Possible conversion of LA's Orange Line Busway to Light Rail

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Possible conversion of LA's Orange Line Busway to Light Rail
Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, October 28, 2017 11:49 AM

L.A. Metro OKs study of converting BRT line to light rail


Orange Line buses often get stuck at red lights, slowing transit times. Photo – Steve Hymon/Metro

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (Metro) board has approved a staff recommendation to study proposed safety improvements that could lead to converting the Orange bus-rapid-transit (BRT) line to a light-rail line.

The study will examine the possible installation of railroad-style crossing gates at intersections along the Orange Line BRT route. The agency also will examine other possible grade separations at key locations along the 18-mile bus line, which has its own right of way. 

The proposed improvements would be designed to allow for future conversion of the bus line to light rail, Metro officials said in a press release. 

Agency staff also have recommended building an elevated busway bridge between Van Nuys and Sepulveda boulevards on the Orange Line route. Those streets are two of the San Fernando Valley's most congested thoroughfares, Metro officials said.

Metro has set aside $286 million for the Orange Line improvements. That money comes from the Measure M sales tax initiative that L.A. County voters approved in 2016. 

In March, Metro received an unsolicited proposal to fast-track the Orange Line's conversion to light rail.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, October 30, 2017 3:02 PM

Note that absolutely nothing here mentions conversion to light rail, only that the measures to be taken would be useful or necessary if rail conversion is done in the indefinite future.  Notice how no details of the ‘unsolicited proposal‘ have been brought up since March?

More positive light-rail-like optimizations have long been touted as beneficial for BRT on dedicated busways; the gates in particular may aid in higher practical speed, and it should be only slightly more expensive to ‘bridge’ the two bottleneck crossings with rubber-tire suitable decking than with rail.  I note also that the New York bus story mentions specific technology that would help the ‘red light’ problem at the beginning of the story.

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Posted by Electroliner 1935 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 1:29 PM

Is it the highway culture that inhibits the installation of preemptive traffic light operation on the light rail routes? I was in L. A. for my granddaughters graduation from USC and noted the trains along Figaroa waiting at street vrossings for the traffic lights. Took a ride on the Gold Line from Union Station to Azusa & back and except for a for a few grade crossings in Passadena, where the moterman had to wait for gates to lower, the trains seemed to have the ROW to roll. 

Also noted the high stations on the Silver Busway and all the flyovers for the busses. WOW. GD said people don't ride the light rail because it is slow stopping for the street crossings but the Gold line was SRO when I rode it and was fast.

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Posted by MikeF90 on Saturday, November 04, 2017 2:46 PM

Electroliner 1935
Is it the highway culture that inhibits the installation of preemptive traffic light operation on the light rail routes? I was in L. A. for my granddaughters graduation from USC and noted the trains along Figaroa waiting at street vrossings for the traffic lights.

This is due to the, ahem, prejudices of the LA City transportation engineers. Downtown LA is a real nightmare for both buses and light rail that has yet to be sorted out. In addition, Metro totally wimps out on managing the effects of construction and special events on their services. The Silver Line is a great example; it flies on the mid-freeway section but crawls once it hits surface streets - very difficult to reach LAUS on schedule.

Once your train leaves the city of LA it usually has priority. I'm always surprised at how fast the Expo Line trains move through the grade crossings in Santa Monica.

Google Map links ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, east of Tucson, BNSF Northern Transcon and Southern Transcon

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Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Sunday, November 05, 2017 9:11 PM

There is that 1 mile Red Car Trolley Tunnel and Terminal that still was built in the 1920s in downtown LA

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