Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How do we bring light-rail to the San Fernando Valley?

On my previous blog post, Please combine the Sepulveda and Van Nuys transit projects into one rail project between Sylmar and LAX, Thomas Piland asked a very important question, "How do we get onboard and get this approved?"

I'd like to expand this discussion to not just have a north-south light rail line between Sylmar and LAX, but an east-west light-rail line between Warner Center or CSUN and Pasadena as well.  So how do we encourage Metro to not just dump lesser busways on the San Fernando Valley while the rest of the county gets Metrorail extensions?

Anyone, such as me, can post on their blog a suggested rail alignment for Metro.  However, that is not as effective as collection.   What needs to happen is organized action.  The San Fernando Valley transit advocates who want (at least) two light-rail lines of their own need to not just lobby Metro themselves, but lobby the San Fernando Valley powers that be to lobby Metro themselves.

Let's take these one by one:

First, you want to contact Metro regarding the Sepulveda Pass transit corridor and the Van Nuys transit corridor and state your comment that you want these to be a joined together as light rail project.  You may do that here:

Sepulveda Pass corridor  -  (Renee Berlin, Executive Officer, TDI)
Van Nuys corridor -  (Walter Davis, Project Manager)

You may also contact the Metro Board of Directors and let them know you want Metrorail for the San Fernando Valley.   (Metro Board of Directors)

If you want not just a north-south light-rail between Sylmar and LAX, but an east-west light-rail to, the most obvious candidate is upgrading the Orange Line busway to light-rail, which I discuss in this this blog post, What about upgrading the Orange Line to light-rail?.  The idea is catching on elsewhere too:  Orange Line Conversion to Light Rail: It Can Happen and Orange Line Bridges: Are they strong enough for light rail?

Even if the Alternative Analysis finds there is an even better east-west alignment, we still want the OPTION of upgrading the Orange Line.  For that to happen the Robbins Bill needs to be repealed.  The misguided actions of a corrupt State Senator and a bunch of NIMBYs twenty years ago shouldn't stand forever.  There is an election coming up next year.  So ask every candidate for the State Senate and State Assembly in the Valley to pledge to seek repeal of the Robbins bill that bans light-rail on the Orange Line corridor.  Also contact your state legislators currently in office, which may be found here:

California State Assembly
California State Senate

Let the currently serving legislators and candidates for election know that you consider expanding Metrorail into the San Fernando Valley is a priority.

Then get involved with your Neighborhood Council and encourage them to support a resolution calling for expanding Metrorail in the San Fernando Valley.  The San Fernando Valley Neighborhood Councils may be found here:

empowerLA Roster of Neighborhood Councils

Write your Los Angeles City Councilmember behind this as well as your Los Angeles County Supervisor, all of whom sit on Metro's Authority.

Write our U.S. Senators and Congressmembers to support Mayor Villaraigosa's 30-10 Plan.  The sooner Measure R projects are underway, the sooner we can plan beyond Measure R.

Get the business community behind this idea too.  Contact the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) and ask them to use their influence to support an expansion of Metrorail, which can only help their businesses with the new economic activity this expansion would bring.

Please consider joining a transit advocacy group.  Southern California Transit Advocates and The Transit Coalition are groups that both support expanding light-rail into the San Fernando Valley.

Just because the San Fernando Valley is late to the game, doesn't mean it is too late for Metrorail.

NOTE:  While I live in West Hollywood now, I lived in North Hollywood for six years and still care about the transit welfare of the San Fernando Valley.  And, as I believe these two light-rail lines would benefit the entire region, I think it is important for ALL of us in Los Angeles County to support this effort.  A rising transit tide lifts ALL boats because it increases connectivity.


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Anonymous said...

Thanks for this citizen-action summary as well!! :D