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A Train Instead of the 405: The Impossible Dream One Step Closer to Reality in L.A.

A rail transit project has serious momentum in Los Angeles, offering a potentially game changing alternative to the notoriously jammed commute on Interstate 405 over the Sepulveda Pass.
January 30, 2019, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The I-405 freeway and the Sepulveda Pass, as seen from the Sherman Oaks neighborhood in Los Angeles.
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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) yesterday announced refined plans to built a rail transit connection between the Westside and the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. The notoriously jammed Interstate 405 Freeway now serves as the route's primary connection.

Writing for Metro, Steve Hymon presents the four "refined concepts" released yesterday, describing the planned route as "fast, high capacity rail."

"The refined concepts are part of an ongoing Feasibility Study for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor project, which has nearly $10 billion in funding from Metro’s Measure R and M sales tax measures approved by L.A. County voters in 2008 and 2016, respectively," explains Hymon.

Hymon points out additional details included in the current presentation of the refined concepts. A few to note include a proposal to remove light rail from consideration, due to its lower carrying capacity, in favor of heavy rail.

Other large questions still need to be resolved about how to connect the Sepulveda Transit Corridor to the planned East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor, a light rail route expected to begin construction in 2022.

Local news outlets were quick to pick up the news. Steven Sharp notes that all four proposed concepts would connect south all the way to Los Angeles International Airport. Sharp digs into the routing and construction details of all four of the remaining concepts.

Laura Nelson also reports on the new concepts for the project, noting the engineering challenges posed by the steep hills of the Sepulveda Pass. Still, notes Nelson, the project offers a "key opportunity to shift more drivers onto transit" in a region where the vast majority of commuters drive alone to work.

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Published on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 in The Source
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