By T.A. Hendrickson
Metro will hold a public “scoping” meeting in Eagle Rock on Saturday, July 13 on its plan for a bus rapid transit (BRT) route from North Hollywood to Pasadena (NoHo-Pasadena), including a corridor along Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock.
The meeting will take place from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Eagle Rock Plaza.
The purpose of the meeting is to give the public a chance to learn more about the plan and provide input for the record on issues that policymakers should analyze in the upcoming environmental impact review of the project.
Practical issues for Eagle Rockers include the BRT route, dedicated bus lanes, location of stops and the potential for multi-family real estate development near the BRT stops.
For starters, here are four questions we would like Metro to address at the meeting and in the draft environmental impact review:
Q: Will Metro study an alternative route for Eagle Rock in which the BRT uses the 134 Freeway with stops near the freeway on-and-off ramps, rather than using Colorado Boulevard?
Metro has made a good case for a NoHo-Pasadena BRT, pointing out that it would provide an alternative to driving on a heavily congested route and connect to Metro rail service at both ends of the line, thus facilitating greater use of public transit.
But Metro has yet to make a good case for why the BRT should run on Colorado in Eagle Rock with stops along the boulevard, instead of catching the 134 freeway with stops at both ends of town.
The Metro data that is available indicates that a street route would pick up more riders, but would be slower and more expensive than a freeway route.
To complicate matters, Metro has sent mixed signals about its willingness to consider a freeway route for Eagle Rock. In May, when the Metro Board advanced the plan for a route along Colorado Boulevard, a spokesperson for Metro told the Boulevard Sentinel that the route was “far from being a done deal,” adding that “community feedback is a huge part of this.” But at a meeting with residents at the Eagle Rock City Hall on June 18 , another Metro spokesperson said that “no options being studied involve bypassing Colorado Boulevard.”
Many participants at the June 18 meeting protested the lack of compare-and-contrast designs and other specifics that would allow for an informed choice between a street route and a freeway route in Eagle Rock. Metro could clear up confusion and meet public demand for information by studying a freeway option for Eagle Rock in addition to a Colorado Boulevard route.
Q: Why does Metro want a Colorado Boulevard route in Eagle Rock, but remains open to freeway routes in Glendale and Pasadena?
Metro’s map of the NoHo-Pasadena BRT shows that Metro has opted for a route along the 134 Freeway for a stretch in North Hollywood and is still undecided on whether to use the 134 Freeway through most of Glendale and part of Pasadena. The same map indicates that a route on the 134 Freeway is not under consideration for Eagle Rock.
Metro has said it will study two different ways to put the BRT on Colorado Boulevard. One way would be to put in dedicated BRT lanes that would potentially impact parking, traffic, the medians, bike lanes or some combination of those features. Another way would be have the BRT travel down Colorado Boulevard in regular traffic, which would be less disruptive to the boulevard but make for a slower NoHo-Pasadena ride.
The upshot is that Metro is open to studying freeway options for North Hollywood, Glendale and Pasadena and will study various ways to put the BRT on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock. So, why not study the freeway option for Eagle Rock as well?
Q: Will BRT stops on Colorado Boulevard open the door to more and bigger multi-family housing development in Eagle Rock?
A stated goal of Metro is to foster the creation of transit-oriented communities, or TOCs, which are multi-family housing developments near major transit stops. Under TOC rules put in place by the city in 2017, a developer who builds within half a mile of a transit stop can build larger, denser buildings than current zoning would allow, as long as the land is already zoned for at least five units and the project includes some affordable units for lower income people.
A glance at the zoning maps for Eagle Rock suggests that much of Colorado Boulevard and some of the areas south of Colorado could fall under TOC rules.
Eagle Rockers need more information from Metro in order to understand how its proposed BRT stops on Colorado Boulevard could affect TOC development in Eagle Rock . For example, multi-family housing development that increases the population might be good for some businesses, but not for others. Development would also alter the look and feel of the boulevard, perhaps for good, perhaps not.
Q: In its draft environmental impact review, will Metro analyze the potential impact of TOC developments along the NoHo-Pasadena BRT?
Metro has stated that its “vision to create transit oriented communities (TOCs)” is “at the forefront” of its overall transit efforts. That being the case, Metro owes it to the public to show how the BRT will advance TOCs.
Another reason that the BRT study should include an analysis of the potential for TOCs along the NoHo-Passadena route is that multi-family and affordable-housing development – which is badly needed – generally faces strong opposition. The opposition is even greater if housing development is concentrated in some communities and not in others. A Metro study of potential TOCs on the BRT line will show whether all communities are being asked to pull an oar for affordable housing, or not.
See you at the meeting on Saturday, July 13, at 1 p.m. at the Eagle Rock Plaza.
T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times.
7 thoughts on “Four Questions for Metro on Bus Rapid Transit in Eagle Rock”
Many thanks, Mr. Hendrickson, for another clear non-polemic view of this issue. I very much hope that Metro is open to hearing our concerns; it remains a mystery to me why the far cheaper and more ecologically-friendly route along the 134 was scrapped. It may be, in the future, if we save a couple of hundred million dollars by reviving that solution, that we can spend the money to improve our existing bus system – more buses, less waiting times, cheaper fares. The forces are arrayed against any such consideration, but I have hope.
Thank you, Mark, for your comment.
Excellent article. I believe we need less nimbys more public transit and more multi family housing developments near public transit throughout Los Angeles including Eagle Rock. Question 2 is not relevant to Eagle Rock; options for each location should be determined based on the merits for that location. But my answer would be the other routes should be based on ridership. It’s as clever as it is reprehensible narrow minded nimbyism to me to suggest the freeway alternative as a way to avoid building more housing. The route on Colorado is needed to maximize ridership. Any housing that is built is a blessing not a curse. More multi unit housing and more convenient public transit is consistent with a cleaner environment. The world goes roound change happens and neither Eagle Rock nor Los Angeles will ne like it was when any particular resident got here nor will it remain as it is today. I suggest residents get over their nostalgia for the past and embrace the future.
Listening to the comments at today’s meeting at Eagle Rock Plaza it became clear that
those who currently ride the bus favor the BRT on Colorado Blvd knowing the difficulty of transfers and accessing the freeway route. Residents who never ride the bus and who oppose denser housing in their most elitist Marie Antoinette voice cry Let them transfer.
The only question is who is more elitist snd opposed to more housing – residents of Venice or Eagle Rock. Hopefully MTA will rely on the expertise of bus riders and their superior studies than the narrow minded nimbyism of residents who never ride the bus and oppose more housing.
Brock, it may be that if you talk with some of us who have different concerns than yours about the possible plans you might find we are not that evil. One of the things that always strikes me about the Metro presentations is how the always say that the price is $267 million. They also say that the 134 option is off the table. They also say that it would cost near $450 million to put it through on Colorado Boulevard. They announce the price for a project they say they are no longer considering and admit they have ready access to spending over $200 million dollars more on any part of improving mass transit they deem suitable. How about more buses, less wait times, cheaper fares? There are many available questions. The woman sitting next to me took 45 minutes by bus to get there from York and Figueroa. She wants to see better mass transit, but also loves Eagle Rock. For you to call her names, to dismiss her without ever meeting her or even knowing her name is not only mean-spirited and insulting, it’s short-sighted. This is our town, all of us. We live here, and even people who disagree with you may be decent people.
The elitist i heard cry let them get a transfer doesnt ride the bus and was referencing a horrendous transfer point in glendale that would be unnecessary after the BRt is approved. I live near york and fig which is on a direct route to the meeting location. The author of this article described the choice as between the BRT on the 134 or Colorado. Adding other issues all bus rides favor is besides the point. The point which this article whitewashes apparently for the sake of over sensitive Eagle Rockers is that most bus riders oppose the 134 option as inconvenuent and inaccessible and that most who favor the 134 route dont ride the bus and oppose more housing. It’s not about what’s best for Eagle Rock it’s about what’s best for public transit commuters both local and regional and the region and the planet. That means more public transit and denser housing everywhere including Eagle Rock and Venice and elsewhere despite the NIMBYS who think just say no to everything is an option or an answer.
Brock, stop slinging words like “elitist”, NIMBY and get off your high horse. Thanks.
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