Sepulveda v Woodley: Metro Weighs Options for Orange Line/FlyAway Connections

As I reported in a previous post one of the expansion FlyAway routes will serve the Orange Line (at Woodley Station) and is anticipated to start service later this year.

At the Dec. 5, 2012 Metro San Fernando Valley Service Council meeting Los Angeles World Airports (the city agency that runs LAX) made a presentation with more details (and some maps) about this project.

The minutes give the flavor of what was discussed:

A San Fernando Valley Orange Line connection to the Van Nuys-LAX FlyAway Service at the Woodley Station is in planning stages. The San Fernando Council Chair had requested that LAWA also examine a Sepulveda Blvd Station option.

The Woodley Station route would limit detours. There would be minimal traffic delays caused by left turns and signals. The location is highly visible to passing traffic, requires minimal additional operating costs, and does not compete with the Van Nuys site in the same market area. Alterations needed to accommodate the new service include extending the existing bus bay and installing a bus shelter. There would also be sidewalks installed (currently dirt), realignment of the bike path, and relocation or replacement of trees. Feedback from Army Corps of Engineers, Councilmember’s office, LA DOT, LA Parks & Recreation, and the Neighborhood Council has been very positive for this location.

The Sepulveda Blvd Station option would extend the length of the route that runs on streets, delaying Van Nuys Flyaway customers. This location would require an increase in operating costs due to the added travel time and distance. The location has limited visibility from passing street traffic and is a planned Transit Oriented Development parcel. If Metro allowed parking for FlyAway, this location would compete with the existing Van Nuys site’s market.

Eight new Flyaway locations were ordered to be established by 2015 as a result of litigation; Union Station, Westwood, and Irvine were established as a result. Irvine’s service was not a success; a replacement private operator is being considered. An additional five are to be opened. Interest in services has been expressed by Torrance, Long Beach, Santa Monica, and Hollywood. Early next year, service from Expo Line at La Brea will open. Potential locations for new Flyaway service are being planned around existing transit services.

Chair [Kymberleigh] Richards asked if the planned bus bay could be extended to permit Metro use. While LAWA was willing to include extension, Metro Safety and Operations recommended against it. Chair Richards criticized the judgment of Metro staff involved in making that recommendation. Metro buses do no use bus bays as it causes difficulties for buses merging into traffic from bus bays and increases accident rates. The City of Glendale also tries to avoid pullouts from bus bays. Council requested that LAWA install a 12-foot sidewalk and include conduit to facilitate installation of a bus shelter.

[Council member Michael] Cano inquired why the route originates at the Van Nuys Airport, rather than the Van Nuys Metrolink/Amtrak Station, a major transportation hub for the San Fernando Valley. It seems to be missed opportunity, as the Metrolink Station and parking lot could be utilized and provide connectivity. He asked LAWA to consider linking the FlyAway Station to that station and coordinate with Amtrak and Metrolink trains. Mr. Tomcheck stated that LAWA has been coordinating with Metrolink and Amtrak regarding Union Station coordination; the suggestion can be included in further coordination. He also thanked the Council for raising the issue of luggage storage convenience for those passengers using Metro, Metrolink and Amtrak to make connections to Flyaway services.

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