The L.A. Times’ Amanda Covarrubias weighs in with the following think piece on the Orange line:
“This is going to … join us again to greater metropolitan Los Angeles,” said Van Nuys resident Andrew Hurvitz, noting that the opening of the busway comes three years after the Valley tried to secede from Los Angeles. “It’s going to de-isolate the Valley.
“I feel like we’re at a turning point,” he added. “We are finally becoming less of a cliche than we were before. We’re a dense, urban city and must live differently than we did in the 1950s. We can’t [all] live in a single-family house with a three-car garage anymore.”
But the Orange Line “doesn’t go anywhere you would want it to go,” said Joel Kotkin, a Valley Village resident and Irvine senior fellow at the New America Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. “It’s a tour of the industrial bowels of the Valley. And there’s no place to stop to get a cup of coffee.”
Kotkin and others believe the Orange Line, like most bus lines in the city, will fill a need for low-income workers and students. But, he adds, it won’t do much to unclog the 101 — or even nearby surface streets, such as Ventura, Victory and Van Nuys boulevards.
“I think it might be a great thing for a teenager in Valley Village who’s got a job three days a week at Nordstrom” in Woodland Hills, he said. “For a woman cleaning house in Chandler Estates and living in Reseda, for that person, it works.”
L.A. Observed‘s Kevin Roderick:
“You won’t notice it on the 101 Freeway. It won’t be those kinds of numbers,” said Kevin Roderick, author of “The San Fernando Valley: America’s Suburb.”
MTA officials … calculate that the line will have 5,000 to 7,000 riders a day in its first year, low even by Los Angeles mass transit standards. They hope daily ridership will grow to as much as 25,000 in 15 years.
MTA officials point out that the busway could be converted to light rail if it became wildly popular.
And of course … people who live in the Chandler Estates area and own not one, but TWO adjacent houses. The kind of people who throw stacks of $100 bills in the fireplace when they need a little heat … not your typical L.A. bus rider, and they’re not happy:
Mitch and Tess Ramin live in a small, one-story house on nearby Chandler Boulevard with their baby daughter and are renovating a larger home next door that they plan to move into. Their tree-lined neighborhood in Sherman Oaks resembles that of “The Brady Bunch,” the classic family sitcom set in the Valley. (The “Brady Bunch” house is in Studio City about two miles from the Orange Line’s eastern terminus.)
The Ramins question whether the busway belongs there.The real estate investor and his wife are concerned that the bus corridor that runs behind their backyards will cause noise and crime, pointing out that a transient has already moved into the landscaped easement between the sound wall and their back fence.
MTA officials “don’t care as much as we do because they don’t live here,” Tess Ramin said. “We moved here because of the backyard, to get away from the noise of the traffic…. Now there’s no escape.”
What’s more, during test runs this month to introduce bus drivers to the new vehicles and the route, the Ramins said they noticed that drivers were honking their horns as they drove through the blind intersection at Ethel Avenue just up the street.
West Hills resident Dan Blake, an economics professor at Cal State Northridge and director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center, said he’s looking forward to using it to get to Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday nights. It costs about $6 to park downtown but only $3 for a Metro day pass to ride any bus, subway or light rail train in a 24-hour period.
“It really does connect,” he said. “From one end of the busway, you can go to Long Beach and look at the aquarium.”