New traffic projections indicate that the trolley line proposed for the San Fernando Valley would require at least four and possibly nine overpasses at major intersections to prevent traffic jams, regional transportation planners said Tuesday.
The overpasses would increase noise and require costly elevated stations, according to a report released by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission.
On the other hand, the report, released at a meeting in North Hollywood, estimates that the Valley line could be built for $300 million, whereas planners had previously speculated that the project might cost $300 million to $800 million.
Two Competing Lines
The findings regarding overpasses seem likely to decrease the attractiveness of the North Hollywood-to-Canoga Park line in the upcoming competition for funds with a line proposed for the South Bay and for a route between downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena via Lincoln Heights.
Similar studies have not been completed on those lines, making it impossible to determine at this point which of the three routes is the leading candidate for funding, commission spokesman Steve Lantz said.
The commission has released no cost projections for the two competing lines.
The commission plans to build the line with revenue from the 0.5% sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 1980 to pay for transportation improvements, including a 150-mile network of rail transit lines.
The Valley line, if chosen over the Pasadena and South Bay lines, would not be completed before 1993, at the earliest.
The line is envisioned as tying in with the Metro Rail subway at the intersection of Lankershim and Chandler boulevards in North Hollywood, creating uninterrupted rail transport between the West Valley and downtown Los Angeles.
With a connection to Metro Rail, it is projected that the Valley line would carry 50,000 riders daily, Lantz said. Without the linkup, only 24,500 riders would be expected.
However, the number of riders projected on the Valley line could increase as a result of a study the commission approved in May. It will explore the feasibility of ending Metro Rail at Universal City and substituting the trolley line for the 2.3-mile segment between the entertainment complex and the North Hollywood station.
The substitution would lower Metro Rail's $3.3-billion cost by $250 million and "possibly even make it feasible as a stand-alone line," said Rick Richmond, commission executive director.
The feasibility study is expected to be completed in two months, staff members said.
For most of the route, the Valley line would operate on the Southern Pacific right of way. For the eastern half, however, the commission must decide between a route that follows Burbank Boulevard east of Fulton Avenue or one that follows Chandler between Fulton and Lankershim.
Also being considered is routing the trolley on Victory Boulevard between Sepulveda Boulevard and Lankershim, although a staff report in April said that route was "too costly and disruptive to warrant further analysis."
The report released Tuesday says projected street traffic will require overpasses at Sepulveda, Balboa and Reseda boulevards and at De Soto Avenue because of tie-ups that would be caused if vehicles had to wait for passing trains.
Depending on further analysis, overpasses might also be needed at Woodman Avenue, Van Nuys Boulevard, Topham Street, Winnetka Avenue and Owensmouth Avenue, the planners reported.
A second informational meeting on the report is to be conducted by commission staff members at 7 tonight in Mulholland Junior High School, 17120 Vanowen St., Van Nuys.
The commission's rail transit committee has scheduled a public hearing on the report for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Van Nuys High School, 6536 Cedros Ave.