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MTA Rolls Out Name Change for New Valley Bus Corridor

'Orange Line' refers to the area's history of citrus growing. Some foresee confusion.

January 23, 2004|Caitlin Liu and Kurt Streeter | Times Staff Writers

In a move that puzzled some riders and transit advocates, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted Thursday to rechristen a 14-mile bus corridor in the San Fernando Valley as the Metro Orange Line.

The name change "pays tribute to the Valley's rich history when it was once among our nation's leading orange and citrus-growing regions," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the MTA board chairman, in a statement.

But transit advocates say the name change seems more like a case of identity crisis for the busway, and it will only confuse the public.

About a year ago, the MTA began calling the corridor -- formerly known as the east-west busway -- the Valley's Metro Rapid Transitway. That name later became Metro Rapidway.

The exclusive bus corridor, a $330-million project connecting the North Hollywood Red Line station with Warner Center in Woodland Hills, is now under construction.

When it opens in 2005, the extra-long buses traveling the route will actually be candy apple red, MTA officials said.

Elsewhere, regular MTA buses not serving the Orange Line will be painted orange.

"I don't understand this.... This will not be user-friendly. This will be user-confusing," said transit advocate Kymberleigh Richards, throwing up her hands. "This isn't even going to be a rail line."

Bart Reed, executive director of the Transit Coalition, a rider advocacy group, added: "We aren't renaming the Harbor Transitway and the El Monte Busway with a color."

The MTA, which already has the Red, Blue, Green and Gold rail lines, is running out of hues, Yaroslavsky said. But he believed the new busway still deserved a slice of the rainbow.

"It is like a rail line on rubber tires," he said.

In a separate action, the MTA board also voted to partially reverse a controversial move it made in December that shifted $21 million from two San Gabriel Valley rail projects to fund construction of a light rail line in East Los Angeles. The transfer was made because the East Los Angeles railway, the MTA's top regional priority, is struggling for funds.

On Thursday, the board restored about half of the money, or $11 million, to a freight rail improvement project, known as Alameda Corridor East, after a stable of San Gabriel Valley officials, along with U.S. Reps. David Dreier (R-San Dimas) and Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), pushed for the move.

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