The question remains, is a light-rail project through the Sepulveda Pass still possible?
Jerard Wright, current Sierra Club Angeles Chapter Transportation Committee Co-Chair and former Vice President of the Transit Coalition believes it is. Here are his thoughts about this (shared with his permission):
I think its salvageable -given that its early in the process- but the key thing is being realistic on funding.
Don't assume Federal New Starts on this with 30-10 or America Fast Forward programs because those are committed to Purple Line to Westwood and Regional Connector projects at this time. If it shows that it has Federal New Starts potential, then that may delay the project delivery date as it will need to go through another cycle of New Starts.
My thoughts are focus the bulk of the rail energy on the Sepulveda Pass corridor from Orange Line to Expo Line with or without the tunnel parallel to the pass, stretch that $1B+ to link up with as many activity centers as possible so that you can get some stronger ridership data.
Use the Public-Private Partnership ideas on some of the station area planning/developments such as Sepulveda Orange Line station, Ventura Blvd (Sepulveda or Van Nuys), Sepulveda/Pico Expo Line station maybe even UCLA/Westwood Village station to bridge gaps in funding. So that more money goes towards the route infrastructure and less of it goes to the stations themselves.
The key is, given that this could be LRT, Could this corridor take an initial San Diego trolley approach here a simple no-frills design and infrastructure? I don't know how much construction ROW or easements will be left after the 405 HOV widening project but I would suggest building shallow tunnels and trenches under these easements- if they can- where the elevation shifts and differs.
I wished Metro spent a little more $$$ on the 405 HOV project to go towards a future ROW for such a transit project as this would have saved money in the long run.
The Van Nuys Corridor in the long term visioning should be rail, however any sort of infrastructure beyond a TSM would make it difficult to get a future rail corridor. Should the approach be pushing for TSM on this leg? TSM could possibly do the same things as the lanes (such as better signal pre-emption & synchronization on both the Local and Rapid corridor buses and consolidation & relocation of bus stops to expedite boardings which improve operating speeds) at a lower cost then BRT and saves more of the money needed to push a rail transit corridor north following the intended vision.
What do you think?