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‘Congestion Pricing’ Tolls On L.A. Freeways Being Considered By Metro To Reduce Traffic

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“Congestion pricing” tolls are being considered in certain areas of Los Angeles freeways to ease traffic in the Southland. 

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is exploring the possibility of managing traffic through congestion pricing in four areas in the L.A. region, the agency announced Tuesday.

The areas include Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, as well as the mountain passes in between the San Fernando Valley and the L.A. Basin. 

By implementing congestion pricing, Metro is trying to decrease the number of cars on the road during peak travel times by charging a fee for entering areas of a high density of travel.

“Congestion pricing is a tool to manage roadway demand,” said Metro officials. “When used as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce traffic, congestion pricing can encourage some people to change the way they travel some of the time.”

The agency is exploring the possibility of these tolls in combination with increased public transportation. 

Where is congestion pricing being considered? 

The Santa Monica Mountains Corridor concept will explore managing traffic on freeways and parallel roadways that cross the Santa Monica Mountains between I-405 and I-5 to reduce heavy congestion from trips between the L.A. Basin and the San Fernando Valley. 

Photo Courtesy of Metro

“With few roads across the mountains, terrible traffic has for decades plagued the roads that cross the mountains,” said Metro officials.

One option could be tolling between I-405 and I-5, according to Metro.

Another option would explore a smaller area between the 101 Freeway and I-5.

Current transit options in this corridor include local and express buses, the D Line (Red) subway run by Metro, and two Metrolink commuter rail lines, with future exploration to augment transit and provide more diverse, reliable travel options, according to the agency.

The Downtown L.A. Freeway Corridor concept will explore managing traffic congestion on freeways running to and through Downtown L.A. Heavy congestion on these freeways results from trips to downtown or passing through the area, according to Metro officials

Photo Courtesy of Metro

DTLA is served by dozens of bus lines run by Metro and other local bus agencies, several Metro Rail lines, from the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Westside, Long Beach and South Los Angeles, and five Metrolink commuter rail lines. 

The study would explore adding other transportation improvements as well, according to Metro.

The Downtown L.A. Cordon concept is set to explore managing traffic coming into the central area of DTLA. 

This area is bound by several of the most congested freeways in the county, including the I-110, I-10 and US 101. 

“Again, downtown is already home to numerous bus and rail lines and other key projects are under construction,” Metro officials said.

The Regional Connector will tie together three Metro light rail lines for faster trips to and through DTLA with fewer transfers and the D Line (Purple) Extension is extending the subway from downtown all the way to Westwood via Koreatown, the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills and Century City. Additional transportation improvements would be explored for this area as part of the study.

Photo Courtesy of Metro

Another concept would focus on reducing traffic along the I-10 corridor between Santa Monica and Downtown.

There’s heavy congestion between downtown L.A. and communities to the west, including Santa Monica, Culver City and West L.A. To mitigate potential spillover traffic, the I-10 and parallel arterials will be included in the analysis, according to Metro.

Since the summer of 2020, Metro has been holding listening sessions with the public and stakeholders to better understand their hopes and concerns about any potential pilot program, according to the agency. 

Metro is just beginning to conduct modeling and technical analysis of these four concepts. 

Photo Courtesy of Metro

At the earliest, the pilot program would not begin until 2025 — after a lot more planning, public engagement and necessary approvals from the Metro Board of Directors and other governmental bodies, according to Metro.

Three virtual meetings are being held in February to learn more about the concepts. To register for the meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. visit here

There are also two other virtual meetings scheduled. To attend the meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. visit here

The last virtual meeting is set for Saturday, Feb. 27, from 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. For registration, visit here.

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55-Hour 210 Freeway Closure In Sylmar To Begin Friday For Replacement Project

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A 55-hour closure of the westbound 210 Freeway in Sylmar is set to begin Friday evening as part of a replacement project. 

The closure is expected to begin at 10 p.m. Friday and end at 5 a.m. Monday, impacting the westbound 210 Freeway between the 5 Freeway and Roxford Street, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

In addition to the freeway, the closure also includes the westbound Polk Street on-ramp, the westbound Roxford Street on-ramp, the westbound Yarnell Street on- and off-ramps, the interchange from the westbound 210 Freeway to the 5 Freeway and the eastbound Paxton Street off-ramp.

Drivers are advised to use the 118 Freeway as an alternate route, Caltrans officials said. 

Residents and local businesses located near the freeway may experience noise, vibrations and dust associated with construction activities, according to Caltrans.

The work on the 210 Freeway is part of a $135.5-million project replacing all lanes of the freeway with new pavement from Wheatland Avenue to the 5 Freeway.

All closures are weather-permitting and subject to change, according to the agency.

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Overnight 5 Freeway Closure Planned In Burbank For Bridge Construction

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5 Freeway Closure Burbank
Photo Courtesy of My5LA

An overnight 5 Freeway closure in Burbank lasting four days is planned to start Tuesday for bridge construction.

The project is expected to enhance the I-5 in Burbank and improve traffic circulation by adding carpool lanes, constructing a new interchange at I-5 and Empire Avenue, as well as reconstructing the Burbank Boulevard overcrossing, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

All lanes on the northbound I-5 are set to be closed from Magnolia Boulevard to Burbank Boulevard starting Tuesday, July 6, at 11:59 p.m. to Wednesday, July 7, at 4 a.m., and Wednesday, July 7 at 11:59 p.m. to Thursday, July 8, at 4 a.m.

All lanes on Southbound I-5 will be closed from Empire Avenue to Burbank Blvd from Thursday, July 8, at 11 p.m. to Friday, July 9, at 5 a.m., and Friday, July 9, at 11:30 p.m. to Saturday, July 10, at 6 a.m.

Detours will be posted during these freeway closures. Some on- and off-ramps will be closed each night, starting at 9 p.m. and reopening by 6 a.m. the next morning.

The schedule is weather-permitting and subject to change. Dates, times and locations of the closures listed above are subject to change, according to Caltrans.

Long-term or permanent ramp closures are in effect at some on-ramps and off-ramps at Burbank Boulevard.

Construction is expected to be completed by late 2021, weather permitting. The project cost is $355 million.

For more information on the 5 Freeway improvements, visit here.

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UPDATE: 5 Freeway Reopened After 10-Hour Snow Closure

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Grapevine Snow 5 Freeway (1)

Both directions of the 5 Freeway have been reopened through the Grapevine Tuesday morning after a snow closure.

At about 8 p.m. Monday, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers closed the 5 Freeway, northbound at Parker Road in Castaic and southbound at Grapevine Road due to heavy snow, according to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

The Grapevine was closed for about 10 hours as crews worked to clear the snow and ice from the road. At about 6:25 a.m. Tuesday, the 5 Freeway was reopened, according to Caltrans officials

To avoid a closure, motorists can take Highway 126 west to the 101 Freeway north, according to CHP officials.

Once on US-101, drivers can take Highway 166 in Santa Maria east back onto the 5 Freeway.

There is another alternate route through Highway 14 to State Route 58, however, this route can be impacted by snow, according to the CHP.

About an hour after the Grapevine closure on Monday, Highway 58 was closed in both directions from Towerline Road to Exit 165 due to heavy fog, snow and multiple traffic incidents, according to Caltrans.

CHP officers with concurrence from Caltrans make the decision to close the Grapevine in “Operation Snowflake.”

“Closures on the Grapevine as well as other mountain roads are designed to avoid a worst-case scenario and are based on road conditions as opposed to the experience level of the individual driver,” said CHP officials.

Caltrans maintenance supervisors, along with the CHP, monitor the weather and highway conditions. If inclement weather is forecasted, a snow removal crew is activated to monitor and observe the actual conditions.

Typically, closures last from four to six hours, however, some may last longer than 24 hours, according to the CHP.

Note: This is a breaking news story, more information will be added as it becomes available.

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