PALMDALE - The Metro Board of Directors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger last Thursday, Aug. 1 to fund projects to address operational challenges and enhance the potential of Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line that will lead to more frequent, reliable, and faster service.
Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer and Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean, members of the North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition, attended the meeting to support Barger’s recommendation to implement three scenarios that focus on adding additional late evening train service and improved bi-directional service.
The three scenarios would:
• Add one additional late-night round trip service on Fridays and Saturdays
• Add two additional off-peak round trips to provide hourly mid-day service
• Improve peak service and semi-hourly off-peak service
“Transforming the Antelope Valley Line has always been one of my highest transportation priorities and this is a great first step,” Barger said. “We can and must take the opportunity to support the Antelope Valley Line, which reduces the equivalent of one lane of traffic from major freeways during peak commute hours and removes about one million weekday car trips every year.”
Barger’s motion commits $12.75 million from North Los Angeles County’s local Measure M transit funding to get new double-tracking projects and a new layover facility at the Lancaster station to “shovel ready” status, which will initially enable hourly service throughout the day and eventually allow for half-hourly service when the full package of projects is completed.
“It was important that we join Supervisor Barger in support of her efforts to improve rail transportation from LA to the Antelope Valley,” Hofbauer said. “Increased freight traffic and additional passenger trains have caused our travel time from Palmdale to be stuck at over an hour and a half or longer since its origin following the 1994 earthquake, when the Santa Clarita Line was extended to the Antelope Valley. The overdue improvements in the fastest growing Metrolink Route would be transformational for commuter travel from the north county to downtown LA and points beyond.”
The 76.6 mile-long Antelope Valley Line currently offers 15 daily round trips with six train sets. Estimated travel between Union Station in LA and Lancaster is about two hours due to the terrain and single-tracking along the route. The line has the third-highest ridership in Metrolink’s commuter rail system, a volume equivalent to removing about 1 million weekday automobile trips per year or one lane of traffic from major freeways during peak commute times.