County study seeks to better Metrolink Antelope Valley Line

Councilwoman Marsha McLean, Supervisor Kathryn Barger and Metrolink CEO Art Leahy stand in front of a train on July 3, 2017. Courtesy of Supervisor Kathryn Barger on Twitter.

For those commuting by train anywhere in between Lancaster and Burbank, Los Angeles County wants to improve residents’ Metrolink experience.

The Board of Supervisors passed Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s motion to conduct a study of the Antelope Valley Line to better serve those who use it, including those who work and live in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“The Antelope Valley Line plays a critical role in North Los Angeles County and carries the third highest ridership in Metrolink’s commuter rail system,” Barger said in a statement. “The results of this study can be used to help guide Metro, Metrolink and our north county sub region to best achieve our goals and maximize service on this line.”

Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line removes about one million weekday trips by car a year, according to Metrolink. Additionally, the line is the equivalent of one lane of traffic from major freeways during commute hours.

This study will evaluate this Metrolink line to ensure service is frequent enough and tracks, culverts, tunnels and crossings are allowing for the best service.

Also, the study will include recommendations for capital improvements and needed infrastructure.

The county can implement more projects for Metrolink since Measure M was passed, Barger said.

Traveling on the Metrolink train from the Antelope Valley to Union Station can take more than two hours and an average speed of 35 miles per hour, Barger’s office cited.

Gaps in service during the day also discourages people from riding, Barger’s office said.

Brittany Kelley rides the Metrolink into Santa Clarita from Lancaster and she said it usually takes about an hour. She said riding the Metrolink is her fastest option.

Her only problem with riding the transit system is that it sometimes leaves ahead of schedule, she said.

“I don’t like that it leaves early,” Kelley said. “I’ve witnessed several people get left behind.”

Saugus resident Vernita Scott-Flanton was one of the first to ride the Antelope Valley Line after the Northridge Earthquake.

Among her requests for changes to the Metrolink line, she said she would like there to be commuter representatives allowed on advisory board to help make decisions.

There ought to be more frequent trips going in both directions, she said. Also, she would like the opportunity to have incentives from employers to use Metrolink, such as the ability to buy discounted passes.

Tujunga resident Cheryl Dilger said will be using the Antelope Valley Line often because she has a newborn granddaughter she is excited to visit in Castaic.

She said her commute on the Metrolink is usually only about 11 minutes on the train between the San Fernando Valley and the Santa Clarita Valley.

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