Scoping meetings for NoHo to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit project begin July 9

Metro invites the public to attend a series of scoping meetings on the North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project.

As Metro works to expand and improve the bus and rail network in Los Angeles County, this is one of three new BRT projects the agency is currently studying.

They are all a part of our effort to build a vastly improved transit network across L.A. County and create a bus system that better serves existing riders and attracts new riders. We think that speeding up buses is a smart — and relatively affordable way — to improve mobility in our region.

This 18-mile project aims to build a high-quality bus line that will connect the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys, traveling east-west between the North Hollywood Station and Pasadena City College with stops in downtown Burbank and Glendale. In April, Metro’s Board of Directors approved advancing a mostly street-running route with some variations for more study as part of the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).

The project home page on metro.net has a ton of pertinent info on the project.

The scoping meetings will be held in North Hollywood, Pasadena, Eagle Rock, Burbank and Glendale, and are designed to give the community a chance to weigh in on environmental issues, route options, mitigation measures and any other issue that they think should be addressed in the DEIR. The Metro Board will ultimately have to certify a Final Environmental Impact Report before construction begins, which is scheduled for 2022. 

Content will be the same at all five scoping meetings:

North Hollywood
Tuesday, July 9, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Lankershim Arts Center
5108 Lankershim Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA, 91601

Pasadena
Wednesday, July 10, 6-8 p.m.
Pasadena Senior Center
85 E. Holly St.
Pasadena, CA 91103

Eagle Rock
Saturday, July 13, 1-3 p.m.
Eagle Rock Plaza
2700 Colorado Blvd., Suite 236
Los Angeles, CA 90041

Burbank
Monday, July 15, 6-8 p.m.
Buena Vista Branch Library
300 N. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91505

Glendale
Wednesday, July 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Glendale Downtown Central Library
222 E. Harvard St.
Glendale, CA 91205

Metro staff identified the street-running route as the most promising because it had the most public support and is easiest to reach from jobs, housing and other destinations. This route is also projected to attract the most riders (up to an estimated 30,000 daily boardings) and help boost the development of transit-oriented communities.

A few other key facts about the project:

•For those who want to take a deeper dive, here is the project’s Alternatives Analysis that looks at the project area and the many different routing options that were studied. 

•BRT is a bus service that provides faster and more reliable, equitable and convenient service. BRT features may include fewer stops, frequent service, dedicated bus lanes, high-quality stations with amenities, transit signal priority, all-door boarding, off-bus fare payment and more prominent branding.

•This project is being designed to provide 30 percent faster bus speeds, more frequent buses and options for transit to bypass congestion through the use of dedicated bus lanes. These are all goals in Metro’s Vision 2028 Plan, which calls for high-quality mobility options that cut travel times and enhance communities and lives through mobility and access to opportunity.

• One benefit of bus lanes, by the way, is that moving buses to their own lane gets them out of the way of traffic in the other lanes. Here is a recent vide and post about a bus lane that Metro and the city of Los Angeles are testing on Flower Street in downtown L.A. 

• Point of emphasis: Metro can’t unilaterally install bus lanes. The streets are overseen by the cities where they’re located. That means that Metro has to work with cities, residents, businesses and other stakeholders to make a bus lane happen and to mitigate any impacts.  

•The project is intended to be a key connection between the San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley — a very heavily traveled corridor served only by Metro’s Line 501 between Old Pasadena and North Hollywood. The 501 operates primarily along the SR 134 freeway.

•End-to-end running times for the street-running route are estimated to be about 65 minutes. It’s worth noting that Metro found that the majority of trips entering the area served by this project are headed to destinations within that area. Only about one third of the trips are going through the entire project area from one end to the other.

•The estimated cost of the street-running alternative is $271 million to $429 million. The cost will depend on the final project design. In addition to Measure M funding, this project will receive funding from the Senate Bill 1 gas tax and vehicle fees that became law in 2017.

•The goal is to begin project construction in summer 2022 and open the project in summer 2024.

11 replies

  1. “Only about one third of the trips are going through the entire project area from one end to the other.“

    Am I the only one that thinks that at least 2 levels of service should still be served on this corridor (Rapid and Express)?? Like 33% going end to end is still quite a number.

    Also, I really don’t wanna hear it from Eagle Rock, as they are the reason why this is going to be a street running section, now people there (though a small amount) are complaining about how this should be freeway running instead??

  2. Is there any chance of the NoHo to Pasadena BRT line becoming an extension of the Orange Line instead of them being two separate lines?

    • Hi Ezra;

      I think it’s very unlikely at this time. The Orange Line is seen as its own corridor and efforts are underway to run electric-only buses on it it — meaning that corridor will need some specific infrastructure. Metro does want to electrify its entire bus fleet by 2030 but I think these will likely remain separate routes. In terms of operations, having a route from Chatsworth to Pasadena also becomes unwieldy in terms of having buses and bus operators very far from bus yards.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Thanks for the reply, Steve. What about when the Orange Line is converted to rail? Is there a possibility that the NoHo to Pasadena BRT could also be converted to rail with it and they are connected?

    • Hi J.T.,

      It’s pretty different. The 501 mostly sticks to the 134 whereas this project sticks to the surface streets. The idea with this project is to get it closer to more homes, jobs and other destinations. It’s not as fast end-to-end because of that — but I think ultimately would serve a lot more people. As someone who lives in Pasadena and works in DTLA, I don’t really need a bus to NoHo, but a better bus to Eagle Rock, Glendale and downtown Burbank would be useful. I don’t make a ton of trips to those areas, but it would be nice to have a good transit option when I do.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. Does this mean Line 501 would be discounted as soon as this project opens up? Would be a shame as there are not many express routes remaining.

    • Hi Victor;

      We have a plan in the works to restructure our bus system (it’s called the NextGen Bus Study) and new proposed routes are due to be released later this year. That will look at the bus system as a whole and make recommendations whereas this project is still a few years from completion.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. Is there any part of this plan that would effect late night (after 10 p.m.) transit between Pasadena and Sylmar?

    • Hi John;

      Hours of operation for this line have yet to be determined. The NextGen bus restructuring — with route proposals to be released later this year — may also impact this. It’s worth noting that Metro’s two other bus rapid transit lines — the Orange Line and Silver Line — both operate around-the-clock.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. This service needs to operate IN ADDITION to the 501. Not instead of it. The 501 can continue to serve the regional market (albeit hopefully with better service frequency on weekends and and later running hours on both weekends and weekdays). And this new bus line can serve the local market, evidenced by its whopping 65 minute end to end travel time. Still though, metro needs to push as hard as it can with the cities to have bus lanes along as much of this new route as possible. Hands down. Then hopefully that 65 minute travel time can be reduced to something a bit more sane, even for a more local route. Both routes need to have at least 5 am – midnight service 7 days a week. The 501 should also have better frequencies on weekends. The current 45 minute interval is more time than it takes to actually drive between NoHo and Pasadena, even with traffic. Just run it like you run any other key metro line. It literally takes longer to wait for this bus on weekends than it often takes to ride the entire route.