Civility Breaks Out at Metro Eagle Rock BRT Meeting

Small group discussion at Metro's Eagle Rock BRT open house. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Small group discussion at Metro's Eagle Rock BRT open house. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Last night Metro hosted an open house meeting on the planned North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit project. The meeting took place at Samuelson Pavilion on the campus of Occidental College in Eagle Rock. The last time Metro hosted an Eagle Rock BRT meeting, disruptive nimbys shouted down project supporters and Metro staff.

Last night’s meeting was pretty civil.

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

Metro’s North Hollywood to Pasadena Transit Corridor project is a planned ~18-mile BRT anticipated to run mostly on streets in four cities – Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, and Los Angeles – with a short portion on the 134 Freeway. The project has $267 million in voter-approved Measure M funding. Many BRT features are under consideration, though Eagle Rock nimbys are fighting against a potential nine miles of dedicated bus-only lanes.

The earlier Eagle Rock BRT meeting featured speakers giving testimony in front of the entire gathering. This led to grandstanding, and plenty of anti-BRT folks muttering, booing, and hissing when Metro staff and BRT supporters were speaking.

Last night's Eagle Rock BRT meeting
Last night’s Eagle Rock BRT meeting

For last night’s meeting Metro changed the format to be an open house, with no public speaking to the crowd assembled. Participants were invited to discuss the project with Metro representatives, to collect stickers by checking in at various stations, and to provide input via written cards or comments spoken to a court recorder.

Small group discussion station at last night's meeting
Small group discussion station at last night’s meeting

Metro emailed out and posted meeting conduct rules stressing respectful behavior. These included:

  • Respect the format of the meeting and allow everyone an opportunity to speak with project planners and Metro staff
  • Listen respectfully, allow others to speak and do not interrupt them
  • Treat fellow community members, agency representatives, Metro staff, and others with respect both during and after the meeting

There were nearly a dozen uniformed Metro law enforcement officers at the entrance to the meeting as well as inside the rooms.

Metro CEO Phil Washington and board members Hilda Solis and Ara Najarian were in attendance. Early on, Metro Community Relations Director Jody Litvak made brief opening remarks. Several people in the crowd shouted hostility when Litvak announced that the project would make things better for bus riders. The crowd was not disruptive during brief remarks by Solis, Najarian, and State Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo. Solis emphasized her commitment to listening to the public’s concerns. She announced an additional Eagle Rock meeting that does not appear to have been scheduled yet.

Anti-BRT folks had threatened BRT supporters in advance of the meeting.

On Facebook, anti-BRT voices accused Eagle Rock resident and Equitable Eagle Rock co-founder Felicia Garcia of living in Lincoln Heights, a lower-income predominantly Latino and Asian neighborhood about four miles south of Eagle Rock. Eagle Rock is whiter (though racially mixed) and higher income than Lincoln Heights. The posts stated that they would try to get Garcia’s address and email if she shows up at a meeting.

At Tuesday night’s Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council meeting, Eagle Rock homeowner and BRT advocate Michael MacDonald received a notice that an anti-BRT person would be sending letters to the FBI, U.S. Attorney, journalists, Metro board, and others, requesting a “full blown investigation” of Metro staff, ERNC members, McDonald [sic], and others – regarding conflict of interest, untrue statements, and “more additional [sic] topics.” (SBLA will bring readers “more additional” information about the letter and investigation if and when they surface.)

Threat notice recieved by Michael MacDonald - via Twitter
Threat notice received by Michael MacDonald – via Twitter

On Tuesday, the ERNC approved two motions that push for BRT to best serve the Eagle Rock community.

At the front entrance to last night’s meeting, two anti-BRT persons were handing out a glossy new Keep L.A. Moving four-page anti-BRT brochure. The brochure is full of misleading, alarmist Keep L.A. Moving propaganda about Playa Del Rey, and claims that road diets make streets less safe, and that BRT will bankrupt businesses, worsen climate change, and restrict disaster evacuations.

It was difficult to gauge any overall tenor of the 200+ attendees, who appeared to be older and whiter than Eagle Rock itself. A few wore “No Metro” t-shirts and some carried anti-BRT signs reading “Keep median green! Save our trees!”

Sign at last night's Eagle Rock BRT meeting
Sign at last night’s Eagle Rock BRT meeting

Numerous attendees repeated spurious Keep L.A. Moving talking points. An elderly Eagle Rock resident expressed concern that BRT would remove all left turns on Colorado and said she was worried that she would no longer be able to turn left onto the 134 Freeway on-ramp. In small group discussions, Metro staff did a good job dispelling these bogus Keep L.A. Moving claims.

As he showed off the collection of stickered cards showing attendees had visited many or all stations, Metro spokesperson Brian Haas described the night as a big success.

Metro's Brian Haas shows off stickered participation cards
Metro’s Brian Haas shows off stickered participation cards

The deadline for submitting NoHo-Pasadena BRT scoping comments is August 15. See Metro project website for how to submit comments.

  • thanks for the heads up. Bus riders have to fight for everything, every time.

  • elson

    Look out, Michael McDonald…the feds are gonna do a full-blown investigation and get more additional information on you.

  • John Paul

    It’s like you guys live on the moon or something . I went to that meeting asked questions. And was given the most generic evasive answers a person could possibly get. Asked what will they do about the increased transient population that will come with this. I’m not sure if you know this but eagle rock actually has less transients than other places in LA . Anyway response given was that we have police and sheriff’s and undercovers …. I work in the security industry. Transients are basically the reason I have a job in LA .. I dont want a job in eagle rock. Saying oh I’m sooo sorry about your bike kid… I guess you shouldn’t have locked it up at the 7 eleven. And im soo sorry miss I guess you shouldn’t be out late at night jogging. Cops do the best job they are allowed to do. Why on earth would we say hey you know what let’s take are good crime rate in eagle rock and say screw it.. transients = higher crime rate it’s a fact. Your going to tell me ima nimby… ima look at you laugh .. and say your naive or dumb or hey maybe both. But hey let’s just day screw eagle rock so the rest of la can ride the bus better. I get it you guys want a faster bus ride. I want my nebiorhood to stay safe. Opposite sides . Not going to agree. I’m not originally from eagle rock. I’ve been in los angeles 6 years now. And it’s easy to see eagle rock is diffrent from the rest of this city. Why on earth you would want to wreck it to save a few minutes on your bus trip I’m not sure. But it’s clear to see you dont care about the people living here. Pretty much all forms of crime in eagle rock will rise. I’m betting that’s why they dont want them in their back yard though right
    .. but I guess you feel that since it’s not yet their problem why not share ?

  • QuestionQue

    Do you seriously believe that Bus Rapid Transit through Eagle Rock will bring transients from Burbank and Pasadena? That is the worst argument I have seen against BRT. What do you base this ridiculous prediction of increased transients in Eagle Rock on?

  • John Paul

    Sighs I currently work security in passadena as well as noho and down town and other areas of west hollywood, a little bit of a work aholic. Do you not look around while you are in passadena sir ? Just the other day transients attempted to rob a security guard in passadena. You implying transients only travel in one direct is rather insulting . You tried to imply there arent alot of transients in passadena. There are you just ignore them. Burbank has them as well you just arent noticing them due to I dunno I won’t call it ignorance. Maybe a lack of observation skills. Why will the brt bring more transients to eagle rock you ask .. that’s easy greater quicker access. Simply making it easier for bike thieves and transients to get around and spread out . It’s simple and really very very common sense. Do you not observe transients. Your asking eagle rock residents to volunteer for increased crime specifically loss Prevention at our stores. Bike thefts. Assaults.. batterys.. rapes. You know simple stuff like that … seriously head down and watch them for a day ..

  • John Paul

    Look at it this way my mere presence proves your wrong :) good but bad sir

  • QuestionQue

    Pasadena is held up worldwide as an example of how improved transportation and housing near retail can revitalize a run down central city. BRT links to Pasadena will spread the success to Eagle Rock and Burbank.

  • John Paul

    … success like the transient who was stealing outa the subway shop today and threatened people there yes ? …. or wait the revitalized passadena that when I visited here many times while I was in the military that was already super nice. And had less transients and crime. Hmmmm… so your telling me as long as the great place makes more money … it’s ok to increase crime rates and decrease saftey… yep solid plan. Your joking you have to be. Passadena has been nice longer than I’ve been alive. If anything its getting less nice if more profitable.

  • QuestionQue

    The Old Town Pasadena corner of Colorado and Raymond, where the city first started over a hundred years ago, in the early 1980s was a boarded up area of buildings with the only businesses open being a pawn shop, a porn store and The 35er Bar. The pawn shop and bar are still there but every other store is open as are all storefronts within 3 blocks. Pasadena allowed the Gold Line to build stops that bring shoppers and built residential above retail so there are pedestrians in the evening after 9 to 5 workers leave. Pasadena also charges for parking with the money going to the local district for sidewalk steam cleaning and repair, attended trash cans, street trees and street furniture. The Old Town Pasadena district is a great success story.

  • John Paul

    Firstly … I’m going to doubt your in your late 50s to let me know that’s what happened and not a combination of things.. because your expecting me to belive a bus line is the only thing responsible for people wanting to visit a place is laughable at best. Your talking a diffrent time period entirely. With diffrent problems, were talking about today. And there is a transient problem in most of the los angeles area today . Eagle rock has blessedly been spared. And yet you want to change that over a buck eagle rock appears to be doing fine as is. I’m asking you for a better reason to let this happen than its convenient for YOU.

  • Mick Kaspersky

    it’s convenient for everyone – less traffic means better air, a healthy planet, etc. You sound awful & selfish.

  • John Paul

    Ah the environmentalist figured one of you guys would pop up. So here we go. If your concern is cleaner air why are we using vehicles at . Hmmm maybe that’s not a fair question … you want cleaner air for you at the cost of me and my family’s saftey .. sounds like your awful & selfish . If you want to change the world than you need to change it. This is not the way friend. Dont try to justify a money grab with environmental saftey. Thank you have a great day.

  • John Paul

    And mike leave it to Q atleast his idea is way less flawed and he doesnt try to hide the economic benifits of what he wants behind a Thin veil of ridiculousness. You want to change the environment. Step one change all the plumbing so we arent dumping all the fresh water into the ocean destroying the water table . Step 2 find an alternative to all fossiel fuels … because 0 emissions is bs friend … not sure if you know this but when you crunch natural gas … you still get co2… fun fact eh.. hey it’s not like people lie about their vehicles being 0 emissions right. Lol btw the co2 by product that’s a fact. So you would need a co2 scrubber… oh wait co2 scrubbers give off.. wait a second why am I explaining this to the environmentalist he should know this already. So heres the deal .. I dont wanna give up my family’s Saftey for some flawed plan and bs reason ..when you figure out how to make this actually environmentally friendly you come back and see me. Freaking activists I swear

  • John Paul

    Bet your for bike lanes too.. atleast that’s an actual step in the right direction besides making the traffic worse … well you know except their whole productions process… much like a bus. Lol

  • Mick Kaspersky

    Stop being thick on Streetsblog, JP

  • John Paul

    Mick … lol kinda the point of this is to have multiple views. What you want just a circle jerk of just one view… don’t be such a transparent clown. Hehehe see what I did there.. well likely not seriously. You and that pdiddy guy should leave it to Q. Atleast he has points to his argument. Seriously when you work for a living get back to me.