By T.A. Hendrickson
Update: On May 27, the Metro Board approved the staff recommendation, described below, to study two design options for the Eagle Rock segment of the proposed North Hollywood-to-Pasadena bus rapid transit line. This story, originally posted on May 19, was also updated on May 26 to include more details of the proposals being considered by Metro.
At a meeting on May 19 on the proposed North Hollywood-to-Pasadena bus rapid transit line, the Metro Board Planning and Programming committee unanimously approved a Metro staff recommendation to advance two potential design options for Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock to the project’s next planning stage.
The recommendation will now come before the full Metro Board on May 27. Assuming it’s approved by the full board, the two options for Colorado Boulevard will be evaluated in coming months as Metro prepares a Final Environmental Impact Report on the NoHo-Pas BRT.
One of the design options would reduce much of Colorado Boulevard to one car lane each way, affecting traffic. The other would retain two car lanes each way, affecting curbside parking and/or the median, though in its report to the Board, Metro staff stated that refinements to the two-car-lane-each-way proposal could potentially reduce the loss of median space and/or parking.
Both options would establish dedicated bus lanes on the boulevard and maintain the boulevard’s buffered bike lanes.
An earlier option by Metro that preserved the boulevard’s traffic lanes, parking and medians while creating dedicated bus lanes has apparently fallen out of the mix. That option met stiff opposition from bicycle advocates because it would have converted the boulevard’s bike lanes to a shared lane for use by bicycles and buses.
A route configuration that would run the BRT in regular traffic along Colorado Boulevard — thus preserving car lanes, bike lanes, parking and the medians — was also not broached in the Metro staff report to the Board.
In voting to approve the recommendation to study two design options for Colorado Boulevard, the Metro Board members on the Planning and Programming committee said they were deferring to Eagle Rock’s City Councilmember Kevin de León, who recently called on Metro to present its one-car-lane-each-way proposal side-by-side with a two-car-lane-proposal so that the public could compare and contrast the two approaches before a final decision is made.
Metro Board Member Hilda Solis, who is the L.A county supervisor for Eagle Rock, said she was leaning toward the one-car-lane-each-way proposal, but was open to learning more. Metro Board Vice Chairman Ara Najarian, mayor of Glendale, expressed concern that evaluating two design options for Eagle Rock could delay the overall project and urged the Metro staff to be efficient in developing the side-by-side presentation and soliciting public feedback.
The vote to approve the recommendation in the Planning and Programming committee on May 17 came after more than an hour of public comment in which 29 of 44 callers voiced support for moving forward with the one-car-lane-each-way proposal and 13 voiced opposition to a lane reduction, according to the Sentinel’s tally. (The views of two callers were unclear.) Among supporters, several said that a lane reduction would foster public-transit ridership, biking and walking. Of those opposed, several called for studies to assess how a lane reduction would impact traffic congestion on the boulevard and spillover traffic into surrounding residential areas.
The Metro Board meeting on Thursday, May 27 will take place virtually, starting at 11 a.m. Instructions for participating and/or watching online are at: http://boardagendas.metro.net
To listen by phone: 888.251.2949, Extension: 8231160# (English) or 4544724# (Español)