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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Eagle Rock leaders welcome rapid bus service on Colorado Boulevard but would motorists?

Colorado Boulevard bus lane rendering | Courtesy Metro

EAGLE ROCK — Metro is studying the creation of a rapid bus line between North Hollywood and Pasadena, and many in Eagle Rock want that bus to zip down Colorado Boulevard. That bus line could help support neighborhood businesses and provide quicker connections to the Gold Line train and Red Line subway, maybe even Burbank Airport. But, it could also mean that motorists on Colorado would have to squeeze into only a single lane in each direction.

The transit agency is currently looking at two preferred routes for the North Hollywood-Pasadena rapid bus line: one would take buses primarily down the 134 Freeway, the other would travel primarily on surface streets, including Colorado, on a dedicated bus lane.

A technical study showed that the surface street route would have much more daily ridership — 18,000 passengers – compared to a freeway bus route — 10,300 passengers — by 2035.  But a surface street route bus route be about 20 minutes slower than a freeway version and construction costs would be about double.

Proposed major stops | Metro

The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council has weighed in on the subject, voting in favor of a Bus Rapid Transit or BRT  line on Colorado instead of one that bypasses the neighborhood on the 134 Freeway. A letter from council president Lisa Kable Blanchard to Metro says:

“High quality rapid transit is very important to the businesses of Eagle Rock. It allows our employees and patrons to easily access our small businesses and promotes connections to other commercial areas …. The proposed BRT route down Colorado Boulevard would be a huge boon to our community by providing this sorely needed service. Having the BRT alignment run along the 134 freeway would totally cut off service to Eagle Rock and would do a major disservice to our community.”

That new rapid bus could take advantage of a bus-only lane on Colorado, a rendering of which is included in the Metro technical report. But a dedicated bus lane would leave only a single lane for motor vehicles in each direction on Colorado.  The conversion of a traffic lane to a bike-only lane on Colorado in 2013 triggered a large amount of opposition and controversy.

A statement issued by Metro’s Bus Rapid Transit Team to The Eastsider said that while a bus-only lane could end up on Colorado, no final decision has been made:

“The exact BRT concept would need to be flushed out further in the next phase of environmental review. It is during this next phase that any potential impacts from any proposed BRT concept, including impacts on traffic and parking, would be further studied and the public provided plenty of opportunity to comment. Based on the input received during the environmental review process, it could change significantly.”

Metro staff is expected to make a recommendation to the agency’s board this spring. The North Hollywood-Pasadena rapid bus line could open as soon as 2022.

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39 comments

  1. Oh that will work out well especially around the mall and Trader Joes where people lose their minds trying to figure out how to park.

  2. Is it the mission of the city of L.A. and the powerful Bike Lobby to make the streets completely unfriendly to car travel by eliminating every two lane street in the city?
    Of course that is the plan isn’t it obvious?

    • And the next time you show a artist rendering of the plan, show no bikes in the bike lane, no bus in the bus lane and a mile long line of cars in the one and only car lane…. Just to be accurate!

  3. Taking out the median would probably provide room for bus lanes.

  4. How about putting a train line along that median? Oh right, we had that once.

  5. Three lanes to teo lanes to one lane for residents. Kidt tp connect Pasadena and Glendale. Thats what we have the freeeay for. Get on at Holly and off at Figueroa. DONT TOUCH THE.MEDIUM OR OUR TREES.

  6. Whose says we “welcome” this destruction of Eagle Rpck.

  7. This is not for the businesses in Eagle Rock. Thats a lie. Its about connecting Pasadena and Glendale at the codt of destroying Eagle Rock.

    • If it’s about connecting Pasadena and Glendale then they will just choose the freeway option and Eagle Rock won’t be impacted.

    • Yup, that’s Metro’s plan, to destroy Eagle Rock. Once the bus lanes are in place, they’ll be handing out live grenades at all of the stops so passengers can lob them into storefronts and passing motorists.

  8. How much faster would a dedicated lane be for this kind of limited stop route compared to the busses just going in regular mixed traffic? They still have to stop for lights. Would the bus have to pull off to the right, across traffic, for people to get on and off? This doesn’t seem to be a good benefit balance … and i love public transit and bike lanes!

    • This is an interesting question. Remember that LA has a very complex system for computer control of stoplights, so that would naturally be used to give priority to an express bus. For example, from http://www.citylab.com/commute/2012/02/oz-los-angeles-traffic-lights/1145/ :

      “Over time the system has evolved to incorporate a variety of travel modes. In the early 1990s, after the city’s light rail line opened, engineers recognized that even a simple three-car train stopped at a red light blocked an entire stream of car traffic. So ATSAC [the traffic control system] is adjusted to hold a green signal long enough for trains to pass. Today ATSAC uses this same principle of transit signal priority to facilitate Orange Line bus rapid transit, which has a dedicated busway but occasionally crosses mixed traffic lanes.”

  9. EVERYONE PANIC — we’re planning for the future!

    Cars are not the future. Walkable neighborhoods are.

    This is great news — and let’s be extremely clear the is NO TRAFFIC in eagle rock. I live there, I drive the streets at all hours of the day, having to wait at a traffic light because it’s a red light, does not equal traffic.

    Pretty much every other neighborhood in LA has WAY WORSE traffic issues.

  10. Eastsider – Pat Niessen; ERNC District 1 – I ask that you edit your article to represent what was actually presented at the public meetings. The image that you show is only a mock up, and, as was discussed at the meeting, not in any way representative of a final plan. By stating: ” a dedicated bus lane would leave only a single lane for motor vehicles in each direction on Colorado” is misleading and will lead to prejudgment by uninformed people, before an actual plan is presented. Just look at the comments already. If you need more sources for accurate information, please let me know. Transparency is HUGE in these public works. Thank you for your time.

    • Hello, Pat. We did present the rendering to Metro officials to confirm whether a bus-only lane was on the table. They did confirm that as a possibility. The story also does state that no final decision has been made. It’s important that residents know what the outcomes could be before a final decision is made. We will certainly follow up with other stories and seek out your views.

    • Pat, Eagle Rock is already a walkable neighborhood. There are thousands of homes on adjacent streets and folks walk to businesses on Colorado all the time. Making Colorado more congested will only drive car traffic onto side streets and Yosemite. What is the point of a rapid transit bus line THROUGH Eagle Rock? Put it on the freeway. IMO residents do not want more congestion on our streets.

  11. I live in ER near Colorado. I am really looking forward to seeing the plans Metro puts on the table. I think the idea has some potential for transforming ER in a really positive way.

    The elimination of one vehicle lane (3 down to 2 each way, a couple of years ago) was greeted with consternation in parts of the community. Honestly, it became fodder for the most reactionary of community “leaders,” including the local newsletter, and some old fashioned business owners.

    But it seems clear that this change has been a big win for ER! And also, clear that the traffic models used by LADOT were accurate in their predictions of very little change in travel time.

    This is why I’m looking forward to seeing some plans developed. It would be a big opportunity to have connections to the Gold Line and elsewhere.

  12. Have those idiots seen how single lane driving has impacted Highland Park? What used to be a breeze has become a traffic nightmare.

    • Are you measuring this solely on how quickly you can drive through highland park? Try expanding your perspective: how has it impacted businesses? Children walking to school? Residents who live near these streets? People visiting? Transit users?
      You may find there isn’t one answer to rule them all.

  13. They introduced these single lane roads with dedicated bus paths in San Francisco and it actually improved traffic a bit. Cars drive terrible around buses here in LA. I see them weaving in and around when the buses are stopping or trying to get up to speed, it’s awful. However, with that said, Eagle Rock is pretty lame as is and if current residents don’t want this, please bring it to the vastly superior neighborhood of Echo Park so we can improve a place that people actually want to go to.

    • Here here, take it to Echo Park. Sunset would be a great candidate for this.

      Truly, only a small stretch of Colorado has anything of interest, and most of it shuts down early. How many auto body shops are there still on Colorado? How many folks are gonna take the bus to MilkFarm, Four Cafe, Oinkster who can’t already walk of bike? How many people actually use the bike lanes instead of a car? Eagle Rock is no Old Town or Americana. This is a solution in search of a problem.

    • Agree. Eagle Rock is totally lame… except for MilkFarm, Oinkster, Little Beast. ER Public House, Red Herring, Ciasa Bianca, ER Italian Deli, Malbec Market, Swork, Modan, Cafe Beaujolais, Cacao, Colorado Wine Company, Turning Fire, Spire Works, Sprouts, etc. etc. etc. So Lame!

      • exactly. and of course Acorn, Peekaboo Playland, Artistic Athletics, Camillo’s, the cool old school hardware stores, the great schools, Loft, Pie place, Cindy’s, Center for the Arts, Read Books, Groove, Toros Pottery, Spitz, Kumquat and more still.

        As well, the 20,000 or so people who live here, and all the Oxy students and staff might enjoy using the bus to get to other places in LA. you know, like people often do.

        • Yes! Just like the 20,000 or so folks using the bike lanes. Drive from ER to Beverly Hills yesterday entirely on surface streets and encountered exactly three cyclists, two of which were geared up exercise. Three. Regularly see none on Colorado, Rowena, ER Blvd. Where are all the damn cyclists who were clamoring for these bike lanes? Again, a solution in search of a problem.

          • Perhaps they are on safer-seeming roads.

            By the way, have you ever heard someone make the argument, “sure is cold today – see, I told you climate change wasn’t real”? And did you understand that they were mistaking “weather” for “climate”? Well, you’re making a similar mistake in your logic. you checked the weather on your drive yesterday and applied your findings to the overall climate.

            A disproportionate amount of vehicle-injuries (based on usage) are incurred by pedestrians and bicyclists. This indicates that infrastructure that enables the swift movement of vehicles has a tendency to hinder the safe movement of others. A bike lane is not ONLY about providing a dedicated lane for those on bikes; it’s also about forcing drivers to slow down (it’s also about a lot of other things). If your only relationship with a street is as a path to traverse from point A to point B, you may not recognize the needs of other users.

          • Good points, I would add that the lax enforcement of existing traffic laws exacerbates these issues. Can you imagine what our streets would be like if traffic laws were enforced as vigorously as parking meters/restrictions?

            I am merely commenting on what many others have recognized: the dearth of cyclists using the bikes lanes. When thousands of drives are bottlenecked (see Rowena) for the existence of rarely used bike lanes I feel the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction.

            p.s. I walk quite a bit in my neighborhood every day and actually stop at every stop sign.

  14. Who do we need to fire for coming up with this stupid plan?

  15. As a younger resident of Los Angeles, I embrace and look forward to the improved transit network in this city. As previously stated, CARS ARE NOT THE FUTURE. People are the future. Our city has been crippled by car dependency, a social engineering experiment that has lasted some 60 years and FAILED. We must not continue to plan our city around autos but around HUMANS.

  16. James, u r not a younger resident. Think u r being called a hipster. Don’t know where u come up with cars r not the future. Glad u don’t drive, one less moron on Colorado Blvd
    U should go and play in the sand box with the other kids at eagle rock city council.
    U got ur bike lanes, which should require that all bikes regerister and have insurance. That would bring in money.
    And if course obey all the laws

    • Peters u make good point
      and if course, ur idea 2 registerer bike make much sense
      They damage road and injure people in high number
      just like car
      too bad this article about buses lane not bike
      maybe u should read b4 comment

  17. Another Eagle Rock resident here adding my voice in favor of alternative transportation options like walking, buses, bikes and trains in our neighborhood. Safety for all street users should be prioritized over traffic speed where reasonable. This particular plan may or may not be the best one, but the overall trend away from car monoculture is the right direction.

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