By T.A. Hendrickson
Metro’s plan for bus rapid transit (BRT) lanes on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock will move ahead in July, as the agency holds public meetings in Eagle Rock and other communities along the proposed route from North Hollywood to Pasadena (NoHo-Pasadena).
The meetings are required by law to let the public weigh in before Metro completes a Draft Environmental Impact Report on the NoHo-Pasadena project.
In Eagle Rock, the run up to the meetings has been contentious.
Here’s the state of play:
At a packed meeting on June 18 in the Land Use and Planning Committee of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council (ERNC), most of the people in attendance wanted the BRT to traverse Eagle Rock on the 134 Freeway, with stops at either end of town near the freeway on-ramps. They didn’t want BRT lanes on Colorado Boulevard, saying it would worsen traffic and parking, harm businesses and ruin the look and feel of Eagle Rock. But the Metro representative at the meeting, Scott Hartwell, told the crowd that a freeway option was not on the table. “No options being studied involve bypassing Colorado Boulevard,” he said.
Hartwell said that Metro had considered using the 134 Freeway in the course of developing the NoHo-Pasadena BRT, but had decided on using Colorado Boulevard in part because of “broad community support” for the idea.
The notion that a BRT along Colorado Boulevard has broad community support stunned the people at the meeting, most of whom were there to oppose the idea.
The Boulevard Sentinel looked into Metro’s claim of “broad community support.” Metro’s data show that its public outreach in Eagle Rock consisted of a presentation to the Executive Committee of the ERNC on September 24, 2018, followed by a presentation at the regular ERNC monthly meeting on October 2, 2018; a booth at the Eagle Rock Music Festival on October 6, 2018 that was visited by 61 people; and a public meeting on the BRT plan on October 13, 2018 at the Eagle Rock Plaza attended by 38 people who submitted 11 comment cards, 24 public speaker comments and 70 “Roll Plot” comments, which are post-it notes stuck to maps of the proposed routes.
Metro reported that most of the people it reached wanted the BRT on the boulevard, not the freeway; hence, its claim of “broad community support.”
Metro seems to have gotten the message that many people in Eagle Rock aren’t happy with the plan for BRT lanes on Colorado Boulevard.
L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents Eagle Rock and is a Metro Board Member, is working to set up a meeting with constituents in Eagle Rock as soon as possible to discuss the BRT, according to her spokesperson. On June 27, Solis directed Metro staff to schedule two more meetings on the BRT in Eagle Rock, in addition to the one that is currently scheduled, to make sure that people can attend and speak up. Solis also directed Metro to report back to her on attendance and feedback at the community meetings.
Solis’ spokesperson said that Metro would study having the BRT use regular traffic lanes through Eagle Rock, in addition to studying dedicated lanes that would require reconfiguring the boulevard.
But in response to questions from the Sentinel about having Metro study a BRT route on the 134 Freeway with stops at either end of Eagle Rock, the spokesperson said only that a freeway option did not provide the same opportunities for connections and ridership as a street-running option.
It remains to be seen how much political pressure can be brought to bear on Metro at this stage. But one thing is clear. Whether you are for or against the BRT on Colorado, now is the time to speak up. Public comments will be accepted through Wednesday, July 31, on the proposal to put BRT lanes down Colorado Boulevard and those comments will be included in the environmental review study. You can submit a comment by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the website, metro.net/nohopasbrt or by calling Metro at 213.418.3228.
Metro’s next meeting in Eagle Rock will be at the Eagle Rock Plaza on Saturday, July 13 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The Boulevard Sentinel will keep you informed of any additional meeting dates, times and places as they become available.
- Updates: This story was updated on June 28 to show that Metro will hold two meetings in Eagle Rock in addition to the one scheduled for July 13 and that Metro will study using regular traffic lanes for the BRT on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock in addition to studying the use of designated bus lanes.
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. Hendrickson is committed to local news reporting and to finding a way forward for local news outlets in today's challenging media markets.