Councilmember Kevin de León Announces Support for Eagle Rock Bus Transit Plan

City Councilmember Kevin de León at this morning's BRT announcement. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
City Councilmember Kevin de León at this morning's BRT announcement. Photo by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This morning, L.A. City Councilmember – and mayoral candidate – Kevin de León formally announced his support for plans to implement effective Bus Rapid Transit by reducing the number of car lanes on a portion of downtown Eagle Rock’s Colorado Boulevard. Specifically, de León endorsed Metro’s “single lane” alternative “F1,” which is largely based on the community-led design proposal called the Beautiful Boulevard. Speaking today, De León characterized the new BRT line as “a model for the city and county,” with benefits including “cleaner air, better public transit, protection for local businesses, and equity for bus riders.”

The Colorado Boulevard segment is part of Metro’s planned North Hollywood to Pasadena BRT project. The ~18-mile-long new line will span four cities: Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, and Los Angeles, including the L.A. City neighborhoods of Eagle Rock and North Hollywood.

In Metro’s Measure M sales tax plan, voters approved $267 million for the BRT line, with an anticipated groundbreaking in 2020. As Metro got project outreach in full swing in 2019, the Colorado stretch touched off a nativist backlash among some Eagle Rock folks opposed to improving transit there, who claimed that Metro planned to “manufacture traffic, congestion, and gridlock.”

Metro's Colorado Blvd Refined F1 alternative (configuration largely drawn from the Beautiful Boulevard proposal) would have center-running BRT. Image via Metro presentation
Metro’s Colorado Boulevard Refined F1 alternative (configuration largely drawn from the Beautiful Boulevard proposal) would have center-running BRT. Image via Metro presentation

Pro-transit Eagle Rock residents got organized. They gathered broad stakeholder support for their one-size-does-not-fit-all Beautiful Boulevard plan. In 2021, Metro incorporated nearly all of the community design into the alternatives being analyzed.

Councilmember de León took office in October 2020. In mid-2021, de León weighed in on the project with a letter urging Metro to hold additional meetings and to “maintain two through lanes,” contrary to the Beautiful Boulevard design. (Maintaining two through lanes would entail other trade-offs: removing existing on-street parking and/or existing bike lanes, narrowing landscaped medians – or putting BRT on the parallel 134 Freeway, effectively bypassing Eagle Rock.)

Today, de León credited additional public process leading to a consensus, declaring that he “stand[s] in support of the one-lane option.” He credited grassroots “Beautiful Boulevard advocates who worked tirelessly to develop a realistic plan that preserved Eagle Rock,” and credited Metro for conducting additional outreach.

De León was joined by Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council Planning and Land Use Committee Co-Chair Natalie Freidberg, who described Colorado Boulevard as currently “like a racetrack… unpleasant and dangerous.” She supports BRT plans to make the street “safer, quieter, and prettier” as well as benefiting local workers and supporting outdoor dining.

De León further spelled out his support in a letter to the Metro board. That letter lists recommended project components – including extensive landscaping, a business interruption fund, minimizing cut-through traffic in adjacent residential neighborhoods, and all-electric buses.

Late last week, Metro released the BRT project’s Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), which will come to the Metro board for approval in the next few months.

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