Earlier this year, California overturned the law that outlawed above-ground rail lines in the notoriously suburban San Fernando Valley; that small move kindled the tiny fires of hope inside the growing number of Valley rail enthusiasts, but it's a challenge to keep that fire burning. With the Gold, Expo, and Purple Lines expanding in the eastern, western, and central parts of the LA basin, and the new Crenshaw/LAX Line under construction across South LA, the Valley is not happy that all they've got going on are the very first rumblings of a few possibilities (a conversion of the Orange Line busway to light rail, a line down Van Nuys Boulevard, something or other through the Sepulveda Pass).
"The Valley clearly has been shortchanged by Measure R," City Councilmember and Metro Boardmember Paul Krekorian tells the Daily News, referring to the 2008 voter-approved measure to fund transportation projects with a half-cent sales tax increase. Metro's considering asking for more money on the 2016 ballot and some members of the board are threatening to withhold support for the new measure unless it gives priority to projects in the Valley.
The Valley makes up 39 percent of the city, but it's only getting 13 percent of the Measure R money, a rep for County Supervisor Michael Antonovich says. The Orange Line extension's the only Valley transit project funded by Measure R that's been completed or even broken ground; it opened in 2012. (*Streetsblog points out that Measure R has funded two major freeway improvements as well as other Valley transportation projects.) Krekorian wants to see bus improvement and an Orange Line light rail conversion that would link up Burbank's Bob Hope Airport to the San Gabriel Valley.
And it's not just politicians. Locals are banding together to demand some rail already. "We just want to get what the rest of the county is getting," says a rep for Valley on Track, a recently-formed group comprised of business owners and community groups. They're gunning for a rail line along Van Nuys and they'd like Metro to make it snappy with the project's state-required environmental impact report. (Metro says it's taking as long as EIRs usually take—18 to 24 months.)
Measure J, which would've extended Measure R and sped up some of the projects it funds, was defeated in 2012 with 66.11 percent of the vote (tax increases require a two-thirds majority in California).
· Lack of new San Fernando Valley rail lines draws complaints [LADN]
· OMG, San Fernando Valley Wants Some Transit, Density [Curbed LA]
· Metro Considering Rail Link From Valley to Bob Hope to Pas [Curbed LA]