By T. A. Hendrickson
Metro has again delayed the draft Environmental Impact Report on its proposed bus rapid transit (BRT) line from North Hollywood to Pasadena via Eagle Rock.
The first delay, which pushed the release date of the report from spring to late summer, was intended to give Metro more time to study various routes through Eagle Rock. The choices include Colorado Boulevard, the 134 Freeway or a hybrid option in which the BRT runs along the 134 freeway with stops near the freeway on-and-off ramps.
The second delay, confirmed by Metro in June, will postpone the report for another three to six months. This delay is one of several delays in Metro projects due to financial setbacks at Metro stemming from the pandemic, according to Brian Haas, a Metro spokesperson
The upshot is that it will be late 2020, at the earliest, before Eagle Rockers know where Metro wants to put the Eagle Rock segment of the BRT.
By then, it will be well over a year since Eagle Rock erupted in conflict over the BRT route. In May, 2019, Metro recommended a BRT route on Colorado Boulevard. In confrontations through the spring and summer of 2019, some residents supported the Colorado Boulevard route while others called for a route on the 134 Freeway. The controversy was compounded by unanswered questions about how Metro had come to favor a route on Colorado Boulevard long before the general public was even aware of the project.
The debate in Eagle Rock commanded the attention of top Los Angeles county officials, including Hilda Solis, the county supervisor for Eagle Rock and a Metro board member; Philip Washington, the chief executive of Metro; and Ara Najarian, the mayor of Glendale and a Metro board member. In October 2019, Metro bowed to political pressure and announced it would study a route through Eagle Rock on the 134 Freeway in addition to a route on Colorado Boulevard.
The BRT route in Eagle Rock was also an issue in the race for City Council for Council District 14 in early 2020. Kevin de León, the candidate who went on to win that race, said during the campaign that he would decide which route was better for Eagle Rock once Metro had a detailed plan for a BRT that protects walkers and cyclists as well as the landscape, air and environment.
Haas, the Metro spokesperson, said that Metro does not expect the delays to have an effect on the project’s anticipated completion in 2024.
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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.
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