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Metro Committee Approves Colorado Blvd for Eagle Rock Bus Rapid Transit

Yesterday, the Metro board Planning and Programming Committee approved a small step toward making the North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit line a reality. The committee approved overall project refinements (staff report, presentation), but did not finalize which alternative would take the project through Eagle Rock. The committee action still needs to be approved by the full Metro board next week.

Metro’s NoHo-to-Pasadena BRT project will be a ~18-mile-long new line extending from the B/G Lines North Hollywood Station to the L Line in Old Town Pasadena. The project will span four cities: Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, and Los Angeles. Steering the multi-city project designs to completion has been like herding cats, with various changes big and small requested by cities along the route.

The L.A. City neighborhood of Eagle Rock has been and continues to be the main point of contention.

For a couple years, some Eagle Rock residents have vociferously opposed BRT, criticized Metro, denigrated transit riders, and claimed that they are the "true stakeholders" "that matter." BRT proponents led a community process to craft a proposal, called Beautiful Boulevard, which would remove one car lane in each direction on part of Colorado Boulevard to create a downtown that prioritizes transit, walking and bicycling. Just when it appeared that there was a fairly broad consensus in support of Beautiful Boulevard, the area's recently-elected L.A. City Councilmember Kevin de León sided with NIMBY voices calling to delay the project to hold more in-person meetings.

Public comments at yesterday's Metro committee meeting ran heavily in favor of Beautiful Boulevard, with about thirty comments in favor, and about thirteen in opposition.

The committee approved the overall alignment, placing BRT on on Colorado Boulevard through Eagle Rock, effectively killing the 134 Freeway route that some BRT opponents had pushed for. There was no final decision regarding how Colorado Boulevard lanes will be configured through downtown Eagle Rock.

Per the request of Councilmember de León, Metro will be holding additional community input meetings for the project. Advocates and Metro boardmembers urged that Metro be careful to make sure that future meetings not repeat the mistakes of the past, requesting a harassment-free format that would minimize speakers being booed, intimidated, discouraged, or harassed. Advocates are also calling on Metro to ensure that transit rider voices be elevated through surveys on-board area buses.

The main two Colorado Boulevard alternatives under consideration are:

Metro F1 Eagle Rock BRT proposal
Metro Eagle Rock BRT F1 alternative - image via Eagle Rock Forward
    • "F1" alternative would maintain two car lanes in each direction, eliminate half of the on-street parking, and narrow the landscaped median
Metro Eagle Rock BRT Refined F1 alternative - image via Eagle Rock Forward
    • "Refined F1" alternative (Metro's version of Beautiful Boulevard) would retain on-street parking, medians, and the bike lane, while reducing car lanes to one in each direction

The Metro board still needs to approve the project's environmental studies (Final Environmental Impact Report - FEIR) before proceeding to construction. The expectation is that the decision on Colorado Boulevard lane allocation will be part of the FEIR.

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