By T. A. Hendrickson
The Eagle Rock segment of the plan has already generated pushback.
Here’s the state of play:
As expected, Metro’s “Proposed Project” envisions a side-running route on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock, with a dedicated bus lane in each direction next to the parked cars.
The side-running route, which was previewed by Metro in recent meetings with community groups and elected officials, preserves the boulevard’s median, curbside parking and two car lanes each way, while squeezing the bike lanes to create room for BRT bus lanes.
Specifically, the BRT would run in the bike lanes with “priority” for bicyclists, meaning the BRT would have to go around cyclists.
The side-running option addresses the concerns of business owners, commuters and tree advocates who feared the loss of parking, car lanes and the median. But it disadvantages bicyclists who would have to share their lanes with the BRT.
The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council (ERNC) has been critical of the side-running option. On October 6, the council voted to send a letter calling on Metro to study an option that would limit Colorado Boulevard to one car lane each way, a configuration that would make room for separate BRT bus lanes and bike lanes, plus parking, additional landscaping and the median. Also known as “Option C,” the one-car-lane-each-way proposal was developed by The Eagle Rock Association (TERA), a private improvement group.
The vote on the ERNC in favor of sending the Option C letter was nearly unanimous, with only one ERNC member, Lisa Karahalios, voting no. Karahalios said that in community meetings on the BRT, Eagle Rockers had consistently said they wanted to preserve two car lanes each way on the boulevard.
Michael Sweeney, the head of the ERNC Land Use committee who presented the Option C letter and spoke in favor of sending it, told the Boulevard Sentinel in an email that he expected any revisions or additional study of route options to occur as part of the final environmental impact review (FEIR) process, which started on October 26 with the release of the DEIR.
The options in play for a Colorado Boulevard route take as a given that the BRT will not run on the 134 Freeway through Eagle Rock. According to the DEIR, a freeway route would have the fastest travel time but lower ridership and fewer connections.
Then again, if no workable compromise can be found to fit BRT lanes on the boulevard, where else but the freeway could the BRT go? Presumably, Metro could dust off an idea for replacing the Colorado Boulevard median with dedicated BRT lanes. Or, Metro could run the BRT in regular traffic on Colorado Boulevard.
The reason that so many options are still in play is that the DEIR does not make one, overarching route recommendation for the NoHo-Pas BRT. Instead, it asserts a “Proposed Project” for several segments and then, for purposes of comparison, analyzes alternatives to the proposed project. According to the DEIR, Metro took this approach because there was no consensus on routes and configurations among Metro staff, cities, stakeholders and the general public along the NoHo-Pas line.
“Metro determined that all stakeholders and the agency decision-makers would best be informed about the Proposed Project by equally evaluating the potential environmental impacts of multiple routes,” says the report.
In other words, it’s not over until it’s over.
The public review and comment period for the NoHo-Pas DEIR runs until December 10, 2020.
Metro will conduct two virtual public hearings to take testimony on the DEIR and will also accept written comments.
The first public hearing will be on Thursday, November 12, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Online link: https://zoom.us/j/93362737314; Telephone: (877) 853-5247 (Toll Free), (888) 788 0099 (Toll Free), (833) 548 0276 (Toll Free), (833) 548 0282 (Toll Free). Webinar ID: 933 6273 7314.
The second public hearing will be on Saturday, November 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Online link: https://zoom.us/j/93255094044; Telephone: (833) 548-0276 (Toll Free), (833) 548-0282 (Toll Free), (877) 853-5247 (Toll Free), (888) 788-0099 (Toll Free). Webinar ID: 932 5509 4044
The presentation may be viewed during the public review period at: https://www.metro.net/projects/noho-pasadena-corridor/
Written comments on the NoHo-Pas DEIR can be submitted to: Scott Hartwell, Project Manager Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, One Gateway Plaza, Mail Stop: 99-22-6, Los Angeles, CA 90012, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also call the North Hollywood Pasadena BRT Corridor Project hotline (213) 418-3228 and leave a message.
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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. Hendrickson is committed to local news reporting and to finding a way forward for local news outlets in today's challenging media markets.