Editorial: Solis, Garcetti, Metro – Don’t Reward Eagle Rock BRT Bullies’ Trumpian Tantrum

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

There are some new developments in Metro’s planning process for the North Hollywood-to-Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit.

Readers unfamiliar with this planned project: see earlier SBLA coverage on the route, on the deceptive NIMBY backlash, and on last Saturday’s meeting in Eagle Rock. See also mainsteam media coverage at KPCC, CBS, LAist, and the L.A. TimesBurbank Leader.

This week:

Metro's planned NoHo-Pasadena BRT route
Metro’s planned NoHo-Pasadena BRT route

But that’s not what I want to editorialize about today.

What I want to do is to call on our elected leaders to not pander to the lying bullies attacking this project. Specifically, I want to urge L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, and the rest of the Metro board to show leadership, steer the input process to civility, and get this needed project built.

The Eagle Rock NIMBY backlash against BRT, a lot like its precedents at Fix the City and Keep L.A. Moving, has been positively Trumpian in its lies and hostility.

I can listen to honest Eagle Rock homeowner concerns – things like “I drive all the time, so I won’t support taking parking or travel lanes away for a bus project I personally don’t see myself using” or “my wealth is tied up in the home I own, so I am worried that this bus project could impact my property values” or even “I didn’t pay much attention to this project earlier because I didn’t think I would ride transit.”

In the face of these types of concerns, I think that there could be an honest negotiation process to plan a smart project that would balance concerns with benefits and craft a worthwhile project.

If I were king, there would be bus-only lanes all over – but in working democratic processes we make compromises. For example, on Wilshire, Metro Rapid bus service zooms on its own dedicated lane through much of the city, then slows considerably in Beverly Hills and in L.A. neighborhoods further west. Maybe dedicated bus lanes would be only be politically feasible for certain portions of the 18-mile Pasadena-to-North Hollywood route.

But it’s pretty much impossible to have any discussion in the flames of the scorched-earth campaign Eagle Rock 411 is inflicting on Eagle Rock.

Like Trump, Eagle Rock 411 folks push easily disprovable outright lies. “Metro did not reach out to Eagle Rock’s Chamber of Commerce,” they claimed. Except when they did, in 2016, and here are the receipts.

Their campaign statements are misleading. ER411’s petition says it wants to “Support Mass Public Transit on the 134 Freeway” and that ER411 does not “oppose BRT service for Eagle Rock.” They just want the buses to get away from their Colorado Boulevard. They want hellish freeway-adjacent BRT stations somewhere out of the way, in places where Eagle Rock residents can’t and won’t walk. (See Equitable Eagle Rock’s excellent page, BRT on the 134 is a Bad Idea.)

ER411’s hyperbole imagines that BRT has the power to generate six-story housing all along Colorado Boulevard, while simultaneously displacing low-income residents, whose existence they only acknowledge when it serves their NIMBY nativism.

Echoing Trump’s ridiculous racist call for heroic congresswomen to leave the U.S., on Saturday BRT foes shouted, “We’re not Glendale or Pasadena! Go live there if that’s what you want!” and “go back to Burbank!”

Well, Supervisor Solis and Mayor Garcetti – also Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, and Mayor Ara Najarian – please don’t pander to these bullies.

Don’t swallow their lies. Don’t reward their hostility and xenophobia.

You all showed great leadership in crafting a broad consensus in support of Measure M’s vision for a more balanced, more equitable transportation system that gives Angelenos more choices. That leadership is needed right now. Don’t let a handful of lying bullies take choices away from Eagle Rock.

  • 1976boy

    Thank you Joe. Standing up to the rabid right wing bullies is the only way.

  • Jason

    I get the overall point you’re making, but:

    I can listen to honest Eagle Rock homeowner concerns – things like “I
    drive all the time, so I won’t support taking parking or travel lanes
    away for a bus project I personally don’t see myself using” or “my
    wealth is tied up in the home I own, so I am worried that this bus
    project could impact my property values” or even “I didn’t pay much
    attention to this project earlier because I didn’t think I would ride
    transit.”

    I feel like even these sorts of superficially reasonable NIMBY arguments are extremely rarely presented in good faith. NIMBYs will throw anything they can think of at the wall and goalpost-shift like crazy to see what sticks. The only really notable thing here is how quickly this group goalpost-shifted into not even pretending to try to extend a bad-faith fig leaf to reality.

  • Danny

    “They want hellish freeway-adjacent BRT stations”

    Where did they get that idea? You mean the already constructed Green, Gold, and Silver Lines, and the soon to be constructed Sepulveda line. These lines are hard for commuters to access. Their station locations inside freeway medians contributes to a decline in ridership. So go ahead and try to blame Trump when California is a Democratic state that’s well known to have NIMBY residents. I’m sure those residents know what they want for themselves where they live instead of politicians living far away AND don’t use our poorly designed and constructed mass transit.

  • Danny

    Right wing is everything you disagree with. It means nothing when language is abused like this.

  • Matt

    Sepulveda Line will not run in the freeway.

  • Joe Linton
  • Bob 1401

    First – what turns me off is calling people LIARS and telling lies. This means you have no valid arguments.

    Why are the Eagle Rock “NIMBYs” against the BRT? The answer is simple, think about the bike lane where seeing a bike on it now is a rarity take a traveled lane away and create more of a backlash. The BRT will take a lane away that is either a parking lane or bring or a single travel lane in each direction. Parking is bad now and on the side streets.

    It is nice to use the term BRT, but in reality it is mostly a Metro Rapid Bus line like we see on Wilshire Blvd.

    The big falsity in planing is we look at gridlock, think about I-405 that is almost 24/7 gridlock for most of its length. But lets look at north and south of the Sepulveda Pass where this is the major road to the Westside and LAX from most of the West Valley. This is like an hour-glass with major gridlocks in the Westside and in SFV. Hence a line along I-405 would require large parking lots at major stations and transportation for low ridership lines from these transit hubs to the work place, shopping mall or school.

  • Joe Linton

    Yah – I agree with your first point – it really turns me off when the ER411 folks are “telling lies”

  • PDiddy

    Your argument that “nobody uses the bicycle lanes”. That’s because those bicycle lanes are designed improperly. Make them protected and connect them to a network of cycle lanes and wait a few years and you will see people use them.

    This is not an honest way of assessing if the infrastructure has value or not. The Netherlands did not all the sudden become a bicycle country, it took decades to dissuade people from car use and making bicycling safe and easier.

    I know why NIMBYs are against the BRT. They’re selfish. They want an easier commute. I understand that completely. Los Angeles County can no longer acquiesce to this type of selfishness. The sprawl has created a metro that is completely dependent on cars in almost every area. This project is trying to fix that in a small way, and yet you would not even have that.

    You like your car so much, move to Bakersfield or Fresno. You do not get to have this much of a voice in swaying policy because it would inconvenience you. STOP BEING LAZY, stop blocking progress. FFS, maybe it may actually increase the quality of your neighborhood and your own life when you become so old that you can’t even drive yourself anymore. If you can’t walk then at least allow a way for people who want to walk and take transit as a reasonable way of getting around.

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