What Is BRT?

BRT stands for Bus Rapid Transit. This isn’t your typical Metro bus. BRT is designed to be faster and more frequent than conventional buses. It is sometimes referred to as “light rail on rubber wheels” because it provides rail-like service at a fraction of the cost of laying actual rail tracks.

A example of a bus rapid transit project in San Francisco

Features unique to BRT include: dedicated lanes; all-door boarding (so passengers can enter and exit at all doors like a rail car); more substantial “stations” rather than bus stops; pre-boarding payment (pay your fare while you wait and then just hop on once the bus arrives); and level boarding platforms to make boarding easier people with wheelchairs, strollers, bikes, and people with disabilities. All of these features help to provide faster transit service to empower people to get to and from destinations and transit connections conveniently.

Can BRT be Upgraded to Rail?

Yes! On page 94 of Metro’s Noho-Pasadena Alternatives Analysis, Metro states: “Light rail transit often operates in a center-running configuration; therefore, this type of runningway has the greatest potential for future rail conversion, although additional right-of-way may be required.”

Metro has also previously said of the project that it “could be converted to a rail service at a later date if ridership demand outgrows the bus rapid service capacity.”  If the BRT goes on the freeway, we lose our chance at bringing back rail service to Eagle Rock!

Will North Hollywood-Pasadena BRT connect to Metro rail?

Executive Summary Figure 7 on page 30 shows primary options for a street-running BRT alignment with connections to Metro Rail and Metrolink

Yes! Metro’s proposed BRT line will connect Eagle Rockers to Metro Gold Line in Pasadena (Metro Del Mar, Memorial Park, and/or Lake stations) Red and Orange Lines at Metro North Hollywood station, as well as to Metrolink service at Downtown Burbank/Olive station.

What will the cost of a ride be?

Metro plans North Hollywood-Pasadena BRT to be part of its standard-fare transit network (currently $1.75 standard fare and 75¢ peak/35¢ off-peak reduced fare for seniors and people with disabilities, with 2 hour free transfers for Tap users).

If We Say Yes to BRT on Colorado, Will our Medians and Trees be Removed?

No. While existing medians may need to be modified at the three proposed locations of BRT stations if center-running BRT is selected, it is possible to maintain planted medians and trees throughout where they currently exist. A center-running BRT scheme may also offer the opportunity add additional medians, plants, and trees to provide increased green space and shade cover on Colorado Boulevard. Metro will also consider side- and curbside-running BRT options as other options to avoid impact to medians.

Figure 21 on page 95 shows what BRT could look like on Colorado Boulevard.

Equitable Eagle Rock does not support the wholesale removal of landscaped medians on Colorado Boulevard.

Will BRT on Colorado Remove our Bike Lanes?

It is possible to add BRT to Colorado Boulevard while maintaining bike lanes. Implementation of dedicated bus lanes while maintaining bike infrastructure on Colorado Boulevard is supported by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, Active SGV, Walk Bike Glendale, the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition, and Walk Bike Burbank.

At a September 1, 2020 Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council meeting, Metro presented a plan that would eliminate existing dedicated bike lanes and replace them with a bus lane in which bikes would be allowed. This proposal is unacceptable. Requiring slow moving bicyclists to share a lane with fast moving buses would represent a severe reduction in the quality of transit and bike infrastructure, as well as a betrayal of the goals of Take Back The Boulevard, a decade-long community effort to improve safety on Colorado Boulevard. Equitable Eagle Rock and other organizations will oppose any proposal by Metro to remove dedicated bike lanes on Colorado Boulevard.

Will BRT disrupt the Take Back the Boulevard project?

Take Back The Boulevard (TBTB) is a collaborative project of many of Eagle Rock’s local community organizations to remake the streetscape of Colorado Boulevard, including buffered bike lanes, sidewalk curb extensions, and landscape improvements. While dedicated bus lanes were outside of the scope defined by TBTB, there is nothing about bus lanes that would negatively impact TBTB’s goals. In fact, a BRT project that maintains TBTB bike lanes could very well help our community better achieve the vision outlined in that plan, which included expanding transportation options, increasing public health and improving environmental quality. You can read more about TBTB at The Eagle Rock Association’s website: http://tera90041.org/important-issues/ongoing/take-back-the-boulevard/

Will Colorado Boulevard Have to be Reduced to One Lane of Travel in Each Direction?

No. While a travel lane could be removed if deemed to be beneficial, it is possible to add BRT while keeping Colorado Boulevard two lanes in each direction.

Will BRT Affect Parking?

BRT is likely to have a negligible impact on parking. Metro understands commercial on-street parking is important to our local businesses and wants to avoid losing parking. Metro has indicated that any parking impacted will be mitigated by adding spaces nearby within easy walking distance.

Will Colorado BRT Disrupt the Eagle Rock Music Festival?

Metro staff has indicated that a BRT line can be re-routed for special events such as the Eagle Rock Music Festival.

Will these new buses bring more pollution to our community?

No, actually the opposite! Metro has committed to run the BRT line with zero emissions electric buses. Additionally, Metro’s analysis also shows that—even by the most conservative estimate—the project would result in large reductions in Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) and that those reductions are greatest (“Very High”) with street-running options along the route. Metro’s analysis describes reductions in VMT as the metric that best quantifies the environmental benefits to Northeast Los Angeles communities, as these values describe the reduction in pollution from private automobiles that impact air quality and community health.

Citing the environmental benefits of improved transit service, Metro’s plan to provide BRT service to Eagle Rock on Colorado Boulevard is supported by all major regional environmental organizations, including Climate Resolve, Sierra Club Angeles Chapter, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sunset Movement Los Angeles, and EnviroMetro.

Do bus lanes hurt businesses?

No! Improved transit service has the ability to attract more customers without the need for more vehicle parking and or additional car traffic. Accordingly, bus rapid transit projects have a long track record of showing increased business and economic activity. Studies published by the World Resources Institute (2014 – link) and the Journal of Public Transportation (2002 – link) each document increased economic activity and tax revenues for individual BRT case studies.

Any construction project within the public right of way can limit access or deter potential customers from making trips. One of the benefits of BRT over other transit types is that it can be implemented quickly on existing roads. That said, our group is advocating for the Metro Board to include the North Hollywood-Pasadena BRT project within its existing Business Implementation Fund (BIF) program to ensure that none of our small businesses on Colorado Boulevard see a loss in revenue related to this project or during installation of associated streetscape and landscaping improvements.

Do bus lanes slow down emergency access/evacuations?

Absolutely not. Dedicated bus lanes provide traffic-free routes that emergency vehicles can utilize to bypass traffic and to speed up EMS, fire, and police response times (source). In the event of emergency evacuations, emergency personnel can utilize bus lanes as best they see fit to improve evacuation options; be it for emergency vehicle use, to provide shuttle service, as contraflow evacuation routes, or for individual car use.

Why didn’t Metro study putting BRT on the 134 Freeway?

Metro did study locating BRT service on the 134 Freeway and has presented its analysis with a dedicated section in its report (“4.2 Freeway-Running Alternative,” pages 73-76 of Metro’s Alternatives Analysis Report) studying this option. Metro notes that a freeway alignment, “Does not serve the Eagle Rock community” because of limitations for where transit stations can be located on the 134 Freeway. Click HERE for more explanation of why locating BRT service on the 134 Freeway is a bad idea.

Why am I just hearing about this now? Was the Eagle Rock community snubbed by Metro?

Metro is in the very beginning of the community engagement process of its environmental review, called “scoping.” While these aren’t the first meetings on the project, these meetings are another step in the outreach process to review the goals set by voters in 2015 with the passage of Measure M. Eagle Rock has very much been a part of Metro’s process for allocation of tax funds. Prior to the current broader community outreach to Eagle Rock stakeholders, Metro provided initial outreach through the following venues:

  • In 2016, Metro met with and engaged local stakeholder organizations, including the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce, The Eagle Rock Association (TERA), and the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council. Citing the benefit of bringing quality transit to Eagle Rock’s central business district, all three organizations offered letters of support for BRT on Colorado Boulevard to Metro before Metro’s decision whether to initiate this transit project (links: Chamber of Commerce letter, TERA letter, ERNC letter).
  • Metro held a city-wide meeting at Metro Headquarters to discuss initiating the project for a North-Hollywood-Pasadena BRT line on January 25th, 2017. After this meeting, the project was formally initiated and a project team was assembled.
  • Metro started its 2018 pre-scoping outreach by tabling at the Eagle Rock Music Festival on October 6th, 2018 to introduce the project to community members.
  • Metro presented at Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council meetings on September 18th and October 2nd, 2018 to talk about the plan for the North Hollywood-Pasadena BRT and solicit input on community goals and concerns. The feedback from neighborhood council board members to make sure that Eagle Rock was not left out for this important new transit service helped Metro to refine its goals for the proposed BRT line.
  • In Fall of 2018 Metro held at least 15 stakeholder meetings for the project to discuss overall concepts, including a meeting at Eagle Rock Plaza on October 18th, 2018.
Illustrates outreach to Eagle Rock
Metro’s summary of 2018 community outreach
(Page 54 of Metro’s Alternatives Analysis)
  • From all of this feedback, prepared an “Alternatives Analysis” (link) document to summarize feedback received to-date, and to study in detail three BRT alignment options: 1) a Street-Running Alternative that provides service to Eagle Rock, 2) a Freeway-Running Alternative that bypasses Eagle Rock due to possible stop locations along the 134 Freeway, and 3) a Hybrid Street/Freeway Alternative that runs the BRT line on the 134 in sections at North Hollywood and Glendale, but routes the line on city streets in Burbank, Eagle Rock, and Pasadena to provide transit service for the central business districts of these communities. The benefits and drawbacks of these options are presented in Metro’s Alternatives Report for review and input. Read more about why a freeway-alignment is bad for transit riders and the Eagle Rock community HERE.

As Metro’s project analysis moves forward into design in 2019, Metro will continue to solicit and respond to feedback as it prepares a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and revises based on feedback into a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR). At each phase, Metro will continue to present updates and solicit feedback from our community.