The planning and programming committee of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, on Wednesday recommended that the Metro board approve a proposal to build a light rail system along Van Nuys Boulevard.
The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project would run for 9.2 miles between the Van Nuys Orange Line station and the Metrolink station in Sylmar. It would require construction of a storage and maintenance yard for the railcars.
The proposal being voted on by the committee included using an area south of the Metrolink tracks near Keswick and Raymer streets for the storage yard. The location is made up of 37 parcels that include auto body shops, small manufacturers, distributors of heating, cooling and other industrial equipment, granite and marble wholesalers, a recycling center and a topless sports bar.
The storage site is an alternative to a 58-parcel property near the Orange Line stop in Van Nuys that had previously been put forth by the agency as an option for the yard, the creation of which would have resulted in the displacement of as many as 186 businesses. Business-owners there banded together last year to voice opposition to that proposal – dubbed Option A – ultimately leading to it being pulled from the table.
The full Metro board votes on the committee’s recommendation on June 28.
Construction on the $1.3 billion project would begin in 2021 or 2022 and be completed in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics. It would have 14 at-grade stations to serve three-car trains that can accommodate up to 400 riders.
“The train’s capacity would also reduce overcrowding, which is a common issue for the articulated buses that currently operate on Van Nuys Boulevard,” according to a report on the project done for the Metro committee. “This corridor has some of the highest bus boardings in Metro’s system, because of a high number of transit-dependent riders.”
Local business advocacy group Valley Industry and Commerce Association, or VICA, welcomed the committee’s decision.
“Metro has recognized the opportunity … to once again connect the Valley with a high capacity rail transportation system,” VICA President Stuart Waldman said in a statement. “It’s time to usher in a new era of mobility and connectivity for our region.”