Letter to the editor, Daily News, March 4, 1998
(Portions of my original letter omitted from publication are highlighted in underlined italics.)

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board of directors, at its meeting Feb. 26, did the transit-riding residents of the San Fernando Valley a considerable disservice. Ever since the Rapid Transit District's West Valley bus division moved to Chatsworth in 1986, the former location at Sherman Way and Van Nuys Blvd. has remained vacant except for some occasional short-term uses. On Feb. 26, the MTA voted to sell that property to a developer to be used to develop a supermarket.

The San Fernando Valley Transit Restructuring Plan, adopted by the MTA in late 1994, identified the intersection of Sherman Way and Van Nuys Blvd. as the location in the Valley with the highest total of weekday passenger boardings and endorsed the concept of "transit centers" where multiple bus lines would meet to facilitate transfers.

Such a transit center, located at this intersection, would serve five bus lines, and possibly a sixth line which runs within a half-mile and one Los Angeles Department of Transportation commuter express line. It would also allow the relocation of MTA's present customer service center, presently located across the street in a strip mall. Yet the MTA did not choose to use property it already owned, at this high volume transit location, to create this convenience for transit users.

The MTA, in the documentation made available to the public at the meeting, said they had provided for a "bus layover area" as a condition of the sale, but I fail to see where space to park buses while the operators are on their breaks provides any kind of service to MTA's constituency.

I urge MTA to insist that a transit center become part of the development of this parcel.

(Sad footnotes: When the shopping center was built, a concrete bus pad was included near the south entrance, but MTA staff found it unsuitable for use even as a transfer bus stop or layover zone; the Albertsons supermarket used as an anchor store when the center opened in 1999 was converted to the co-owned Lucky brand in 2009, then closed completely three years after that. The same month that the Lucky supermarket closed, the property was sold at auction after Bank of America foreclosed on it. Meanwhile, the customer service center across the street was closed in 2004 when a long-term lease going back to the days of RTD expired and the rent soared; while Metro has plans to open a new center at North Hollywood Station inside a refurbished Lankershim Depot, the rehab project has been delayed several times due to a lack of funding.)

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