How Should L.A. Connect the Valley to the Basin?
Although Los Angeles is currently spending more than $1 billion to widen the 405 Freeway by one carpool lane northbound through the Sepulveda Pass, it's clear that more creative solutions will be required to dramatically improve the commute between the Westside and the Valley. Eric Jaffe looks at six options [PDF] that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) presented Valley residents with last week.
The most modest option would stripe 8.5 miles of the 405 for rapid bus use during peak hours at a cost of $162 million. According to Jaffe, "[t]he project is very cost-efficient and creates a minimal environmental impact, but Metro officials worry it doesn't provide the reliable, long-term transit option the corridor needs."
The most outlandish option would be build 21-mile-long highway and transit tunnels from the Valley to Los Angeles International Airport at an estimated cost of $30-38 billion. "This 'ultimate build-out'," says Jaffe, "would certainly require a private partnership, but suitors are out there; at least six companies have already reached out to Metro with an interest in building a tunnel for the corridor."
"For now," writes Christina Villacorte in the Daily News, "Metro has $1 billion allotted for the Sepulveda Pass Corridor project, thanks to a half-percent sales tax that voters approved in 2008. That money, however, would not be available until 2039."