The L.A. Metro Board recently approved recommendations to improve Antelope Valley Line service, which helps countless Santa Clarita Valley commuters among the 7,000 daily passengers moving from Lancaster to Los Angeles.
L.A. County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger supported the motion to adopt the study’s recommendation, which looked at how to make the commute faster by adding trips and services.
To achieve this, North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition stakeholders and advocates of the AVL study line, including Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean, recommended the implementation of three scenarios that focus on adding additional late evening train service and bi-directional service, which the board supported.
The 76.6 mile-long Antelope Valley Line currently offers 15 daily round trips with six train sets. Estimated travel between Union Station in L.A. and Lancaster is about two hours due to the terrain and single-tracking along the route. The line has the third-highest ridership in Metrolink’s commuter rail system, a volume equivalent to removing about 1 million weekday automobile trips per year or one lane of traffic from major freeways during peak commute times.
The three recommended scenarios would:
- Add one additional late-night round trip service on Fridays and Saturdays
- Add two additional off-peak round trips to provide hourly mid-day service
- Improve peak service and semi-hourly off-peak service
The AVL study, along with the LA-Burbank-Glendale Feasibility study, have looked into short and mid-term goals to increase frequency to 30-minute headways with bi-directional service throughout the day.
McLean, who attended the meeting to encourage the board to support the motion, said the city would “dramatically benefit from the action taken today” and that Metro train riders “could soon have access to bi-directional service with trains running every half hour between Union Station and our city.”
The scenarios would require four capital projects, including a track extension from Balboa Boulevard to Sierra Highway as part of short term improvements, which would cost $41.8 million. Mid-term improvements would require about $180 million in capital costs for mainly double-tracking, according to the study.
An estimated $12.75 million is also needed to get the projects through environmental clearance and shovel ready, which is “an important benchmark to position these projects for grant funding opportunities,” read the Metro agenda report.
The motion also supported the implementation of a diesel, battery-electric or hybrid train program in pursuit of grant funding operations.