the station via its south side by running four tracks over the 101 freeway and connecting to the existing tracks along the Los Angeles River. In other words, trains would be able to enter and exit the station in either direction.
There are several benefits. The turnaround time of trains would be greatly reduced, increasing capacity by 40 percent to percent and allowing trains to get into and out of the station more efficiently. Also, the reduction of idling times for locomotives will decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
The SCRIP tracks would also improve train capacity at Union Station by 40 to 50 percent and, equally important, allow trains to get into and out of the station more quickly. That should benefit all Metrolink and Amtrak riders in the future.
Metro’s Regional Rail team is looking at other projects in the SFV that will better serve Metrolink customers increase safety and mobility. More projects are planned for the area such as additional double tracking and grade crossing enhancements.