Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Council Begins Review of Possible Metro Bus Service Changes for Implementation with the Opening of the Metro Orange Line
Public Hearing set for March 2, 2005

Beginning a public process that will reshape Metro Bus service in the San Fernando Valley, the Metro San Fernando Valley Service Sector’s Governance Council has begun a detailed review of staff proposals to implement bus service changes in connection with the anticipated opening of the Metro Orange Line transitway later this summer.

“With the opening of the transitway, we are looking at the most extensive restructuring of Metro Bus service in the Valley in many years,” said Coby King, chair of the Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Council. “I hope that many members of the public will attend our upcoming public hearing so that we can make the most-informed decisions on how to improve bus service in the Valley.”

The Metro Orange Line, a 14-mile dedicated transitway with frequent, rail-like service in large 60-foot articulated buses, is expected to open in August 2005. The Metro Orange Line will operate mostly on a former railroad right of way that runs across the southern half of the San Fernando Valley, connecting Warner Center and the North Hollywood Metro Red Line subway station. Existing Metro Bus service will be restructured to take full advantage of the transitway.

At its meeting on January 12, the Metro San Fernando Valley Service Sector’s Governance Council began reviewing various proposals for changes that will enhance service to and from the Metro Orange Line, as well as reallocation of some service resources that will provide the budget necessary to operate the line.

A comprehensive package of proposals was presented by Metro staff at a “workshop” for Governance Council members to get a first look at some of the ideas Metro staff has come up with as possible solutions for better transit in the Valley.

“We wanted to give our council members a chance to look at a number of options and get their input as well as public testimony, ” said Metro San Fernando Valley General Manager Richard Hunt. “It will help the council make well-informed decisions and help us refine our recommendations for the public hearing.”

At the formal public hearing, which is scheduled for March 2, Governance Council members will receive recommendations for service changes and listen to more public input. The Council’s decision on a final package of service change proposals will come at their meeting on March 23.

“These choices are never easy,” said King. “But in this tough budget environment, we have to make the right decisions to ensure the best service for the entire San Fernando Valley. The more options we have to do that, the better we can perform our job for citizens and stakeholders.”

Additional discussion will take place at the next Metro San Fernando Valley Service Sector Governance Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 2 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the American Red Cross Meeting Room 27, 14717 Sherman Way in Van Nuys.

The public hearing on possible Metro Bus service changes will be held on Wednesday, March 2 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd. in Van Nuys.

The public is encouraged to attend both upcoming meetings and submit their comments regarding proposed service changes in the San Fernando Valley.

Proposed service changes

Below is a brief description of proposed service changes pertaining to 18 bus lines operating in the Metro San Fernando Valley Service Sector area.

Twelve lines are proposed for route, schedule or stop modifications; three lines are proposed for cancellation with resources reallocated to implement three new lines.

The purpose of the service modifications is to improve service and connections to the new Metro Orange Line transitway, reduce service duplication and improve service efficiency. The following summarizes the proposals under considerations.

Line 150 (Ventura Bl.-Warner Center-Canoga Park) The western terminal of this line is proposed to be shortened at the Warner Center Hub to reduce service duplication along Topanga Canyon Boulevard.

Line 154 (Tampa Av.-Ventura Bl.-Burbank Bl.-Oxnard St.) The western terminal of this line is proposed to be shortened at Reseda and Ventura Boulevards. The Tampa Avenue segment of the line will be recombined with the Winnetka Avenue segment of Line 243. This will allow service along Tampa Avenue to be better tailored to patrons accessing the Tampa Station.(See Line 243.)

Line 156 (Panorama City-Van Nuys-L.A.City College) This line is proposed to be shortened at both ends to reduce service duplication. The northbound route will operate regular service to Burbank and Van Nuys Boulevard, then proceed via Burbank Boulevard to Kester Avenue. This will reduce duplication on Van Nuys Boulevard with Lines 233 and 761. The southern route will be shortened to end at Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard to reduce duplication with Lines 4 and 304 along Santa Monica Boulevard.

Line 161 (Thousand Oaks-Canoga Park) The eastern terminal of this line is proposed to be shortened at the Warner Center Hub.

Line 168 (Lassen St.-Paxton St.) This line is proposed to be canceled due to low productivity. Resources are proposed to be reallocated to enhance service on other San Fernando Valley lines.

Line 183 (Magnolia Bl.-Kenneth Rd.-E. Colorado St.) The eastern terminal of this line is proposed to be shortened in downtown Burbank. The remainder of the route is proposed to be canceled due to low productivity and to reduce service duplication with various MTA and Beeline services.

Line 230 (Laurel Canyon Bl.) Selected trips on this line are proposed to be extended from Sylmar Metrolink Station via Hubbard Street to Mission College during weekday peak periods. This will provide a new option to access the college directly from the transit hub in Sylmar and allow service levels to the college to be maintained. (See Line 234.)

Line 234 (Sepulveda Bl.-Brand Bl.-Sayre St.) Weekday peak service levels are proposed to be reduced and integrated into the new Sepulveda Metro Rapid. The Sepulveda Metro Rapid will operate from Sylmar Metrolink Station to Sepulveda and Ventura Boulevards. As a consequence, service is proposed to be reduced between downtown San Fernando and Mission College. Service to the college will be augmented by a route extension of Line 230 during the weekday peaks to maintain service levels to the college. (See Line 230.)

Line 236 (Balboa Bl.-Sylmar) The northern terminal of this line is proposed to be shortened at Foothill Boulevard and Glenoaks Boulevard and rerouted to Olive View Medical Center. This proposal responds to a commitment made to the community to address residential and productivity issues.

Line 240 (Reseda Bl.-Ventura Bl.) Selected peak period trips operating along Reseda Boulevard are proposed to be converted to provide new expedited service on new Study Line S-1, operating between Northridge and Westwood.(See Study Line S-1.)

Line 243 (De Soto Av.-Ventura Bl.-Winnetka Av.) This line is proposed to be split into two routes and route segments recombined with other nearby route segments. Line 243 service along Winnetka Avenue will be recombined and linked to the Tampa Avenue segment of Line 154. The restructured route consolidates the terminal at Porter Ranch and allows service levels to be better tailored towards patrons accessing the Tampa and Winnetka Stations. The route deviation to the Northridge Metrolink Station is proposed for discontinuation to streamline service along Tampa Avenue. The De Soto Avenue segment is proposed to be recombined with the Topanga Canyon Boulevard segment of restructured Line 245.(See Line 245.)

Line 245 (Topanga Canyon Bl.-Mulholland Dr.-Valley Circle Bl.) Service along Topanga Canyon Boulevard, operating between the Chatsworth Transportation Center and Ventura Boulevard is proposed to be recombined with the De Soto Avenue segment of former Line 243. The restructured route consolidates the terminal at the Chatsworth Transportation Center and allows service levels to be better tailored towards patrons accessing at the De Soto Station and the Warner Center Hub. The remainder of the route operating on Topanga Canyon Boulevard, south of Ventura Boulevard to West Hills Medical Center, (via Mulholland Drive and Valley Circle Boulevard) is proposed for cancellation due to low ridership.

Line 418 (Roscoe Bl.-Laurel Canyon Bl.-Limited to North Hollywood Station) This line is proposed to be canceled and resources reallocated to provide new expedited service on new Study Line S-1, operating between Northridge and Westwood. (See Study Line S-1.) Replacement service is available on other MTA local routes.

Line 426 (San Fernando Valley-Laurel Canyon Bl. Limited to North Hollywood Station) This line is proposed to be canceled and resources reallocated to provide new expedited service on new Study Line S-1, operating between Northridge and Westwood. Replacement service is available on other MTA local routes.(See Study Line S-1.)

Line 761 (Westwood-Van Nuys Bl. Metro Rapid) Selected peak period trips operating between Sherman Oaks and Westwood are proposed to be reduced to compensate for the increase in service along this same segment provided by new Study Line S-1, operating between Northridge and Westwood.(See Study Line S-1.)

Proposed New Services

New Study Line S-1 (Reseda Bl.-Orange Line Busway-Sepulveda Bl.-Westwood) New expedited service is proposed to operate between Northridge and Westwood every 20-minutes during the weekday peak period only. Service is proposed to operate on Reseda Boulevard from Devonshire Street, then via the Metro Orange Line transitway between the Reseda and Sepulveda Stations. Service will continue via Sepulveda Boulevard, the 405-San Diego Freeway to UCLA and terminate at Westwood Federal Building. The Sepulveda Station is set back from Sepulveda Boulevard and has a large parking capacity that could be used as a park-and-ride lot for patrons traveling to the Westside as well as via the Metro Orange Line to the North Hollywood Metro Red Line Station. Service will be provided by the reallocation of resources from proposed line cancellations.

New Study Line S-643 (Pierce College Shuttle) A new shuttle route is proposed for consideration to augment service to the De Soto and Winnetka Stations. Because there is no parking at the De Soto Station and limited parking capacity at the Winnetka Station, the combined operation of shuttle service and restructured Lines 243 and 245 should promote transit usage of these stations. Service is proposed to operate every 15-20 minutes on weekdays only.

New Line 734 (Sepulveda-North Metro Rapid) A new Metro Rapid service is proposed to be implemented between Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station and Sherman Oaks. The route is proposed to operate from the station via Truman Street, Brand Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard to Sherman Oaks. Service is proposed to operate every 20-minutes during the weekday peaks only.

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