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Orange Line Extension Will Be Earlier, Cheaper Than Expected

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All sorts of good news coming from the Orange Line extension project in the Valley. The busway project, which has always been delightfully uneventful, is currently two months ahead of schedule and about $35 million under budget, reports the Daily News. Metro's project manager on the extension, Hitesh Palel, says that the economic recession allowed Metro to get "a really good bid" from its contractor. Now Metro (and the public) is reaping the rewards: a June opening day (originally scheduled for August) and a $180 million price tag (originally budgeted for $215.6 million). But before everyone gets excited and sends out invitations for raging parties in honor of the project's new opening date, Metro Spokesperson Dave Sotero cautions that "there are still things that might impact the cost and delivery of the project." (Perhaps he got that idea from watching surprise delays pop up for the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill extension.)

The four mile Orange Line extension will run from the Canoga station north to the Metrolink/Amtrak Station in Chatsworth. According to the LADN, "Riding the whole 18 miles from North Hollywood to Chatsworth is expected to take under an hour." It will add new stations at Sherman Way, Roscoe, Nordhoff and Chatsworth.

But Bart Reed, executive director of the Transit Coalition, is "less than satisfied" with the current configuration of the extension. Reed says that Metro should have added a station on Saticoy Street near high-density apartment buildings, a charter school, a mental health facility, and a community center. He also points out the issue of the "last mile" that is so popular with transportation planners: "They're spending all this money to build the Orange Line but you can't use connecting service to get the last mile to your home, your work or your school because the connecting service has not been built up to match the frequency of the Orange Line." Reed suggests that the money saved so far on the extension be used to build a station on Saticoy Street and to make "other improvements."
· Busway extension from Canoga Park to Chatsworth ahead of schedule [Daily News]
· Orange Line Archives [Curbed LA]