Last year, Los Angeles County voters approved Measure M, which (among many other things) provides $286 million for speed enhancements to the San Fernando Valley's popular Orange Line busway. Now, a post on the Source details the proposed improvements.
Metro staff has recommended the installation of of 34 railroad-style crossing gates along the Orange Line between North Hollywood and Chatsworth, as well as the construction of a one-mile bridge spanning between stations at Sepulveda and Van Nuys Boulevard. These upgrades would shave travel times on the Orange Line's most popular segment - Canoga to North Hollywood - from 38 minutes to an estimated 24 minutes. The total end-to-end travel time between Chatsworth and North Hollywood would be cut from 50 minutes to an estimated 34 minutes.
The proposed Sepulveda - Van Nuys bridge would eliminate five existing street crossings along the Orange Line right-of way: Sepulveda Boulevard, a municipal driveway, Kester Avenue, Vesper Avenue and Van Nuys Boulevard. The remaining major intersections would be gated, with full signal preemption for approaching buses - meaning that transit vehicles would no longer be stopped at red lights. A minor crossing at Tyrone Avenue would also be permanently closed to through traffic.
According to the Source, the project lays the foundation for an eventual conversion of the Orange Line to light rail - currently scheduled to occur in the late 2050s under the Measure M expenditure plan. However, this project could be accelerated through a public-private partnership.
A popular bike path that parallels the Orange Line right-of-way would be preserved.
Currently, the Orange Line improvements are scheduled to begin construction in 2019 and finish by 2025. Metro staff must first ask the Board of Directors for approval to begin the environmental review process for the project.