NoHo-Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit Project Faces Misleading Eagle Rock NIMBYs

Metro is refining plans for Bus Rapid Transit between Pasadena and North Hollywood - image via Metro report
Metro is refining plans for Bus Rapid Transit between Pasadena and North Hollywood - image via Metro report

Metro is planning a new Bus Rapid Transit line from North Hollywood to Pasadena. The project is currently in early design stages, with a series of community input hearings underway this week. Already xenophobic privileged NIMBYs are attacking the project, spreading lies, and belittling transit supporters. The L.A. City neighborhood of Eagle Rock is ground zero for the vitriolic anti-bus campaign.

Metro’s North Hollywood to Pasadena Transit Corridor project has $267 million in funding, all from Measure M, which specifies a 2020 groundbreaking and a 2022-2024 opening. The BRT line is planned to extend along streets in the cities of Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, and Los Angeles.

NoHo-Pasadena BRT preferred street-running alternative
NoHo-Pasadena BRT preferred street-running alternative

Metro has not yet determined what features will be included in the project. Per Metro’s 2013 BRT analysis, some features being considered include:

  • peak period bus-only lanes for 2-9 miles
  • transit signal priority
  • selective street repaving and re-striping
  • signage
  • enhanced stations and streetscape improvements
  • all‐door boarding
  • freeway shoulder-running bus lanes and/or queue jump lanes on freeway on-/off-ramps

Metro is currently in the middle of a 45-day Environmental Impact Report (EIR) scoping period, during which the agency is actively seeking public comments – due by July 31. Metro is hosting five public input meetings (upcoming schedule at bottom of post). Earlier this week, Metro held input meetings in North Hollywood and Pasadena.

On Tuesday in North Hollywood, public comment was predominantly in favor of BRT. Supporters spoke of high-quality transit, dedicated lanes, opportunities for housing, and climate goals. A minority of naysayers expressed concerns that BRT would bring “the wrong people” and “litter” to Valley communities, including to the “sweet little village” of Toluca Lake.

Metro’s second input meeting took place last night in Pasadena. The meeting was covered on Twitter and at CBS. Public comment was again a majority in favor of BRT. Proponents stressed transit would improve commutes, while opponents asserted that it would “disrupt the character” of neighborhoods, especially in Eagle Rock.

Eagle Rock has become ground zero for a disruptive NIMBY backlash against the planned BRT.

Some of the backlash was in evidence last month, when BRT opponents shouted down Metro staff attempting to present BRT information at an Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council committee meeting.

A handful of anonymous “local residents and business owners” recently launched an Eagle Rock 411 website/campaign, claiming that the BRT project is “throwing Colorado Boulevard under the bus” and will “devastate… local businesses and severely increase traffic in [sic] residential side streets” as well as trigger upzoning, putting “high-density housing… six stories tall along Colorado Boulevard on the fast track.” These BRT opponents assert that the project will remove “street parking, car lanes, grassy medians,” though Metro is still studying the project and has not yet determined whether any of these possibilities will be included in the final design.

Eagle Rock 411 spouts Orwellian language while claiming to promote a “#betterBRT.” Instead of opposing BRT that serves central Eagle Rock, they rally to “Support Mass Public Transit on the 134 Freeway.” (Metro studied and ruled out that alignment, citing lower ridership and poor reliability on the congested freeway.)

ER411 also urges, “Keep our town moving,” echoing Westside traffic safety foes Keep L.A. Moving and its many copycat spawn (of which ER411 may be one). Keep L.A. Moving’s John Russo commented on ER411’s petition and ER411’s website resembles other Keep Moving cookie-cutter websites.

The ER411 website implies that that Colorado Boulevard BRT will not serve low-income/disadvantaged communities.

Screenshot from ER411 FAQ
Screenshot from ER411 FAQ

The website erroneously suggests that the income of transit riders would be reflected in home prices for the areas the transit goes through. This is wrong anywhere, but it is especially misleading in a community in which nearly half are renters (49.4 percent of households in the main Eagle Rock zip code 90041 are renters). And in cases like the number 2 bus line that carries students and service workers along Sunset Boulevard through Beverly Hills, bus service can be vital to the functioning of a community, even if its riders are non-residents. The average Metro bus rider makes less than $20,000 annually.

Realtor and Eagle Rock 411 spokesperson Cherryl Weaver showed her xenophobia by asserting, in a Facebook post, that BRT is an option for “3rd world countries.”

WeaverBRTscreenprint
Screenshot via Facebook

Another Eagle Rock businessperson opposing Colorado Boulevard BRT is Michael Nogueira, president of the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce. According to a post by the Boulevard Sentinel (a news publication that has shown bias against BRT), Nogueira was responsible for hanging an anti-BRT “Let’s Keep Our Town Moving” banner across Colorado Boulevard earlier this week.

Boulevard Sentinel Facebook post screenshot
Boulevard Sentinel Facebook post screenshot
Eagle Rock anti-BRT banner - with ER Chamber of Commerce logo
Eagle Rock anti-BRT banner – with ER Chamber of Commerce logo in lower left. Screenshot from ER411 website.

The banner was removed the same day, reportedly at the direction of staff of L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar. Streetsblog contacted Huizar’s office for confirmation of the event and clarification of city policy on allowing private groups to post political messages in the public right-of-way. Staff responded with a brief broad statement that Huizar “looks forward to hearing [community input on the BRT project] before taking an official position.”

One primary focus of Eagle Rock 411 is pressure on L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who is also a Metro boardmember. At last month’s Metro board meeting, during an item unrelated to BRT, Solis stated that she has been hearing BRT concerns from her constituents in Eagle Rock. She requested Metro staff schedule two additional outreach meetings for the project. Streetsblog contacted Solis’ office for a statement on the project, but did not receive one at press time. Though Solis has been supportive of the mobility needs of low-income bus riders, it appears that BRT opponents are pressing her not to support this project.

Given the one-sided media coverage at CBS and the Boulevard Sentinel, it may appear that the entire Eagle Rock community is opposing BRT.

This is not the case.

BRT supporters have been organizing under the banner of “BRT for Equity.”

Eagle Rock residents are campaigning for effective BRT. Image via Walk Eagle Rock Twitter
Eagle Rock residents are campaigning for effective BRT. Image via Walk Eagle Rock Twitter

Get involved in those efforts by emailing ‘equitableBRT(at)gmail.com’ and following @hippierunner and @walkeaglerock on Twitter. BRT for Equity created a pro-BRT petition in favor of “a More Sustainable Colorado Boulevard for Eagle Rock.” In addition to the petition, BRT supporters can see this earlier SBLA post for ways to weigh in.

Metro is hosting three more meetings on the NoHo-Pasadena BRT project (and most likely will hold additional meetings in response to Solis’ request). Upcoming meetings are scheduled for:

  • Eagle Rock: Saturday 7/13, 1-3 p.m. at Eagle Rock Plaza, 2700 Colorado Boulevard, Suite 236
  • Burbank: Monday 7/15, 6-8 p.m. at Buena Vista Branch Library, 300 N. Buena Vista Street
  • Glendale: Wednesday 7/17, 5:30–7:30 p.m. at Glendale Downtown Central Library, 222 E. Harvard Street

Sparks are likely to fly at this Saturday’s meeting in Eagle Rock. Plan to arrive early.

  • Gerhard W. Mayer

    Good article Joe – thx for focusing on this.

  • les_2

    This isn’t really a BRT. It’s more like one of Seattle’s Rapid Ride lines then a BRT. BRT only uses dedicated lanes, this line doesn’t have much of this. It says 2-9 miles, but by the time all is said and done the line will be lucky to have the low end of 2 miles.

  • cygp2p

    In the US, the term BRT doesn’t imply only dedicated lanes… although it is much better if it does.

  • Michael Escobar

    Man, I could have used this when I was living in Burbank and going to PCC. Or when I was living in Eagle Rock (Colorado & Eagle Rock) and working in Glendale (Brand Blvd near the 210). Seriously, commuting from Burbank to PCC was at least 90 minutes each way at rush hour, and when I had evening classes that ended at 9pm I was hosed.

  • Richard

    By those definitions technically LA’s Rapid buses are BRT. They are neither BRT nor are they rapid.

    It isn’t worth spending 300 million dollars if they aren’t going to have dedicated lanes.

  • cygp2p

    Feel free to start knocking on doors in Eagle Rock.

  • Slinge Master

    Ironic that you label people who oppose this Metro project “xenophobic privileged NIMBYs” and then suggest they are “belittling transit supporters.” Not sure if this is supposed to be an opinion piece or journalistic reporting, but either way, it would probably be more constructive to listen to the concerns of the many residents and business owners who oppose this plan than simply writing them off as fighters of progress.. Eagle Rock residents have a long history of progressive activism that has included bike lanes and a road diet, greening projects for beauty and air quality, adding protected crosswalks for safety, and favoring local independent business owners over corporate chain stores. I have actively supported all of these measures and more. However, adding a dedicated bus line will necessarily impact some or all of the following: a) parking for local businesses; b) medians with mature trees that add to the beauty and character of the community; c) bike lanes or d) sidewalks. It is also likely to snarl car traffic because of necessary changes to left-turn lanes and the removal of one of the two traffic lanes, which in turn could end up adding to air pollution on streets and around local schools. The biggest issue, however, is that Metro is not providing details about how any of these issues will be addressed , and asking people on both sides of the issue to weigh in without knowing what they are signing on for — or against.

  • Lorenzo Mutia

    Eagle Rock also campaigned against a Philippine Village designation some years ago despite a signifcant Filipino community there so…

  • humdinger

    “Eagle Rock residents have a long history of progressive activism that has included bike lanes and a road diet.”

    But not the residents who are opposed to this BRT. Many of these same people* actively campaigned against bike lanes on Colorado, because, ya know, people who ride bikes don’t buy anything, and reducing Colorado from a 3 lane basically-freeway would kill the businesses along the corridor. So they have a history of cluelessness, irrationality, and being wrong.

    *See the owners of Tritch/Boulevard Sentinel.

  • Slinge Master

    “cluelessness, irrationality, and being wrong.” Nothing like civil discourse to move an issue toward an amicable conclusion! At any rate, yes some folks opposed the bike lanes, but a lot of people who strongly supported them (including me) are not in favor of this. For one thing this is inevitably going to be much more disruptive, for pedestrians, businesses and bike riders. Let me end with a question — since there is no actual plan yet for the dedicated lane, if it turns out Metro wants to remove the bike lanes, would you be okay with that? I wouldn’t — but I’m also not okay with losing the medians with 75-year-old trees or parking for local business.

  • Slinge Master

    Oh, and by the way, Pasadena is not allowing the BRT on Colorado — they have opted for the 134 option. And Glendale is on the fence so far. So this is not a case of Eagle Rock being some regressive backwater. We are a less affluent, more ethnically diverse community than either of those cities. And we are part of Los Angeles city, so Metro was planning to just muscle this project through despite the objections of many residents. And it’s a LOT of residents. At Saturday’s Metro scoping meeting, a local businessperson unrolled a scroll with 1,000 signatures. I think Superintendent Solis and the Metro board are beginning to realize they can’t just steamroll through this active and eclectic neighborhood.

  • PDiddy

    The authors here don’t have to label their articles whether it’s op-ed or not. This isn’t the New York Times. This is a website strictly dedicated to public transit, walkable cities, cycling and other forms of transportation. But rest assured, the science and research is way better than the hack centrist newspaper you are used to reading.

    We’ve all heard these arguments before. It’s a selfish one. They want the most unimpeded amount of road space to get from point A to point B. It has no bearing on what the most economical, egalitarian or efficient use of space usage is. They just want an easy commute in their private car.

    And I call BS that you are an advocate that has championed “equitable streets” in the past. If you were a true advocate, you’d be for the project, instead of arguing against it. You are a liar; pretending to be progressive to curry favor and parade yourself as a reasonable “devil’s advocate”. Instead you’re the very NIMBY that this site was built to rally against.

  • PDiddy

    So some sleazy business man collects 1000 signatures and somehow that demonstrates…what exactly? That he found 1000 uninformed morons?

    I want you to ask yourself honestly. What are some of the most desirable tourist spots in the world? European cities. Dense, highly walkable cities with public transit and grand architecture. Cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Madrid.

    When tourists visit LA, they go to the beach, Hollywood and Disney Land and they’re shuttled by a tour bus to these locations. It’s like an airplane ride, it’s a completely artificial way of exploring a new and unknown place.

    There is no adventure for a tourist in LA because nobody can walk it. The streets have been given to the cars so the entire landscape is alien, unappealing and downright scary.

    This BRT project is just one step to try and fix that. One step to fix 70 years of car centric policy that has destroyed this metro.

    LA by now should’ve been like New York City. But it’s a joke. Instead it is Los Angeles: The City of Cars. No humans or real culture allowed.

  • PDiddy

    No. A car lane must be re-appropriated to build out BRT. The bicycle lane must be untouched.

  • Slinge Master

    Translation: I’m for this project as long as it doesn’t affect something I care about. Isn’t that the definition of NIMBY?

  • PDiddy

    No. That’s the definition of fairness. 1 car lane, 1 bus lane, 1 cycle lane. Everyone has a lane.

  • Slinge Master

    Well, I completely agree with you. This isn’t the New York Times. It’s hilarious that you think anyone who disagrees with you is a “liar” and trying to “curry favor.” I’m not parading myself as a “devil’s advocate,” I’m expressing an opinion that you don’t like, and the way you’ve chosen to rebut it is by attacking me personally without knowing anything about me.

  • PDiddy

    You’re a liar because you give two conflicting pieces of info. You cannot be for safe streets on one hand yet challenge a BRT line on the other hand. They are diametrically opposed viewpoints.

  • Slinge Master

    I agree with you on this. While I’m less concerned about tourists than I am about residents, I do think L.A. is overly dependent on cars and that is harmful to our culture as a city. But here’s the thing: When I moved to Eagle Rock, Colorado Blvd.(once part of Route 66) was dominated by car businesses, fast-moving through traffic and little else. Over the past 30 years, a group of Eagle Rock activists have worked to slowly but surely change that. They created a Specific Plan, which favors local independent businesses over corporate chains (and disallows new car businesses). Gradually little mom-and-pop shops and restaurants started flourishing. When I moved here, we worked with Northeast Trees to plant trees in the sidewalks and fought for protected crosswalks. Then came Take Back the Boulevard, which included the bike lanes and the road diet. That slowed the street by making it a less appealing driving alternative to the 134. If you come to Eagle Rock on a Saturday morning or a summer evening, you will see people walking and interacting — something that just did not exist when I moved here. In other words, “humans and real culture.” My concern, and a concern of the many many people you condescendingly dismiss as morons, is that the dramatic changes Metro is proposing will destroy this fragile ecosystem we’ve worked so hard to build. Maybe you disagree, or maybe you just don’t care, but simply saying that anyone who has these concerns is a “xenophobic privileged NIMBY” is neither helpful nor true.

  • PDiddy

    I don’t care about tourists either, but they are a useful metric to see if your city is desirable. And LA is a BIG joke as far as tourism is concerned.

    I don’t understand how you think running a BRT line will “destroy the ecosystem you’ve worked hard for” if anything it will enhance and strengthen it.

  • Slinge Master

    Well, clearly in your mind they are. But for many of the people who actually live here, they are not. We worry that a fast-moving, extra-large bus given traffic-light priority will make Colorado more dangerous, not safer. Similarly, we worry that the removal of the medians will make crossing Colorado more hazardous. Slow-moving pedestrians, like families with small kids and the elderly, often can’t make it all the way across the boulevard on one walk signal. Currently they can pause on the median and wait for the next one. These are just a few of the possible unintended consequences that are not being address by the vague BRT plan. It is extremely simplistic to suggest that anyone for safe streets cannot have concerns about this plan, and you seem smart enough to know that.

  • Slinge Master

    Why would you denigrate a person as “sleazy” just because he disagrees with you? Do you know something about the owner of this long-established print shop that I don’t? Or are you just casually assassinating his character?

  • PDiddy

    Stop saying disagree. Nobody fucking cares that you have an alternate viewpoint. Nobody is interested in you playing devil’s advocate here.

    We get it, you dislike transit. You probably hate bicycle lanes too.

    I’ve indulged you long enough, now go away.

  • PDiddy

    Oh god. You are an incredibly intellectually dishonest fucking person.

    A bus is more dangerous than thousands of selfish baby boomers clogging the streets? How so? This only holds true in your idealic world. In the real world, people are jerks. That means they drive as fast as they can, with no regard to anybody around them. That’s including all the businesses they zoom by and people walking and cycling around.

    Transit ridership forces you to look at the people in your community. You can’t ignore them like you would from the comforts of your car.

    But that’s really what you want, isn’t it? So you don’t have to mix with the unwashed masses. We’re not even saying you have to give up your car. Just that you do not deserve to have 2 lanes when public transit desperately needs one of those lanes. THATS IT.

    Anyhow. I’m done with you. Nobody on here is fooled by your centrist viewpoint.

  • Slinge Master

    LOL. I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but “centrist” is not one of them. In this case, however, it’s true that I see the merits of both sides of the argument. Apparently that infuriates you and reduces you to obscenities and personal attacks. It’s unfortunate, because you seem like a smart guy and I thought we could have a reasoned discussion, but that doesn’t seem to be your interest here. I will sign off as well. Stay safe on your bike dude.

  • John Paul

    Damn shame I missed this conversation a month ago. The definition of wtf are you doing …. this isnt how you plan a city with millions of people.. you want a bus lane to make traffic better? Yeah ok sure freaking stupid … why not just put in a train.. there were better alternatives… and you just jumped on this city project and said yay it’s a great idea. It comes down to this does the majority of eagle rock want this here… nope .. is it going in anyway … yes … are you on here trying to justify something that shouldn’t happen … yes. It’s simple your a soulless heathen that should take their opinion and shove along with the rest of the corrupt political scum here. You have shown that u agree with the money over Saftey theme that the rest of them have. You know when you want to change someone’s life against their will that’s called oppression I believe u should know something about that yes? And your doing it for a buck.

  • PDiddy

    Your comment is all over the place, but it SEEMS you are one of the boomer NIMBYs who’s against losing a lane to give to the BRT project.

  • John Paul

    Not a boomer but you can sign me up to be a nimby lol although I wouldn’t want that crap in anyone’s yard . When your best retort is nimby that’s a bad sign. And losing the lane isnt the problem the poor design the poor planning .. the increased transients and the lack of planning about how to take care of that … hmmmm you know pretty much every crappy part of this plan is what I’m against . Increased public transportation sure.. put in a train. Add more security… how about some mental health treatment for most of those transients .. how about we stop pretending that pile of stolen bikes was legitimately come across and start actually holding them accountable… stopped a dude from stealing pizza yesterday … transient says hes hungry … said he could get the slice if he told em he was sorry … nope some bleeding heart idiot decided to pay for it instead… but hey that’s the right message to send .. I’m not from here and I’m constantly seeing this .. wrong headedness that just perpetuated a problem … because why teach proper values .. why hold people accountable… why do things in a way that makes our society better. You want more busses for what ? Couldnt we just have more of those stupid scooters. Not a fan of them but it’s better than the brt. I’d rather have more bike lanes… btw there wasnt really enough bike riders to justify those . But hey … but theres bike lanes now why not utilize those … or better yet why send the brt down Colorado it’s pretty much the worst place you could put it.. theres way more reasons to oppose this than there are for. Not to mention most of the people who live there dont want it. I get it .. you dont care …. guess what I do . I care about myl family’s Saftey.. why should I subject my family to increased risk for your convenience. I shouldn’t have to . But somehow they decided to put this thing thru here whether anyone likes it or not . But you can belive when elections roll around we will be voting a diffrent way. Hopefully independent so someone might actually care about this place. You and other proponents of the brt havent had a valid reason for this thing it’s just a money grab

  • PDiddy

    the increased transients and the lack of planning about how to take care of that

    So you don’t care about poor people. Got it. Anyways, how do you know there is a lack of planning? Do you have a degree in city planning?

    Increased public transportation sure.. put in a train.

    Be honest. You would be against a train as well. Bus and BRT service are some of the most efficient use of money per service provided.

    I’d rather have more bike lanes… btw there wasnt really enough bike riders to justify those.

    Again you’re all over the place. You say you are for something, then you invalidate it. You don’t strike me as a person who’s opinion I or other should really listen to.

    why send the brt down Colorado it’s pretty much the worst place you could put it.

    Because it’s a major arterial road. It’s as simple as that.

    Not to mention most of the people who live there dont want it.

    Plenty of people want it. There’s just a lot of loud mouth old people with more time on their hands than they know what to do with who stick their nose into things they don’t understand.

    I care about myl family’s Saftey..

    So don’t use the BRT. This is rather simple. Don’t block transit because you’re a jerk who thinks the only way people should get around LA is by car.

    But somehow they decided to put this thing thru here whether anyone likes it or not.

    Yes. This is the way that the newer generation is wanting their cities to be built. They want transit. They want denser cities. They don’t want to have to own a car to access the city. If you are displeased with that, there are MANY other cities in California and USA which will accommodate your hate for transit disposition. I suggest you go there.

  • John Paul

    Why would I be against a train unless they were gonna shove it down Colorado… there isnt space for a bus lane or a train lane there. There is space near the 134 wich runs right freaking next to colorado . As for caring about poor people sure I do . Dont be trying to tell me all poor people are transients lol . Get outa here with your crap. And that’s just what your selling bs anyone with common sense can see you are. Lol you want to ask me how I know there was a lack of planning that’s simple .. I went to the most recent meeting and asked questions. There answers were we are still looking into that and doing a survey . Listen here research should have been first but their plans are already done . And dont you mean urban planning not city planning. ;) lol diddy and I do not. Wich I’ll guess you dont either. But you will find that most city projects are more concerned with the how to get it done more so than the where. Look man.. there going to put this in regardless it’s not a good idea

  • PDiddy

    Learn to use paragraphs.

  • John Paul

    Lol either your easily confused or stupid not sure wich . Invalidate what … nothing that’s what your best argument is that old people are trying to block things. I’m not old I just give a crap and even you cant be stupid enough to belive transients and criminals wich arent exactly separate from each other just stay on the buses. Your argument is utterly ridiculous. That’s the what the newer generation wants. Dont speak for me . And colorado is simply a road that isnt big enough. It’s a major road that’s right.. a road thats already been reduced in size for a bike lane wich I didnt oppose I think it should have both bike lanes on one side with cross over spots but still already reduced size. What your talking about is just saying hey you know what screw car drivers it’s all about us on public transport. I work two jobs you know what you can do with yourself. Obviously you dont care about family’s or children we can see that. That’s what it comes down to. Those with family’s and those without. Those who work hard and those that dont. Those who work to have a house and those who dont. When something is yours you take pride in it a little more . Wheres your pride…. guess it got lost on the bus. Theres nothing wrong with public transportation son . But theres something wrong with poor planning and telling people to just suck it up . Work for something guy then see what it’s like when so.eone els wants to poop on it

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