Following Metro’s decision to re-introduce the previously rejected 134 Freeway alignment as part of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed North Hollywood-Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line, Equitable Eagle Rock calls on the Metro Board of Directors to base its final alignment decisions on the evidence gathered in the DEIR that best meets the project’s goals and best serves Metro riders.
With the return of this “Zombie Option,” Eagle Rock once again remains at risk of being left out of this vital transit link. It is unfortunate that a vocal misinformation campaign waged by opponents was sufficient for the Metro Board to override the evidence gathered in the Alternatives Analysis, but we expect the DEIR will show definitively why the Colorado Boulevard alignment is a more equitable and environmentally superior option. Additional study should finally put this Zombie Option to rest. However, it only has the capacity to do that if the Metro Board of Directors commits to basing their final decisions on the evidence, not on political pressure from a small segment of the population that does not agree with goals for higher quality transit widely supported by Los Angeles voters and the Metro Board.
The benefits of a Colorado Boulevard alignment for the people of Eagle Rock and all who travel along the corridor are clear. A street-running BRT will:
Improve the quality of life for those who rely on public transit, who are often the most marginalized members of our community
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Provide greater access to dependable and quick public transit
Make “downtown” Eagle Rock a more accessible and attractive destination
Create a safer street that benefits all people regardless of their preferred mode of travel
As Metro prepares the DEIR, we expect to see proposed designs that work creatively to meet the needs of our community. With thoughtful design, we believe the implementation of dedicated bus lanes should complement existing neighborhood character and accommodate community-driven enhancements that make Eagle Rock a great place to live, work, shop, study, and play. Equitable Eagle Rock maintains that the following project design elements are essential to the success of BRT:
Incorporating the vision of existing community streetscape projects currently underway such as Take Back The Boulevard and Rock The Boulevard
Preserving and improving existing medians, though likely in modified form with more drought tolerant landscaping
Maintaining and incorporating medians planned west of Eagle Rock Boulevard as part of the Take Back The Boulevard Initiative
Adding protected bike lanes
Replacing any removed trees at an 8:1 ratio for a fully shaded streetscape
Designing a street that provides dignified means of getting around for all regardless of their transportation choices, age, abilities, or socio-economic status
Sharing resources and assistance to protect residents and businesses from displacement
Supporting small businesses, old and new, through construction
Fostering a unique ‘Main Street’ feel
While the Zombie Option is now part of the DEIR, the best way to put it to rest is by advocating the best possible vision for Colorado Boulevard. Metro will hold five interactive community workshops soliciting ideas about how to implement the BRT project; three sessions focused on Colorado Boulevard will be held in Eagle Rock.
If one believes the claims of Bus Rapid Transit opponents, BRT has a tremendous power to “automatically” up-zone entire corridors and bring massive new “six-story” canyons of towering development to L.A. neighborhoods. Their rhetoric is, of course, overblown. The truth is that current “automatic up-zoning” is very limited and very targeted.
The primary program under fire here is the city of Los Angeles’ Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Affordable Housing Incentive Program. (Technically, TOC incentives are discretionary bonuses – semantically not what planners would term an up-zone – but for this article SBLA will go with the vernacular and call these bonuses an up-zone.) TOC was approved by a majority of city voters in 2016. The program has been effective in greenlighting 4,000 new homes. TOC is now receiving criticism from various homeowner interests, and is the subject of a questionable Fix the City lawsuit that seeks to halt the program.
Read Streetsblog LA’s detailed explanation of how BRT has limited-to-no impact on the density and height of buildings along BRT routes HERE
The North Hollywood to Pasadena corridor connects the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys and is home to approximately 800,000 people and 400,000 jobs. This area includes major job centers, bedroom communities and many colleges and cultural opportunities.
But there’s one big thing lacking: a great transit connection for those traveling between the Valleys. Metro has exactly one bus line traveling between Old Pasadena and North Hollywood, but it mostly sticks to the 134 freeway and misses many neighborhoods and destinations along the way.
This is why Metro is working to build a bus rapid transit (BRT) line to serve North Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, Eagle Rock and Pasadena. BRT is a type of bus line that is faster, more frequent and more reliable by using features that could include traffic signal prioritization, all-door boarding, upgraded bus stations and dedicated bus lanes.
Read Metro CEO Phil Washington’s op-ed at Pasadena News Now making the case for communities and job centers connected by quality transit HERE
Last night Metro hosted an open house meeting on the planned North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit project. The meeting took place at Samuelson Pavilion on the campus of Occidental College in Eagle Rock. Last night’s meeting was pretty civil.
Read Streetsblog L.A.’s report on the August 7th Metro scoping meeting for North Hollywood-Pasadena BRT at Eagle Rock Plaza HERE
KPCC’s Larry Mantle hosts LAist staff writer Ryan Fonesca and Scott Hartwell, Metro project manager for the North Hollywood to Pasadena Transit corridor, in a discussion about the plans for BRT along Colorado. Mantle gets some of his facts wrong about the level of community support vs opposition as well as about zoning. But, fortunately the guests and some of the call-ins help set the record straight.
Listen to the segment that aired on AirTalk on July 17 HERE.
Last Saturday Metro hosted a community input meeting on its planned North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit project. The northeast L.A. City community of Eagle Rock has emerged as ground zero of a conflict between supporters urging “BRT for Equity,” and critics claiming BRT will “devastate” businesses and “severely increase traffic.”
Read Streetsblog L.A.’s report on the July 13th Metro scoping meeting for North Hollywood-Pasadena BRT at Eagle Rock Plaza HERE