The San Fernando Valley's Metro Orange Line is slated to undergo major improvements to make the bus rapid transit line more appealing and useful to riders and the community. The transit agency is studying several changes to the popular Valley line to decrease travel times, improve grade crossings at intersections and introduce zero emission buses.
Measure M Improvements
With the voter-approved Measure M sales tax in place, two Orange Line projects are now in the works. The first will focus on getting the Orange Line through intersections more quickly, either by building grade separations, such as bridges or underpasses, or other improvements. Once a final study report of the selected intersections is approved by the Metro Board of Directors, the multiyear construction project will be built to rail standards to ease the Orange Line's conversion to rail.
The second project is the long-term plan to convert the Orange Line to light rail. According to Metro, the conversion will break ground in 2051, although Metro continues to explore ways to accelerate the larger Measure M projects, like this one.
Orange is the New Green
At the direction of the Metro Board of Directors, Metro has ordered five 60-foot articulated electric buses to test on the the Orange Line. These buses will initially be used with the existing fleet of compressed natural gas powered buses. Once the pilot program is complete, a larger order of buses will be made to replace the remaining buses with the zero emission fleet.
Last year, Metro began increasing the speed of buses across some intersections after a study revealed that it could be done so safely.
One of the complaints from those in the Valley about Measure M was the lack of money to be spent here. We'll be paying the additional sales tax the rest of our lives, but I'll likely be dead by the time they break ground on the Orange Line rail project in 2051 and that's just an enhancement to an existing line.
Why not have several rapid buses that go during rush hour and not stop at every station? Why not build a new light rail line somewhere else in the valley since we already have this one, or a subway under Ventura and the 405 to the airport?
There are currently plans for a subway under the 405. It will cost billions and take years to accomplish. Twice LA residents voted for a monorail system that would run through the middle of the freeways. It would cost a fraction of the cost and time. It was completely ignored by our city and county officials. Bob Hertzberg held a summit meeting at Cal State Northridge with the Mayor, Cal Trans officials and county officials, supposedly about getting public transportation to the University and ease the horrible traffic jams on Nordoff. The officials there quickly moved the conversation to what they would do with Measure M money. An engineer stood up to talk about monorail systems and he was asked to sit down. Mike is right. There is nothing in Measure M for anything west of the 405.