The Return of Light Rail


 

Screen_Shot_2017_09_05_at_6.57.53_AM.0Electric_car_in_North_HollywoodVan_Nuys_only_37_years_ago_a_grain_field_in_1911Early_view_of_Van_Nuys_BoulevardVan_Nuys_Boulevard copyVan_Nuys_BoulevardFor the future we now return to the past.

The black and white photos all show how Van Nuys Bl. looked in the period from 1911-1957.

Yesterday there was announcement from Metro.

Metro will build a 9-mile-long light rail down the center of Van Nuys Boulevard, stretching from Sylmar to the Orange Line Van Nuys station near Oxnard St.

The light rail service yard for train maintenance will be built near Raymer St along the Metrolink tracks in the “Option B” area. “Option A” near Oxnard and Kester, that would have destroyed 58 buildings, 186 businesses and 1,000 jobs will not happen.


From the inception of Van Nuys in 1911 until the late 1950s, an electric rail car connected Van Nuys, North Hollywood and Hollywood and provided a means of public transportation from this part of the San Fernando Valley to the rest of Los Angeles.

The modernization of Los Angeles, which always put the car before anything else, led to the ripping out of the rail and its replacement with an enormously wide boulevard of ten lanes of asphalt.

Van Nuys Boulevard today is probably in its worst state of economic and social decline in its history. With its empty stores, shabby buildings, homeless men and women and neglected properties it stands as a civic disgrace.

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Hopefully, the light rail will lead to a change in the betterment of Van Nuys, though local leaders, such as Councilwoman Nury Martinez are often lukewarm about public transportation, painting it in fearful terms of criminality and danger, or still characterizing it as a cattle car for maids and dishwashers to get to work, rather than as a means of transportation for every single citizen of Los Angeles to use.

Any incident of crime is unacceptable on a Metro train.

But how many private cars break the law every single day by speeding, running over pedestrians, going through red lights, and taking part in car chases, drive-by-shootings, hold-ups and child kidnappings?


Here is an article from Curbed LA describing the new project:

“Metro is moving forward with plans for a new rail line in the eastern San Fernando Valley.

One of the 28 projects that the agency plans to have up-and-running in time for the 2028 Olympics, the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor would run from the Orange Line station in Van Nuys to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station, about 9 miles to the north.

Metro had considered building the line as a rapid bus route, rather than rail, but on Thursday the agency’s board of directors approved plans that would advance the project as a light rail route similar to the existing Gold, Blue, and Green lines.

“I have long dreamed of a day when we would have more than two Metro train stops,” Stuart Waldman, president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, told the Metro board.

He called the line the “largest economic development project in the San Fernando Valley this millennium.”

Most of the line would travel along Van Nuys Boulevard, with trains traveling on tracks built in the center of the road. For the final 2.5 miles of the route, trains would travel on San Fernando Road to the northernmost stop.

Metro expects a trip from end-to-end would take about 29 minutes, and that the train could carry close to 50,000 riders per day by 2040. Eventually, the line could connect with a future transit project through the Sepulveda Pass.

That would give Valley residents significantly more options when navigating the city.

Since the line will be served by light rail, Metro will need to add a service station for trains that travel along the route. The agency had considered putting that facility on a parcel of land close to the Van Nuys station, but local property owners complained that the plan would displace hundreds of businesses.

Now, Metro plans to put that maintenance yard closer to the Van Nuys Metrolink station, where it would have to acquire fewer properties. Some businesses would still be displaced, and several business owners expressed concern Thursday that they could be forced to close up shop.

These businesses would be eligible for relocation fees, and on Thursday Metro Boardmember Sheila Kuehl also asked staffers to look into creating a fund to compensate business owners for disruptions caused by construction of the line.

The light rail tracks would serve 14 stations running through the communities of Van Nuys, Panorama City, Arleta, Pacoima, and the city of San Fernando. The entire project would cost about $1.3 billion to construct. Metro previously considered running a short leg of the line underground, but found that would more than double the project cost.

Now that Metro has settled on a design for the project, the agency will complete a final environmental review before preparing to begin construction.

Under the Measure M funding timelineapproved by LA County voters in 2016—the project would break ground in 2021. Construction is expected to wrap up by 2027.”

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