Homeowner Groups: Metro Sepulveda Rail Will Destroy Neighborhoods

Rendering of potential Metro station at Sepulveda and Ventura Boulevards
Rendering of potential Metro station at Sepulveda and Ventura Boulevards

Metro is planning its Sepulveda Transit Corridor project – a new transit line connecting the Valley with the Westside, and ultimately connecting to LAX a few decades from now. The project is currently in the environmental review scoping phase, with public comments due this Friday, February 11.

Metro is currently considering building the line via a public-private partnership, with two teams vying for the project. One team, headed by BYD, has proposed an astonishingly problematic mid-freeway monorail, that even the L.A. Times is against. The other team, headed by Bechtel, has proposed an expensive – but likely workable – heavy rail subway. Many of the alignments under consideration include ill-considered hellish freeway stations – either in mid-freeway, or right next to it (see image at top).

Metro is currently focused on these six alternatives for Sepulveda transit. See The Source for larger images of each alternative.
Metro is currently focused on these six alternatives for Sepulveda transit. See The Source for larger images of each alternative.

Metro’s current Sepulveda scoping process is focused on six alternatives. They include three versions (alternatives 1-3) of the hellish mid-freeway monorail and three versions (alternatives 4-6) of heavy rail. Alternative 4 includes a subway on the Westside, and about six miles of elevated heavy rail in the Valley – mostly atop Sepulveda Boulevard. Alternatives 5 and 6 are heavy rail subways; they are similar in West L.A. and, in the Valley, would run below Sepulveda Boulevard or Van Nuys Boulevard respectively.

The project is already coming into criticism from nearby homeowners.

On the Westside, the Bel-Air Association (BAA) has announced their position to be “that NO tunneling should take place under residential neighborhoods.” All non-monorail alternatives would tunnel under Bel-Air. Today, BAA posted an alert encouraging homeowners to submit comments against tunneling and for monorail.

On the Valley side, the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association (SOHA) recently distributed a flier critical of proposed aerial rail through part of the San Fernando Valley. Back in 2019, SOHA similarly opposed Metro Sepulveda rail; their presentation then used misleading rail renderings.

Sherman
Sherman Oaks Homeowner Association (SOHA) flier – photo by Streetsblog L.A.

Though the flier uses anti-train and anti-Metro hyperbole, SOHA is, to some extent, pushing for underground rail. They are primarily voicing opposition to Alternative 4, which would run on elevated tracks above Sepulveda Boulevard. Some Valley voices frame this as asking that the Valley receive the same subway treatment as the Westside. Given that underground rail is more expensive than aerial rail, this would drive up the cost.

SBLA posted the SOHA flier to Twitter, where it has received a number of responses pointing out how any adverse impacts of aerial rail would dwarf those of the existing 10+ lanes of the 405 Freeway that already runs through Sherman Oaks.

One responder, @joninsocal, crafted an alternative version of the flier.

Fixed it for you. What Sherman Oaks folks should probably be concerned about: freeways. Via @joninsocal Twitter
Fixed it for you. What Sherman Oaks folks should probably be concerned about: freeways. Via @joninsocal Twitter

Get your Sepulveda Transit scoping comments in by this Friday. You can be sure that many anti-rail reactionary homeowners will.

Details on how to submit scoping comments at Metro’s The Source.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Open Thread: What Do We Think of the First Peek at Measure R2

|
Earlier this afternoon, Los Angeles Times transportation reporter Laura Nelson reported on many of the details of the sales tax ballot measure that will be presented to Metro Board committees next week. With the approval of the Metro Board of Directors, the measure would go on this fall’s ballot where it would need the support […]