Orange Line ripe for run, some say

first_imgCome October, there may be more than buses running on the 14-mile Orange Line route. San Fernando Valley leaders are considering holding a half-marathon along the busway on Oct. 29 to mark the one-year anniversary of the east-west route. Buses would be halted in the morning for what is unofficially dubbed the San Fernando Valley Great Pumpkin Half-marathon. “It’s to celebrate the Valley – it’s to bring the Valley together and celebrate the anniversary of the Orange Line,” said Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, an avid runner, who is working with the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley on the plan. “I’m hoping this will be some sort of big unifying event the Valley can own,” he said. “It’s not just a run – it’s a party.” “We had been talking, commiserating, moaning that there is no marathon in the Valley, no really good run,” said Bruce Ackerman, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance. “(The Orange Line’s) a neat place to showcase something.” Ackerman estimates that hosting the event would cost $50,000, which he hopes to cover through sponsorships. Levine suggested that any proceeds could go to charity. But MTA also estimates it would cost the agency $50,000 to reroute bus service, and the board will have to weigh if the event is worth the cost. The proposal is generating interest – and questions. The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council wants more information on the impact a race would have on the neighborhoods and on Valley traffic. “I’m not doubting the useful boosterism,” said council member John Hendry. “(We’d) just like more information.” Transit advocate Bart Reed said he supported celebrating public transit in the Valley but worried about the impact on riders who need to get to their Sunday-morning jobs. “Why can’t they just shut down the 101 Freeway? Motorists could just use side streets and it wouldn’t impact the bus riders at all,” he said. “I’m not endorsing it. I’m not condemning it. There’s certainly a lot of unanswered questions.” Lisa Mascaro, (818) 713-3761 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will consider the proposal at its meeting this week, but officials already worry that shutting down the line even for a couple hours would impact riders who would have to be rerouted around the asphalt ribbon. The event would be held on a Sunday, when busway ridership is about 8,400, roughly half the weekday average. “We have to take that into consideration,” said MTA spokesman Dave Sotero. “This will probably be a sensitive issue, especially with people who are trying to get around in traffic.” Even before it officially opened, the Orange Line attracted joggers, skaters and cyclists to its smooth surface. Police routinely ticketed trespassers and even scolded a high school track team for using the 14-mile route as a practice course. Valley officials see an opportunity in allowing runners – and eventually cyclists – to legally have a go at the route between North Hollywood and Warner Center. They envision an annual event, complete with parties at the stations to cheer runners on. last_img

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