It was a victory for transit and for community process at Metro today as board members listened to advocates for the proposed North San Fernando Valley Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project and to its critics—the neighbors who would live near it—assuring both groups (there were more than 80 speakers) they would seek a strategic solution to everyone's needs and concerns. Board members then voted to begin the environmental review.
Neighbors are concerned the BRT corridor will worsen traffic along Nordhoff Street because the buses will take up space now used by cars. They have recommended that the line travel instead down Roscoe Boulevard, a street lined with light industrial buildings, some commercial uses, single-family neighborhoods and vacant lots. Some have expressed concern that if BRT is built along Nordhoff then SB 50, a 2-year bill by state Sen. Scott Wiener (San Francisco) that will be heard again next year, would upzone the mostly single-family neighborhoods along the line, allowing developers to build apartments and/or more homes.
Students, transit advocates and environmentalists, however, countered that BRT along Nordhoff would relieve traffic—because the line would travel along the south side of the Cal State Northridge (CSUN) campus, creating easy access for its 30,000 students and thus ensuring significant ridership—as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We believe that if Metro were able to create a deeply-discounted student transit pass program—something that Move LA and its partners have advocated for years—that it may be exactly the program that could reassure the project's critics that traffic would not increase.
The North San Fernando Valley BRT project was funded by Measure M, a ballot measure that won 71% of the vote. It would travel in a dedicated bus-only lane between North Hollywood and Chatsworth, connecting to the highly successful Orange Line (also BRT), Metrolink, and the planned Van Nuys light rail line, as well as several jobs-rich areas including CSUN, Dignity Health/Northridge Hospital Medical Center, the Northridge Fashion Center, Panorama City and North Hollywood.
In an interview last summer CSUN student Kenny Uong told Curbed LA that he relies on the bus to get to the Northridge campus from his home in Glendale, and that he believes the BRT line would provide a more reliable transit option for students traveling to and from CSUN—"one that wouldn’t slow to a crawl during rush hour."
“The Valley has been neglected for high-quality transportation options,” Uong said, adding that the BRT project is key to “a more interconnected” transit system for the region.