The Orange Line's initial safety woes seem to be behind it
, and ridership has been much stronger than the MTA's lowball projections
, but one question remains unanswered - is the Orange Line improving traffic flow across the Valley?
Remember, that's the way the line was sold to the public. It was put forth as a way to alleviate the brutal freeway commute across the Valley floor, a way to begin to untangle the gridlock of the east-west Valley commute.
Is it accomplishing that? Is it luring a sizable number of Valley commuters out of their cars? Reports of half-empty park-and-ride lots provide part of the answer. The other part of the answer can be inferred by the lack of news stories trumpeting the ease with which traffic is now flowing across the Valley - stories that are MIA because it simply ain't so.
What the line may actually have done is to shift bus-riders from one route to another, albeit a more comfortable and reliable route. That's not necessarily a bad thing: L.A. busses could use a little more comfort and reliability.
But that's not why the Orange Line was built. It was built to alleviate traffic in the Valley, to pull people out of their cars, and to free up freeway capacity.
That, is has not done.