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East San Fernando Light Rail Transit Project

Light Rail Transit (LRT) is coming to the heart of the San Fernando Valley. This new LRT project will provide connections to key destinations and greater opportunities for transit users to connect to the growing transit network in the San Fernando Valley.

About the Light Rail Transit Project

The alignment will include 14 at-grade stations with an end-to-end travel time of 31 minutes, and daily boardings that are anticipated to exceed 30,000 by the year 2040. Currently, buses operating on Van Nuys Blvd are the second busiest in the Valley (second only to the Metro G Line (Orange ) and the seventh-highest in the Metro system). Stations will be strategically located in close proximity to Metro Local and Rapid east/west bus service to enable convenient connections.

Project History

On June 28, 2018, Metro’s Board of Directors chose Light Rail Transit (LRT) as the preferred alternative for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project (Project). Once opened, this LRT Project will extend north from the Van Nuys Metro G Line (Ornage) station, to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station, a total of 9.2 miles. $1.3 billion has been identified for the project, most coming from local Measure M, Measure R and State gas tax funds. Once in place, light rail trains similar to the Metro L (Gold) and E (Expo) lines, will operate in the median of Van Nuys Blvd for 6.7 miles to San Fernando Road. From San Fernando Road, the trains will transition onto the existing railroad right-of-way adjacent to San Fernando Road, which it will share with Metrolink for 2.5 miles to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station.

Environmental Process

Metro staff reviewed the more than 900 written and oral comments received during the Project’s Public Hearings and 60-day public review period. During this period, the community expressed strong support for the LRT alternative and support for a new maintenance and storage facility to support the trains in an industrialized area to the west of Van Nuys Blvd and just south of the Ventura Metrolink tracks (Option B).

During the Project’s technical review, Metro staff determined that LRT better matched the Project’s goals and objectives over what could be achieved with bus rapid transit (BRT). Since a three-car train set can carry up to 400 riders, the capacity of LRT far exceeds that of BRT.

The Project’s Final environmental documents will be available for review October 2, 2020. Property acquisitions and utility relocations can commence once the Metro Board certifies the document.

Project Schedule

Construction groundbreaking is scheduled to begin in 2022 and is expected to be completed in time for the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.


Placeholder for Final EIS/EIR virtual meetings:

Public meetings for the project will be held online via zoom meeting or dial number on the dates and times identified below.

  • October 14 in English and meeting will begin at 4:30 pm
  • October 26 in Spanish and meeting will begin at 6:00 pm

Frequently Asked Questions

Metro and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), in coordination with the cities of Los Angeles and San Fernando, evaluated the feasibility of a major mass transit project that would operate in the center or curb-lane of Van Nuys Boulevard from the Van Nuys Metro G ( Orange ) Line G Line (Orange ) , north to San Fernando Road. From there, the proposed alignment would proceed northwest on or adjacent to San Fernando Road to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station – a distance of 9.2 miles.

Overview

1. What is the process for studying this project?

The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor must go through an environmental review process consistent with federal and state guidelines. The process began with the completion of an Alternatives Analysis (AA) Report (a report that considered all feasible alternatives for the corridor) and continued with the refinement of the alternatives and the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIS/EIR). In 2016, Metro submitted the Administrative DEIS to the FTA for review and Authorization to Circulate.

The Draft EIS/EIR was approved by the FTA and the document was circulated for a 45-day public review and comment period. During this period, Metro held public hearings on the document throughout the corridor to present its findings and to request input from those that may benefit or be impacted by the project. After conclusion of the public comment period, the Metro Board of Directors selected a modified alternative 4 as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). At-grade median running Light Rail Transit (LRT)  with 14 stations. Metro has prepared the Final EIS/EIR which addresses public comments received during the project’s 45-day review period. The Metro Board will be asked to certify the EIR (the State environmental document), to finalize the document. The federal environmental review process concludes when the FTA grants the project a Record of Decision (ROD).

2. How was the study area determined?

Initially, an alignment along Van Nuys Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard (as well as several hybrids of both) were considered as these two Boulevards realize the greatest north/south transit ridership and the greatest congestion in the San Fernando Valley. After completing a technical review and after considering hundreds of community  comments  (most  expressing  a  preference for service on Van Nuys Boulevard), it was determined that the Project should focus on Van Nuys Boulevard. In addition to the Boulevard being the busiest  north-south transit corridor in the San Fernando Valley, it includes the Civic Center and other primary origin/destination points including the Van  Nuys Metrolink station.

Also based on community comments and a technical review, the northern origination/terminus of the Corridor  was  changed  from  Van  Nuys  Boulevard  and the Interstate-210 Freeway, to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station. This location is serviced by a number of local and rapid buses and provides a connection to regional commuter rail service that connects with Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley communities.

3. How were the build alternatives developed?

Initially, approximately 130 build alternatives were given consideration, which consisted of a combination of alignments and modal options. After completing analysis and hosting a series of community meetings where feedback was encouraged and received, in January 2013 an Alternatives Analysis (AA) report was completed. This report recommended the Van Nuys /San Fernando Road alignment (see map) and recommended evaluating Rail and Bus Rapid Transit modal opportunities. As a result of comments received at project scoping meetings and through a more in-depth corridor analysis,  the study alternatives were refined throughout 2013 and 2014.

4. What are the refined alternatives being studied now?

Four “build” alternatives were evaluated:

Alternative 1: Curb-Running Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Similar to the Wilshire BRT service, high-capacity, clean- fuel/Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses would operate in dedicated “bus only” lanes, running along the curb for 6.7 miles on Van Nuys Boulevard and for 2.5 miles in mixed-flow lanes along San Fernando Road and Truman Street. The alternative would include 18 enhanced stations.

Alternative 2: Median-running BRT:
Similar to the Metro G Line (Orange), high-capacity, clean-fuel/ Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses would operate in a 6.7 mile dedicated median busway in the center of Van Nuys Boulevard and 2.5 miles of mixed flow operations along San Fernando Road and Truman Street, and would include 17 enhanced stations.

Alternative 3: Low-floor Light Rail Transit (LRT):
Similar to surface-running rail systems in San Diego, San Francisco, and Portland, low-floor, electric-powered rail vehicles would operate in a dedicated guideway in the center of Van Nuys Boulevard for 6.7 miles and 2.5 miles mixed-flow lanes along San Fernando Road with 28 enhanced stations.

Alternative 4: Light Rail Transit (LRT)
Similar to the existing Metro A Line (Blue), C Line (Green), L Line (Gold), and E Line (Expo), overhead electric-powered rail vehicles would  operate on a dedicated guideway in the middle of Van Nuys Boulevard, with 2.5 miles underground between Sherman Way and Roscoe. The trains would operate for 2.5 miles on railroad right-of-way, adjacent to San Fernando Road.

5. How much does each build alternative cost?

Currently, all costs are preliminary capital costs in 2014 dollars and are subject to change.

  • Curb-Running BRT: $ 294 million
  • Median-Running BRT: $402 million
  • Low-Floor Light Rail Transit/Tram: $1.3 billion
  • Light Rail Transit: $2.7 billion

6. How much money is available for the Project and what are the funding sources?

In November 2016, the voters of L.A. County approved Measure M, a ½ cent sales tax designed to make funds available for several transit and highway projects. Measure M earmarks $1.3 billion for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor, which is sufficient to build either an at-grade Light Rail Transit or Bus Rapid Transit project for the 9.2-mile corridor.

In order to ensure the objectives of the project are met in a timely manner and avoid delays due to the timing of funding availability, Metro is considering constructing the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) in phases. The first phase, or Initial Operating Segment (IOS), would run along the same alignment and have the same LRT design features and operating and service characteristics as those described for the LPA; however, the IOS would only include the 6.7-mile segment along Van Nuys Boulevard. Additional details regarding the LPA (and IOS) characteristics, components, and facilities are described in the Final EIS/EIR.

7. What other alternatives were evaluated?

The federal and state environmental process requires that the following low or no-cost alternatives be considered:

No  B uild: This looks at the study area in 2040 without  any new project. It incorporates existing roads; highways; transit services and facilities, as well as any  other future projects that are included in the Metro Board adopted 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan for implementation by 2040.

Transportation Systems Management  (TSM): This option considers low-cost capital and operations improvements to the transportation system such as improvements to signal timing, enhancing existing bus service, widening targeted intersections, etc.

8. What factors will be used to evaluate the various alternatives for this project?

The alternatives were evaluated using the following screening criteria:

  • Mobility Benefits and Impacts
  • Regional Connectivity
  • Cost-Effectiveness (such as capital and operating costs)
  • Environmental Benefits and Impacts
  • Land Use Considerations (such as job creation, development opportunities and quality of life improvements)
  • Community Input
  • Financial Capability

9. What are some of the existing conditions of the Study Area, specifically Van Nuys Boulevard?

  • Buses operating on Van Nuys Boulevard realize some of the highest daily/ weeday boardings in the Metro system.
  • The Corridor has more transit-dependency, more zero-vehicles households, and greater poverty than Los Angeles County averages.
  • Of the transit trips, 50% stay within the Corridor.
  • More than half of the boardings within the Study Area occur within the three-mile segment between the Metro G Line (Orange) to the south and the Panorama City Mall to the north.
  • In the congested segments of the Corridor, bus speeds drop to as low as 10 mph during the afternoon peak- periods (3 to 6pm).
  • The Corridor has the 7th highest transit boardings in the entire Metro system.
  • The Corridor has the highest north-south transit boardings in the San Fernando Valley.

10. How will the proposed East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project improve transit connections to the entire region?

With the passage of Measure M, Metro is transforming transportation across the region, and the East San  Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project is one of 40 major transit and highway projects planned for the next 40 years. Planners for this Project will continue to work together with planners for other San Fernando Valley transit projects with Measure M funding, including the Sepulveda Transit Corridor  Project,  Metro  Orange  Line  BRT  Improvements, and the North San Fernando Valley BRT Improvements Project. The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor also connects with the Van Nuys Metrolink and Amtrak station and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station, providing linkages to regional destinations.

11. Is Metro working with other agencies on the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project?

As part of its planning process, Metro is collaborating with the City of Los Angeles, the City of San Fernando, and Metrolink. Any future Metro project must take into consideration City of Los Angeles plans; potential projects planned by the City of San Fernando; the Metrolink Van Nuys North Platform Project and the proposed Metrolink safety improvements Brighton to Roxford Double Track Project.

Modes and Routes

12. Is Metro studying Active Transportation needs for the Corridor?

Metro has completed a First/Last Mile Study as part of the next project phase, for which Metro will look for opportunities to 1) improve safety, accessibility and aesthetics for people walking and/or biking to a station; 2) identify major pathways to stations; and 3) consider ADA ramps, crosswalk improvements, signals, car/bike share, bus stops and wayfinding signs.”

13. Will a new storage and maintenance facility be needed?

A new facility would be needed to store and maintain the rail cars. Of the three locations identified for a maintenance and storage facility, Option B was selected. This storage facility option is in an industrialized area to the west of Van Nuys Blvd and just south of the Ventura Metrolink tracks.

14. How will public input be reflected in the study?

Public input is a critical element of the planning process and has already influenced the study. Metro has hosted numerous community meetings to update residents, businesses, elected offices and stakeholders on the study’s progress. Based on comments received at earlier stages, the project has evaluated different travel modes, routes and origin/destination points. Public input will continue to be one of the factors used to analyze the alternatives being evaluated for this project. All feedback received will be summarized, documented and shared with the Metro Board of Directors. While public input is gathered throughout the study effort, there are two “formal” public comment periods.

Scoping Meetings: The work on the Draft EIS/EIR began with a “scoping period” from March 1 through May 6, 2013. During this time, the public was invited to provide input on the issues they suggested the study analyze. Public comments were received in person during scoping meetings and in writing.

Public Hearings: Prior to consideration and action by the Metro Board of Directors, the Draft EIS/EIR was released for a 45-day public review period. It was during this time that the public was encouraged toa submit “official” comments and questions for further consideration by the Metro Board as it considered its selection of the Locally Preferred Alternative. Comments and questions were received orally at public hearings, or submitted in writing either at public hearings or to Metro prior to the end of the 45-day public comment period.

15. What are the routes and characteristics for the proposed Light Rail Transit Project?

  • The LRT would operate in fully-dedicated right-of-way in the median of Van Nuys Bl and in the Metro-owned rail right-of-way that runs along San Fernando Rd, with signal priority for a distance of 9.2 miles.
  • Depending on the location along the route, it would operate on the street or below ground.
  • Metro Local bus service would continue to operate, thereby continuing to provide service to less traveled intersections along Van Nuys Bl.
  • This alternative would connect to feeder bus service between the Metro G Line (Orange) and Ventura Bl.
  • Stations could be constructed at approximately one-mile intervals.
  • A new rail maintenance facility will be constructed to the west of Van Nuys Bl and just south of the Ventura Metrolink line (Option B).

16. How is the Light Rail Train powered?

The East San Fernando Valley Line’s light-rail vehicles will be powered by overhead catenary wires which supply the trains with 750v of electricity.

Cost and Funding

17. How much money is available for the Project and what are the funding sources?

The Measure M Expenditure Plan earmarked $1.3 billion for the project, which includes $810 million of Measure M funds and $520 million of other funding.  SB-1, the state’s gas tax and vehicle transportation funding program, allocated more than $400 million for the project in 2018.

18. How are you going to build the project if you don’t have the money?

In order to ensure the objectives of the project are met in a timely manner and avoid delays due to the timing of funding availability, Metro is considering constructing the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) in two ph ases . The first phase, or Initial Operating Segment (IOS), would run along the same alignment and have the same LRT design features and operating and service characteristics as those described for the LPA; however, the IOS would only include the 6.7-mile segment along Van Nuys Boulevard. Additional details regarding the LPA (and IOS) characteristics, components, and facilities are described in the Final EIS/EIR.

Regional Connectivity

19. How will the proposed East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project improve transit connections to the entire region?

The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor intersects with the Metro G Line (Orange) that connects to the Metro Red Line in North Hollywood. It also connects with the Metrolink Ventura and Antelope Valley Lines, and Amtrak stations providing linkages to regional destinations.

20. Is Metro determining where the greatest number of people need to – or want to – travel?

Yes, one aspect of the analysis will be to determine travel patterns in the study area, including travel to key destinations within the corridor and beyond. Community input from individuals and organizations will provide important information about key destinations.

21. How will the proposed East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project work with the Sepulveda Corridor Project?

The Sepulveda Corridor Project is another one of the Measure R transit projects. This future project is intended to improve connections between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside of Los Angeles. Based on the current funding schedule in Metro’s 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project is not scheduled to initiate construction  until after the ESFVTC project is in revenue operations. However, Metro is exploring alternate funding scenarios, including Public-Private Partnership, which may allow a project to be completed sooner. It is not yet known what kind of project this future improvement will be.  Regardless, planners for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor and the Sepulveda  Corridor Project are working together to ensure coordination between the two projects.

22. Will the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project look at connections into Downtown Burbank?

No. In Metro’s 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor is focused on improving north-south travel. A connection further east to Burbank is being studied separately as a potential Bus Rapid Transit project as approved by the Metro Board of Directors on July 24, 2014.

23. How will the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project work with the proposed California High Speed Rail Project?

Metro and the California High-Speed Rail Authority are working closely together. The East San Fernando Transit Corridor Project must consider the future development of the railroad right-of-way that extends from Van Nuys Bl to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station. This route is being considered for future High Speed Rail service that will connect Downtown Los Angeles with San Francisco in less than three hours.

Project-Specific

24. Will bike lanes and other bike facilities be included along the Corridor as part of this project?

As a part of the environmental study, opportunities to integrate shared bike facilities were not evaluated due to the limited width size of current streets.  Metro will work with the City of Los Angeles to identify parallel north-south streets where bike-lanes could be implemented.

25. How will the location of stops or stations be determined?

Several factors were considered when determining station locations. Stations are typically located 1/2- mile to one mile apart. The goal was to improve overall travel time by allowing for greater speeds between stations, and less time stopped at stations, while also maximizing ridership potential by locating stations to allow for easy transfers to east-west operating bus lines the cross the ESFVTC alignment as well as to serve highly visited destinations and activity centers.

26. Will on-street parking be affected?

Yes, to accommodate a 26 foot wide LRT alignment down the median of Van Nuys Bl., on-street parking will need to be removed on both sides of the street.  However, there should be ample parking available at business parking lots and on parallel streets.

27. Will corridor businesses be affected?

Similar to the previous answer on parking, it is too early in the process to identify the effects, if any, that the project will have on businesses. The EIS/EIR will analyze impacts of the project for businesses in the area.

28. How will a new transit system help the area economically?

A new transit system has the ability to create new development opportunities along the corridor because it will provide increased regional connectivity, as well as increased travel options. It will also allow users to conveniently access retail centers along the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor, thereby stimulating increased sales revenues for local businesses. Opportunities for Transit Oriented Development (TOD) around stations can lead to providing service to residential and commercial projects, which in turn creates job opportunities.

Public Participation

29. What can I do to help spread the word?

There are several things you can do:

30. Can you make a presentation to my community group?

We would be happy to schedule a presentation for your organization. Please contact us at eastsfvtransit@metro.net

31. How can I contact you to ask a question, provide input or participate?

There are many public participation opportunities throughout this process.  You can e-mail us at eastsfvtransit@metro.net to ask a question, provide input or send us your contact information.

  • Please attend any meetings we host in the community at key milestones. We will let you know when those dates are if you send your contact information to eastsfvtransit@metro.net .
  • Follow us and participate on Twitter ( @metrolosangeles ) and Facebook
  • Call us at (818) 276-3233
  • Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net.
  • Send a letter to: Walter Davis, Project Manager; Metro; 1 Gateway Plaza, 99-22-15; Los Angeles, CA 90012

Metro will accept written responses and comments between October 2, 2020 and November 2, 2020. Your comments may also be sent by email to eastsfvtransit@metro.net . The 30-day availability period in which the public can review the Final EIS/EIR begins October 2, 2020 with the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s publication of the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register. Comments must be received on or before November 2, 2020, to be considered in FTA’s Record of Decision. The Record of Decision will include information on the alternatives considered, the locally preferred alternative and why it was chosen, and required mitigation and monitoring. FTA will execute a Record of Decision no sooner than 30 calendar days from the date of publication of the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register.


East SFV Draft EIS/EIR

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Executive Summary (Spanish)
Chapter 1 Purpose and Need 1 - 1

  • 1.1 History and Background 1-1
  • 1.2 Description of Project Area/Corridor 1-3
  • 1.3 Transportation System and Performance 1-16
  • 1.4 Project Purpose, Need, and Objectives 1-46

Chapter 2 Project Description/ Alternatives Considered 2 - 1

2.1 Alternatives Screening and Selection Process 2-2

  • 2.2 Alternatives 2-4
    2.2.1 No-Build Alternative 2-4
    2.2.2 TSM Alternative 2-5
    2.2.3 BRT Alternatives 2-9
    2.2.4 Rail Alternatives 2-21
    2.2.5 Operations Summary 2-48
  • 2.3 Alternatives Considered and Eliminated from Further Review 2-50
  • 2.4 Construction Activities 2-50
  • 2.5 Anticipated Permits and Approvals 2-52
  • 2.6 Approach to Cumulative Impacts Analysis 2-53

Chapter 3 Transportation, Transit, Circulation, and Parking 3-1
Chapter 4 Affected Environment and Environmental Consequences

Chapter 5 Section 4(f) Evaluation 5-1

  • 5.1 Regulatory Framework and Methodology 5-1
  • 5.2 Affected Environment/Existing Conditions 5-5
  • 5.3 Environmental Consequences 5-13
  • 5.4 Maintenance and Storage Facility Sites 5-17
  • 5.5 Agency Coordination and Consultation 5-19

Chapter 6 Evaluation of Alternatives 6-1

  • 6.1 Introduction 6-1
  • 6.2 Capital Costs and Funding 6-1
  • 6.3 Comparison of Alternatives 6-9
  • 6.4 Environmentally Superior Alternative 6-13
  • 6.5 Alternatives Considered But Eliminated 6-13
  • 6.6 Selection of a Locally Preferred Alternative 6-15
    6.6.1 BRT Alternatives 6-15
    6.6.2 Rail Alternatives 6-15

Chapter 7 Public and Agency Outreach 7 - 1

  • 7.1 Introduction and Summary of Outreach Efforts 7-1
  • 7.2 Background 7-1
  • 7.3 Public Participation Plan 7-1
  • 7.4 Government and Other Agency Consultation 7-2
  • 7.5 Community Outreach 7-4
  • 7.6 Public Hearings 7-6
  • 7.7 Accommodations for Minority, Low-Income, and Persons with Disabilities 7-7

List of Appendices

Appendix A List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
Appendix B List of Preparers
Appendix C List of Draft EIS/ EIR Recipients
Appendix D References
Appendix E Purpose and Need Report
Appendix F Alternatives Analysis Report
Appendix G Transportation Impacts Report
Appendix H Land Use Impacts Report
Appendix I Real Estate and Acquisitions
Appendix J Community and Neighborhoods Impacts Report
Appendix K Visual and Aesthetics Impacts Report
Appendix L Air Quality Technical Report
Appendix M Noise and Vibration Impacts Report
Appendix N Ecosystems and Biological Resources Impacts Report
Appendix O Geotechnical Report
Appendix P Hazardous Materials Technical Report
Appendix Q Water Resources Technical Report
Appendix R Energy Technical Report
Appendix S Cultural Resources Impacts Report
Appendix T Parklands and Community Facilities Impacts Report
Appendix U Section 4 (f) Report
Appendix V Economic and Fiscal Impacts Report
Appendix W Safety and Security Impact Report
Appendix X Construction Methods and Impacts Report
Appendix Y Growth-Inducing Impacts
Appendix Z Cumulative Impacts Report
Appendix AA Environmental Justice Impacts Report
Appendix BB Climate Change Technical Report
Appendix CC Scoping Outreach Documentation Report
Appendix DD Agency Coordination and Public Involvement
Appendix EE Tree Inventory Report
Appendix FF Operating and Maintenance Costs Report
Appendix GG Detailed Capital Costs Report
Appendix HH Preliminary Engineering Drawings: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4A | Part 4B | Part 4C
Appendix II Historic Property & Cultural Resources Report - SHPO Consultation