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.
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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