To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Valley: Finally Getting Its Fair Share of the Transportation Pie


By Ken Alpern, July 21, 2015


GETTING THERE FROM HERE-To my neighbors in the San Fernando Valley, I say to you all:  "Relax, I come in peace."  While I've had lots of past criticism for the Valley political leadership in their failure to kill the Robbins bill that could have (and should have!) established the Orange Line as a light rail, and not a Bus Rapid Transit project, at least they're now showing vision. 

Perhaps the political climate is so different now that the San Fernando Valley can finally move beyond the knee-jerk opposition to rail, but the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments (COG) actually came out with a great list of what they're FOR, and not what they're against. 

Part of why it's so obnoxious that we have to pay twice for the Orange Line, which the COG now wants converted to light rail to increase the capacity of that very successful Busway, is that transportation advocates fought against that Busway for it to be done right, and were told that the Robbins Bill (which required only a Subway to be routed west of the Red Line through the Valley, not a surface light rail) was off-limits. 

But that was then, and this is now.  The San Fernando Valley COG also wants the Red Line Subway extended to Burbank Airport, more money to the Metrolink system, a light rail line or busway connection from the Sylmar Metrolink station to the Orange Line, and a Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor to link the Valley with the Westside. 

And this would be paid for by a potential "Measure R-2" that is being worked on my Metro planners and politicians to further the wish-list of transportation projects that this City and County of L.A. are so overdue in funding, planning and building. 

It should be noted that: 

1) It wasn't that long ago that Caltrans and local politicians were all freaking out on how we could tackle the problematic 405/101 interchange and 405 widening projects.  We did it, with some but not enough help from Sacramento and Washington...but we've got more respect and support from those two capitols than ever because we put our own collective money where our mouth is. 

2) The projects linking the East Valley to the West Valley (I know, I know, most non-Valley residents don't distinguish the two regions from the other...but they should!), and the projects linking the West Valley to the Westside, are gigantic regional projects that have enormous implications for countywide regional connectivity, and even a rail/airport grid that is visionary and helpful for the 21st Century. 

So the Valley is getting their voice raised for a host of first-rate projects.  I realize that it doesn't get enough play, but both the 101 and 5 freeways should get their chokepoints widened so that a smoother driving experience can be created despite the crushing traffic.  That's part of mobility, too. 

It's not hard to visualize a light rail, perhaps underground or above ground when appropriate, is needed from the Metrolink station in Sylmar through the Sepulveda Pass, Westside, LAX and South Bay. It would need to be a rail line that could handle hundreds of thousands of commuters a day (like the Red and Purple Line Subways), but it would be both overdue and well-received by commuters and visitors in our county. 

Seems crazy?  Well, so is the idea of an Ocean To The Eastern Regions (OTTER) line, or whatever you want to call it...but the establish of the Expo and Gold Lines, and connecting Downtown Connector, will do just that. 

And the 405/101 interchange seemed like a crisis that was one for which we had no money or political will to fix. 

But we did it. 

And if the Valley can get out of the unhelpful world of "no", then it behooves the rest of the City and County of LA to do the same.