Even as new rail lines have steadily opened across Los Angeles County, bringing better transit service to the San Gabriel Valley and the traffic-choked Westside, the Sepulveda Pass continues to be a headache.
The congested 405 Freeway has no space or capacity for a reliable transit option, and the rugged hills are too steep to run a rail line over. Those conditions leave two complicated, costly options: tunnel through the mountains, or find a kind of transit that can get over the hills.
Plans made public Tuesday show that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is studying a tunnel or tunnels through the Santa Monica Mountains, as well as a monorail system that would run above ground on some of the terrain. Both approaches would pose significant engineering challenges.
In a region where three in four commuters drive alone to work, the Sepulveda Pass line offers a key opportunity to shift more drivers onto transit. All four options that Metro is studying could whisk riders between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside in less than a half-hour, far faster than driving during rush hour.
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