An upgrade of the Orange Line busway in the San Fernando Valley was approved by the Metro Board of Directors, which moved forward Thursday with plans to add up to 35 crossing gates and two busway and bicycle grade separations.
The project, to be funded with $286 million in Measure M taxpayer funds and $75 million in SB-1 state gas tax funds, is slated for a groundbreaking in 2019 and to open in 2025, with the goal of improving both safety and performance while preparing the bus line for its future conversion to light rail.
“The Orange Line has been a spectacular success since the first day it opened to the public. We are now planning short- and long-term investments to take this popular Valley transit line from rubber wheels to steel wheels, making it much safer, faster and capable of accommodating more riders in the years ahead,” L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl said.
The project will install up to 35 at-grade railroad-type crossing gates along the 18-mile busway between North Hollywood and Chatsworth similar to those used on the Metro Gold, Blue and Expo light rail lines to reduce or eliminate potential auto versus bus intrusions or collisions.
Crossing gates also will enable buses to safely increase their intersection operating speeds from about 10 to 15 miles per hour to 25 to 45 miles per hour, Metro said.
The project also calls for building two busway and bicycle grade separations at Van Nuys and Sepulveda boulevards, which are the two busiest Valley streets along the corridor. The stand-alone bridges would physically separate buses and bicyclists from automobile and pedestrian traffic, with new aerial stations built on the bridge.
“One of our strategic goals is to provide high-quality mobility options that enable our customers to spend less time traveling,” Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said. “Our planned improvements for the Orange Line will save riders precious time as we continue to build fast, reliable and high-capacity transit for the residents of the San Fernando Valley.”
The project is part of Metro’s Twenty-Eight by `28 Plan to complete 28 major road, transit and bicycle projects before the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics in the Los Angeles area.
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