In a 5 to 0 vote Tuesday night, Burbank’s City Council will send a letter to Metro that requests they use the mixed flow option in their North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project.
Metro had at first wanted to run buses along curbs on Olive, eliminating parking which the City fought because it would hurt businesses along Olive Ave. that would have lost on-street parking. Instead, in their last report in March, they abandoned the curb running and instead wanted a dedicated traffic lane in each direction, or what is called side-running, eliminating a traffic lane on Olive in each direction.
This would be to handle six buses an hour, compared to 1,200 vehicles an hour that currently use Olive Ave. The projected savings for the side-running reconfiguring would be about one minute of travel time for buses between Buena Vista Ave. and Lake St.
Instead, most people want to see them use a mixed-flow option, which would mean buses would travel with traffic in the two lanes that are presently going east and west on Olive Ave.
Earlier in the evening, several Councilmembers met with protesters in front of City Hall who wanted the mixed-flow option and did not want to see curb-running or side-running.
City Council members were in unison when it came to not supporting Metro’s dedicated lane and will send a letter telling them they will not support side-running and wanted to see mixed-flow until numbers indicated the number of passengers to justify a change.
Councilmember Sharon Springer was upset that not only did Metro want to eliminate a traffic lane, but they have ignored the improvements that need to be made to the Olive Ave. bridge to support a dedicated station. Presently, Metro had proposed a station at Lake and Olive, forcing riders to walk over a quarter-mile to get to the Metro Train Station. The Olive bridge has long needed upgrades.
What the City Council will tell Metro in the letter is “the City Council would support the project as proposed by Metro with the caveat that no side-running bus lanes on Olive Avenue be installed until the project achieves 17,500 average daily weekday boardings, which is 50 percent of the year 2042 project ridership predicted by Metro.”
Councilmember Bob Frutos made the point that people do not use the Burbank Bus, they need to prove the ridership before the City can commit to providing dedicated busways.
Now the next step is up to Metro and their Board. One thing they can not do is force Burbank to restripe their streets and force dedicated busways, Burbank must issue the permits and approve changes on their streets. They can agree to Burbank’s terms and even start to discuss making improvements to the Olive bridge, they can just use the mixed flow option in Burbank and put the stations were currently proposed. or go back to the drawing board.