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Road Sage

Canoga Avenue busway is likely

June 13, 2008|Steve Hymon | Times Staff Writer

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials Thursday said that after looking at all the options, they would like to build a four-mile busway along Canoga Avenue in the San Fernando Valley to connect the Orange Line busway and the Chatsworth Metrolink station.

Officials had been looking at options for mass transit along Canoga and decided that a busway, built atop an old rail right-of-way, was the best and most affordable option. The project would include an adjacent bike lane.

Walt Davis, project manager for the proposed busway, said it could be up and running by 2013, but that's mostly contingent on the MTA board moving up the funding by several years. Currently the project isn't due to open until 2016.

I asked whether buses would get more green lights on the route to avoid a problem that has plagued the Orange Line, which must frequently stop because of cross traffic.

Davis said the project would negotiate traffic signal priorities with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. Alluding to the problems that have beset the Orange Line, he said that the bus "doesn't enjoy" as many green lights as the MTA would like.

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Ridership numbers

The MTA also released May numbers for its bus and rail lines, and ridership on the rail side was up 6% to 7,625,541 from 7,192,173 in May 2007.

Bus ridership, however, fell 5.37%. MTA officials said bus ridership was more than 1.2 million on average each weekday -- up from April -- but down from May 2007 because of last summer's fare increase. Gas prices were hovering around $3 a gallon in spring 2007.

Here are the total boardings for the individual rail lines and the Orange Line busway:

Red Line and Purple Line subway

May 2008: 3,825,866

May 2007: 3,526,205

Gold Line

May 2008: 628,451 (a record)

May 2007: 529,577

Green Line

May 2008: 1,030,664

May 2007: 1,056,993

Blue Line

May 2008: 2,140,559

May 2007: 2,079,398

Orange Line busway

May 2008: 639,563

May 2007: 631,087

MTA spokesman Marc Littman said the agency believes that rail is luring people from their cars, but that bus trips are down because daily passes went to $5 from $3 last summer and more people are forgoing discretionary trips to save money.

On the rail side, I asked Littman if the MTA had plans to add trains or more cars -- given that many trains are standing-room-only at rush hour.

He said that there are no plans to do so. He also said that there would be few cars to spare for the Gold Line in the fall, when the agency expects to begin testing the Eastside extension, which is scheduled to open next year.

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Steve Hymon writes The Times' blog about Southern California traffic and transportation in real time. Check it out at latimes.com/bottleneck

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