Diagram for Route 2 “Hybrid” Option Unveiled Before Tomorrow’s Metro Vote

12_8_09_route_2.jpgThe "hybrid" option, revealed. For a large version of this file, click here.

Ten years ago, when the Route 2 Terminus Project was first conceived, it had some progressive goals.  Among them was the goal of slowing down traffic on the Route 2 flyover that dumps traffic on Glendale Boulevard so that pedestrians on Glendale Boulevard would be better able to use the street in a safe manner.  Until earlier this summer Metro, the lead agency on the project, and the Echo Park Community were working together on the project.  However, once Metro’s partner agencies got involved, the partnership turned sour and the Echo Park Community Action Committee is now saying that it might be better to return the funds for the project rather than go forward. 

Things have gotten so bad that the community is complaining it has yet to see a diagram of the project, even though the Metro Board is set to approve it on its consent agenda, tomorrow.  After Streetsblog contacted Metro, the above diagram was emailed a couple of hours later.

Earlier this year it appeared that the community was going to get all that it wanted, a project that increased open space, create a community plaza and park and increase bike access to both routes.  Metro verbally agreed to the plan, known as Alternative D in the environmental documents, and took the plan to its partners.  One of those partners was LADOT which didn’t like the alternative because it didn’t increase the ability to move more cars from Route 2 to Glendale Boulevard. Thus the hybrid concept was born.  This plan, first discussed with the community at a meeting this fall, but never studied as a stand-alone in any environmental study or public hearing, was rushed to the Metro Board to become the "Locally Preferred Alternative" for the project.  For a full discussion of the history and planning behind Alternative D, click here.

In its most recent newsletter, the Echo Park CAC complains that a diagram of the alternative hadn’t been released to the community and that many of the proposed improvements would actually make matters worse.  For example, they’re concerned the "barrier walls" will reduce the "open space" from Alternative D’s park-sized area to a homeless-encampment sized parcel of land in the hybrid.  Instead of a playground for their children, the walls could create a playground for taggers, harming the aesthetics, home values and safety of the community.

For their part, Metro contends that many of the things the community wished to see in Alternative D are still possible.  However, if the discussion of bus shelters, bike lanes, and traffic calming don’t appear as part of the alternative, the community frets that it wouldn’t be paid for with the $18 million that is already set aside for the project.

Meanwhile, 75% of the comments Metro has received supported "Alternative D."  It would be nice if the Metro Board were to consider the opinions of the locals when considering what should be the "Locally Preferred Alternative," but with two stakeholders, LADOT and Caltrans, who see their goal to expand and extend our traffic sewers, the deck may have been stacked against the community from the beginning.