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Eagle Rock split on Colorado Boulevard bus lanes

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Some residents say Metro should put a new rapid bus project on the freeway

Aerial view of Eagle Rock
Metro studied a bus route along the 134 freeway before settling on a Colorado Boulevard alignment through Eagle Rock.

A planned bus rapid transit project linking North Hollywood and Pasadena is the latest rapid bus proposal to ignite controversy among neighbors.

A standing-room-only crowd packed into a public meeting about the project in Eagle Rock Saturday, after supporters and opponents of the project launched dueling petitions for and against a proposed route along Colorado Boulevard.

“Yesterday’s meeting more closely resembled an episode of the Jerry Springer Show than an official public information session,” architect and Eagle Rock homeowner Michael MacDonald wrote in a letter to Metro and shared on Twitter.

Like the San Fernando Valley's successful Orange Line, the bus would travel in dedicated lanes—allowing it to speed past cars caught in gridlock during peak traffic hours.

That’s alarmed some Eagle Rock residents and business owners, who argue that putting bus-only lanes on Colorado Boulevard would worsen traffic and divert drivers onto smaller, residential streets.

A website created by opponents accuses Metro of “throwing Colorado Boulevard under the bus,” at the expense of drivers.

The agency previously considered a version of the project that would have run primarily along the 134 freeway, virtually bypassing Eagle Rock altogether. Metro staff estimated that this alignment would shave nearly a half-hour off the length of an end-to-end trip, but would limit ridership and reduce transfer opportunities to and from the bus line.

The agency is now pushing forward with a route oriented along surface streets—one that the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council voted to support in 2017.

But some residents want Metro to revisit the freeway-running concept. An online petition calling on the agency's directors to keep the freeway option in the mix had garnered just over 700 signatures as of this morning.

Resident opposition to the Colorado Boulevard alignment appears to have inspired a wave of support for the street-running option, which advocates say would provide crucial new transit options for riders in the area.

A rival petition urging Metro to bring bus-only lanes to Colorado Boulevard—along with “streetscape enhancements” and better pedestrian infrastructure—had more than 850 signatures Tuesday.

Eagle Rock isn’t the only place where proposed bus-only lanes along Colorado Boulevard have proven controversial.

In April, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek urged a Metro committee to abandon study of dedicated bus lanes from Old Town Pasadena to Pasadena City College, suggesting that doing so would be a “terrible mistake.”

The concerns of residents and city officials have delayed the start of environmental review on the project, which the Metro board was scheduled to initiate in April.

It’s unclear if that will affect the project’s timeline. One of 28 projects that the agency aims to complete in time for the 2028 Olympics, the bus line is now scheduled to open in 2022.

The last of five July meetings on the project is set for 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Glendale Central Library, 222 East Harvard Street.