The Metro Planning Board will not recommend the demolition of 33 acres of light industry near Kester and Oxnard that would have obliterated 58 buildings, 186 businesses and endangered 1,000 jobs within walking distance of downtown Van Nuys.
“Option A” was a proposed light rail service yard that would have serviced a 9.2 mile public transit train line that will be built from Sylmar/San Fernando to Van Nuys.
Instead, the board said “Option B”, a site around Keswick and Van Nuys Bl., near the existing Metrolink trains, is a better choice for the new site of the service yard.
Construction is anticipated to begin in 2021, with the line opening in 2027.
There are businesses in the “Option B” area that must relocate and they are, predictably and understandably, upset by the decision.
But the “Option B” district is not adjacent to a residential area, and has far fewer parcels, making it a cheaper and faster choice for Metro to demolish and compensate property owners.
“Option A” runs along the Orange Line with its bike path and bus line slated for conversion to light rail.
It is a bustling and well-located area of affordably priced light industry which one day could also be used for inserting cafes, small retail stores, low profile apartments and multi-family dwellings, providing a new residential/work/recreation district in Van Nuys.
To lose it to the bulldozer would have been a tragedy, and let us hope that community activists, architects, investors and city planners will recognize the potential in the “Option A” area and design a new prototype for progressive living in Van Nuys.