Improving Transportation in the Valley
By Brad Sherman
Since going to Congress, I have helped lead the effort to reduce congestion on our local roads and highways and improve transit service throughout the San Fernando Valley. In 1998, I secured federal funds to initiate several improvements at the 101/405 interchange – one of the busiest bottlenecks in the nation. Improvements include the extension of the northbound 405 carpool lane between Burbank Boulevard and Ventura Boulevard, widening the Van Nuys Boulevard off ramps and developing plans to improve the southbound 405 connector to the 101 Freeway.
Federal funds are helping construct a new lane on the northbound 405 Freeway through the heavily congested Sepulveda Pass. The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvement Project is slated to be completed in Spring 2013. Working with others, I was successful in my efforts to secure federal and state funding for the largest transportation improvement project in our region.
Over the years, I have worked to secure funding for two additional lanes (one in each direction) on the 5 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley. As a result of these efforts, the state is dedicating millions in state bond funding and over $70 million in federal funds to accelerate construction of carpool lanes on the 5 Freeway from the 118 to the 134 Freeways with construction expected to be completed by 2015. The project will also include a major reconfiguration of the Empire Avenue/I-5 interchange to ease congestion.
I am pleased to have secured federal funds for the Orange Line, which now carries a daily average of 25,000 riders along a dedicated busway from Warner Center in Woodland Hills to the North Hollywood Red Line Station. The Orange Line Extension, which will extend north to Chatsworth, is under construction with plans for completion in Summer 2012. I fought to extend the Orange Line north along the Metro owned railroad right-of-way as soon as officials completed construction of the original Orange Line in 2005. The four-mile route will extend north from the Canoga Station to the Chatsworth Metrolink Station and improve connectivity for bus and rail passengers to key stops such as Warner Center, Pierce College, Sepulveda Basin, Van Nuys Civic Center, Valley College and North Hollywood, where it connects to the red line subway. The new extension will feature the same amenities as the existing route, such as a bikeway and pedestrian path in addition to park and ride lots.
Although it is highly unusual for Congress to set aside funds for local street improvements, the City of Los Angeles has resurfaced over 16 miles of roadway throughout the San Fernando Valley, using federal funds I secured for Valley transportation improvements. The funds will also provide for street lighting and intersection improvements.
I have also worked with local officials to secure transportation funds to improve safety and reduce congestion on the 118 Freeway westbound off ramp at Tampa Avenue, the Balboa Boulevard and Rinaldi Street intersection, and San Fernando Road and Balboa Road intersection.
In order to do my job, I need to hear your views on both local issues and those affecting our entire nation. I continue to believe that there are more good ideas in the Valley than in Washington, which is why I appreciate hearing from you. Do not hesitate to contact my San Fernando Valley office to share yours, (818) 501-9200, or come to my next Town Hall Meeting on Sunday, April 1st from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30pm at Birmingham High School.