Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Creating a Transit Plan for the San Fernando Valley


On the
Los Angeles Times website under its LA Now Blog, Dave A. wrote the following:


"How about some attention to the San Fernando Valley...?

The Valley has 2/3 the population, yet gets 1/10th the public transit investments."


http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/10/mayors-effort-to-fasttrack-westside-subway-faced-challenge.html#comments


Dave A. raises a good point.


I'm watching the machinations of San Gabriel Valley politicos who are persistently and consistently advocating for two Gold Line extensions.


There is no equivalent energy and advocacy happening in the San Fernando Valley.


It's not that the San Fernando Valley doesn't have worthy transit infrastructure projects. My top five SFV projects are:


1) a Sepulveda light rail project between Sylmar and LAX;
2) upgrading the already at capacity Orange Line from busway to light rail;
3) Connecting Burbank Airport to Metro Rail;
4) An east-west line connecting the North Hollywood Station to the Gold Line through Burbank and Glendale;
5) A Ventura Blvd. modern streetcar between
Universal City and Warner Center.

These are achievable in the long-term if the San Fernando Valley decides to get busy and start advocating for them.


There are certainly dynamic transit advocates in the Valley, such as Kymberleigh Richards. Please check out her website: http://www.transit-insider.org/ (While you are there, check out her "Transportation 101" link for a great presentation on how transportation is funded.)


Because California, Los Angeles County and Los Angeles City have legislatures that are too small and have enormous size legislative districts, many of the San Fernando Valley's elected politicians also represent the Westside, where their power and influence is based and where most of the density is. Since I believe the downtown Regional Connector and the Westside Subway extension are the two most critical public transit infrastructure projects in Los Angeles County, I do not fault this.


However, what is missing in discussions about the future of
Los Angeles transit infrastructure is an organization advocating on behalf of the San Fernando Valley specifically.


Could VICA (Valley Industry and Commerce Association) be the organization to get this SFV specific transit advocacy going? What about a SFV neighborhood council alliance? I'm interested in hearing your ideas.