This article was published on February 26, 2021

LA’s light rail extension could help revitalize neighborhoods and improve air quality

LA’s light rail extension could help revitalize neighborhoods and improve air quality Image by: LA Metro

This article was originally published by Christopher Carey on Cities Today, the leading news platform on urban mobility and innovation, reaching an international audience of city leaders. For the latest updates follow Cities Today on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, or sign up for Cities Today News.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has granted the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) a Record of Decision for its East San Fernando Valley light rail transit project, certifying that the scheme has satisfied federal guidelines for environmental analysis.

The decision paves the way for the authority to seek federal funding for the design and construction of the 14.8-kilometer project, which will connect the Van Nuys Metro “G” (Orange) Line Station with the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station.

“The East San Fernando Valley Light Rail project has been one of my top transportation priorities since I was elected to the City Council,” said Metro Director Paul Krekorian.

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“This critical backbone project will be the first light rail line in the Valley, connecting communities, revitalizing neighborhoods, reducing congestion, and improving air quality. Last month we pushed the project forward with a US$30 million (£21.7 million) investment in utility work to expedite construction.

“Now, with the Federal Transportation Authority’s Record of Decision, this line becomes eligible for federal funding opportunities, and we are well on our way toward full funding and completion of the foundation for the future of transit in the San Fernando Valley.”

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The light rail line will travel primarily along Van Nuys Boulevard — one of the Valley’s most heavily traveled corridors. Metro received the State of California’s environmental clearance for the project last December.

With an end-to-end travel time of 31 minutes, daily boardings are anticipated to exceed 30,000 by 2040.

First/last mile

Metro has also developed a first/last mile plan for the project that identifies improvements to make it safer to walk and bike to and from the 14 planned transit stations.

The authority will work with the City of Los Angeles to identify an improved first/last mile parallel bike route to replace existing bike lanes on Van Nuys Boulevard that would be removed by the project in Panorama City and Pacoima.

“The East San Fernando Valley Light Rail Transit Project is just one of several major transportation improvements we have in store for the San Fernando Valley,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “It just happens to be the first one to go into construction as we deliver on our promise of better mobility for Valley residents.”

The project will officially begin major construction in 2022 and is scheduled to open by 2028.

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