UPDATE, APRIL 29: The Metro Board of Directors unanimously approved the route and final study at their meeting on April 28. Metro will continue to work with stakeholders and cities to address issues raised. The original Source post with project details is below — it was first posted on April 13.
The original Source post:
One of the missing links in our transit system has been a good connection between the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys that hits key destinations and is easy accessed by neighborhoods.
There is good news on this front. The route and the final environmental study for a new 19-mile rapid bus line between North Hollywood and Pasadena will be considered by the Metro Board of Directors this month (project homepage is here). The project is known formally as the North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Project and has $317 million in funding from Measure M — the sales tax approved by L.A. County voters in 2016 — and State Bill 1.
Approval of the route and the study are a big step toward getting the project built. Once action is taken by the Board, Metro can begin securing construction permits from cities along the route and move the project into its final design phase. The goal is to open the project in 2024.
A map of the proposed route is above. The project includes approximately 11.3 miles of dedicated bus lanes and would run mostly on local streets between the B (Red) Line station in NoHo and Pasadena City College. Key stations are located in the Burbank Media District, downtown Burbank, downtown Glendale, the Eagle Rock business corridor along Colorado Boulevard and Old Pasadena — where there is a connection to the L (Gold) Line.
Unlike Metro’s existing 501 Bus that runs much of its route on the 134 freeway, this new line would travel mostly in neighborhoods and be easier for riders to reach. With the project, travel times would drop 30 to 40 percent over existing bus service in the corridor. For example, from downtown Glendale it would only take 30 minutes to travel to PCC — 18 minutes faster than trips today.
To be clear: this is a challenging project (see below for more about two segments in particular). Metro currently runs two bus rapid transit lines — i.e. bus lines designed to be quicker — but they both mostly have their own right-of-way. The G (Orange) Line in the San Fernando Valley runs on its own busway built atop an old rail line, whereas the J (Silver) Line between El Monte and San Pedro mostly uses the ExpressLanes on the 10 and 110 freeways.
This project is our first bus rapid transit line that would use mostly local streets. That’s why Metro has been working with local cities and residents to determine where bus lanes are appropriate — and how to minimize traffic and parking impacts.
The detailed map below shows the different segments of the route, while the charts explain the differences between the segments.
The graphics below show the difference between the different configurations.
In particular, there are two parts of the route that have provoked the most public debate.
The first is a 1.3-mile segment along Olive Avenue in Burbank. In this segment, the road would be reconfigured. The number of general traffic lanes would be reduced from two to one in each direction to accommodate a side-running bus lane. The top renderings shows what Olive looks like now and the bottom rendering after the project is built:
Other key points about this segment:
•Olive would not be widened for the project.
•All 299 of the existing parking spaces will be preserved on Olive between Buena Vista and Lake.
•Cars can use the bus lane for right turns and to access driveways and the parking lane.
•Sidewalks will remain as they are.
•Traffic studies show that travel times on Olive for motorists would be that some car traffic would use other major streets instead of Olive. However, the same studies show that very few cars would divert to neighborhood streets — because those streets don’t save time.
Another segment that has seen a robust public discussion is the segment on Colorado Boulevard through Eagle Rock between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Linda Rosa Avenue near the SR-134 slip ramps.
In this segment, Colorado would be reduced from two to one general traffic lane in each direction. The bus lanes would be next to the medians in the center of the road — and those medians would be preserved and expanded.
The top rendering shows what Colorado Boulevard looks like now and the bottom shows what it would look like with the one travel lane option:
Some key points about this segment:
•About 198 of the existing 319 parking spaces on Colorado Boulevard would be preserved. The existing 763 spaces on side streets would also remain.
•Most left-turn lanes at traffic signals would remain — and two additional traffic signals would be added for left turns at Eagle Vista Drive and Hermosa Avenue. Some left turn lanes would be lengthened to accommodate more vehicles. A few left-turns at smaller intersections would be eliminated for safety reasons.
•Metro’s Business Solutions Center would be used to help small businesses in Eagle Rock during construction of the project.
•Traffic analysis shows there would be additional congestion on both ends of this segment — where the two general traffic lanes merge into one lane. However, Metro’s studies also found that about 20 percent of the traffic on Colorado would divert to the 134 and/or 2 freeways, resulting in a reduction in the overall number of vehicles on Colorado.
•Studies also showed few vehicles would divert to neighborhood streets. The reason: these streets are slower and less direct than staying on Colorado, even with the reduction of travel lanes.
•Emergency vehicles would be allowed to use the bus lanes, which could result in quicker response times.
The item will be heard at the Planning and Programming Committee meeting on Wednesday, April 20, starting at 10:30 a.m. — listen/watch the livestream here. The full Metro Board is scheduled to hear this item on Thursday, April 28, starting at 10:00 a.m. — listen/watch here.
Here are a few other other renderings of the project: