Ahead of the June 28 meeting of the agency's Board of Directors, Metro has issued a staff recommendation to select light rail as the locally preferred alternative for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor.

The proposed transit line would run approximately 9.2 miles along Van Nuys Boulevard and the San Fernando railroad right-of-way, terminating at the Sylmar Metrolink Station in the north and the Orange Line busway in the south.  Plans call for 14 stations with an end-to-end travel time of 31 minutes.  The planned stations are as follows:

  1. Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station
  2. Maclay Station
  3. Paxon Station
  4. Van Nuys/San Fernando Station
  5. Laurel Canyon Station
  6. Arleta Station
  7. Woodman Station
  8. Nordhoff Station
  9. Roscoe Station
  10. Van Nuys Metrolink Station
  11. Sherman Way Station
  12. Vanowen Station
  13. Victory Station
  14. Van Nuys Orange Line Station

The staff recommendation also supports the construction of a maintenance yard for light rail vehicles between Raymer and Keswick Streets in Van Nuys, which requires the least property acquisition of the three alternatives under consideration.

Other modes considered during the project's environmental review period include a streetcar system and bus rapid transit.

The Van Nuys light rail line would cost an estimated $1.3 billion, which will be covered in part by $800 million from local sales taxes, as well as $200 million from the state gas tax implemented this year and $200 million from other state-level sources.

The staff recommendation is a modification of Alternative 4 in the ESFVTC's environmental impact report, which imagined light rail along the same corridor - but with substantial grade separation between Panorama City and Van Nuys.  The modified proposal calls for at-grade tracks along the length of the route, cutting its estimated cost from as much as $2.79 billion to the current $1.3 billion figure.  Past analysis has estimated that median-running light rail would attract more than 47,000 weekday riders by the year 2040.

Construction is anticipated to begin sometime during 2021 or 2022 and conclude by 2027.  It is one of 28 projects that Metro is hoping to complete prior to the 2028 Summer Olympics.

Metro is also considering plans for a high-capacity transit line through the Sepulveda Pass, with modes such as light rail, heavy rail, monorail, and rubber-tire trains serving as initial concepts.  The Sepulveda Line would likely intersect with the Van Nuys corridor near the Orange Line, and could potentially serve as a southern extension should light rail be selected for the project.