By T.A. Hendrickson
Update (April 28):
The Board will consider the lane reductions as part of its review and potential certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report on Metro’s planned bus rapid transit (BRT) line between North Hollywood and Pasadena (NoHo-Pas) via Burbank, Glendale and Eagle Rock.
Approval by the Board is expected because the lane reductions have already been endorsed by Metro staff, the Metro Board’s Planning and Programming Committee and City Councilmember Kevin de León, who represents Eagle Rock.
This article traces the timeline and events that have culminated in the one-lane proposal now coming before the Metro Board.
In a nutshell, Eagle Rock residents were largely taken by surprise around mid-February 2021, when Metro began zeroing in on a plan for lane reductions on the boulevard. As Metro has noted, Eagle Rock residents had consistently opposed lane reductions during the agency’s public outreach on the NoHo-Pas BRT in 2019. Accordingly, none of the proposals put forward by Metro in the Draft Environmental Impact Report, released in October 2020, eliminated traffic lanes.
Metro has said that it began to consider lane reductions after receiving a slew of letters in late December 2020 in support of a one-lane proposal dubbed “Beautiful Boulevard” by its proponents — a coalition of some 40 people, including members of The Eagle Rock Association, a private civic group, and former and present members of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council. The letters were all submitted after the initial public-comment deadline of Dec. 10, which Metro had extended to Dec. 28.
There were no public comment letters in opposition to the Beautiful Boulevard plan because apparently no one other than its proponents knew about it.
Everyone knows about it now. The upshot is that Eagle Rock is a community divided.
The rationale for taking out traffic lanes is to create room on the boulevard for dedicated BRT lanes, enhanced bike lanes and the medians.
Metro has noted that lane reductions would increase traffic congestion at the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Eagle Rock Boulevard and near the 134 Freeway ramps, where two lanes would narrow to one. Eliminating a traffic lane in each direction would also reduce travel speeds on the boulevard to single digits during the morning and evening rush hours, according to Metro.
The one-lane plan would also lose 122 curbside parking spaces, though De León recently told the Boulevard Sentinel that he would ensure Metro builds replacement parking to make up for the lost spaces.
Proponents of the lane reductions have said that the overall one-lane design would result in a safer boulevard due to slower car speeds, better crossings and new signals. They also say that reconfigurations and landscaping in the design would be good for the environment and the local economy because a more pedestrian-, cyclist-, and-transit-friendly boulevard could discourage car use and foster lingering in the boulevard’s shops, cafés and other businesses.
Here’s how to attend the Metro Board meeting on Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 10 a.m.
To watch online: http://boardagendas.metro.net
To listen by phone: 888.251.2949 / Extension: 8231160# (English) or 4544724# (Español)
To give live public comment, by telephone only, you may join the call five minutes before the 10 a.m. start of the meeting at 888.251.2949 / Extension: 8231160# (English) or 4544724# (Español). / Public comment will be taken as the Board takes up each item. To give public comment on an item, enter #2 when prompted.