Creating a Modern and Efficient Transit System for the Valley


Imagine traveling from Pasadena to Bob Hope Airport, down to the NoHo Arts District and over to the Warner Center— all without having to navigate busy streets and packed freeways. Imagine making these connections by rail.

We are poised to find out what it will take to upgrade our transit system in the San Fernando Valley.

On Thursday, July 24, the Metro Board of Directors unanimously approved a motion that I sponsored, along with Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Antonovich, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Directors Ara Najarian and John Fasana. The motion will result in Metro studying options for (1) improving the Orange Line, including replacing some of the busway with highcapacity light rail; and (2) connecting the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys. This an opportunity to create a modern, efficient, environmentally sustainable and comprehensive transit system for the Valley’s two million residents.

For 23 years, state law stopped construction of light rail in the San Fernando Valley. That all changed in July when Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian’s bill, AB 577, passed and was signed by Gov. Brown. The bill repealed the “Robbins bill,” making light rail once again a possibility. Even though it isn’t in our immediate past, the Valley has a history of rail service. Prior to becoming a busway in 2005, the Metro Orange Line’s 18-mile transit corridor was home to the Southern Pacific Railroad from 1904 to 1920, and then the Pacific Electric Streetcar service from 1938 to 1952. As one constituent recently told me, the old streetcar “could take you downtown or to the beach. Bring them back.”

Residents want the benefits of increased connectivity. People are using public transportation more in their daily lives. The Orange Line’s success is a perfect example. We need to look at expanding the capacity of the Orange Line even further. Light rail would do that. The nearby Gold Line currently accommodates more than 42,000 riders each day—a number set to grow as it pushes eastward in the San Gabriel Valley. Bringing light rail to the San Fernando Valley is the next logical step. It would be a boon for businesses, commuters, working families, students and tourists. It would also bring greater equity to our current transit system, which has largely left the Valley underserved and overlooked.

My goal is to improve the quality of life for Valley residents and everyone in Los Angeles, where having transportation options is so important. I want to offer people better ways to get from home to work to school and back, and to connect the Valley with the rest of the Metro system. Read my Metro motion here: 1mPGYIM