Letter to the Editor: Resident Gives Opinion on Metro’s Bus Project on Olive Ave.

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Letter to the Editor:

There are 3 major issues that should be seriously considered with this project and how it will run through Burbank.

1. There must be mixed flow traffic on Olive

2. This route must have a traffic study prior to implementation

3. The BRT must connect to the Metrolink Station on Front Street As pointed out in the Burbank letter to Metro dated 5/19/2021 https://www.burbankca.gov/documents/173607/240347/BurbankCommentLetter_ PlanningProgramming_AgendaItem15_NoHoPasadenaBRT.pdf/9f655aab-524d- 2ba8-2bfd-c331cffc5d3f?t=1635361496186&download=true

1. There must be mixed flow traffic on Olive. This should be the only option considered. Burbank, unlike other Los Angeles County Communities, does not suffer from gridlock. It would be a huge step backwards to allow Metro to create a situation that would cause severe gridlock and overflow onto residential streets, as they have identified thousands of cars daily will be diverted off Olive onto other Burbank streets. (FEIR diversion study). Metro should consider running the BRT Bus on Olive as Mixed Flow traffic (just like they will be doing in Pasadena).

The traffic flows at the speed limit of 30 to 35 miles an hour, even during rush hour currently. It would not go any faster with its own dedicated lane because it cannot exceed the posted speed limit of 30 or 35 miles an hour. The difference in running time of the BRT with its own dedicated lane will make almost no difference. Currently Bus 155 running time from Olive and Alameda to Olive and Glenoaks (2.5 miles) at 8:25am is 12 minutes, at 3:30pm is 13 minutes and at 5:30pm is 12 minutes, this is all with 12 stops. Cars at 8:25am take 6 to 14 minutes typically 9 minutes, 3:30pm 6 to 18 minutes typically 9 minutes and 5:30pm 6 to 16 minutes typically 9 minutes with 0 stops. * per Google maps

While there is no documentation as to what the timing for the BRT will be, we can logically assume that with signal prioritization and advance ticketing options as well as only having 5 stops vs 12, the BRT should run faster than the 155 Bus but how much faster is unknown. However, the BRT bus is not going to travel faster than the 35 mile an hour current speed limit posted, we won’t see significant time improvement because it will not travel faster than the posted speed limit.

A bit of clarification needs to be explained with regards to the definition of the approved configuration that Metro has for the BRT Bus lane. In the final Environmental Impact document approved, Metro refers to the bus lane on Olive as Mixed-Flow/ Curb Running (https://thesource.metro.net/2022/04/29/route-and-final- study-for-noho-to-pasadena-bus-rapid-transit-project-to-be-considered-by-metro-board-this- month/) These are two very different things. Mixed flow means all vehicles and bicycles use the lanes. Curb running means that ONLY the BRT uses the lane. Curb-Running Bus Lanes – Curb-running bus lanes place the dedicated bus lane immediately adjacent to the curb, as shown in Figure 23, which eliminates parking or restricts parking to time periods when the bus lane is not operational. Like the side-running bus lanes configuration, a “curb extension” may be provided; however, operation along the curb may preclude development of a “bulb out.” This type of running way can experience friction or interaction with cyclists, parked vehicles, commercial loading zones/vehicles, and right-turning traffic, which typically merges into the bus lane prior to turning. (NOHO to Pasadena BRT Corridor Planning and Environmental Study ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS

REPORT 2020). I have heard a few say that they believe if there is a BRT only lane, local busses and bicycles will be able to use it; however, by definition, a BRT only lane is designated as a BRT bus ONLY lane. Therefore, a Curb running BRT bus only lane is for BRT busses only, no other busses or bicycles will be able to use it. In addition this configuration removes parking. NO parking should be removed along Olive, it would be an overwhelming hardship to businesses and residents along this street. Therefore, there must be mixed flow traffic on Olive.

2. This route must have a traffic study prior to implementation. Metro has not even done a traffic study to determine impacts to adjacent streets. It is not fair to use Burbank as an experiment without studying the traffic conditions first. This type of project has never been done in LA or surrounding neighborhoods, (taking away lanes from vehicles that are adjacent to residential neighborhoods). The Wilshire BRT only operates at rush hour of 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 pm and the downtown LA BRT, is in a highly urban mostly business district. The most successful BRT by Metro has been the San Fernando Valley Orange line/Metro G line. This never removed traffic lanes, it only added the additional lanes for the BRT ridership.

The main issue is NO traffic studies have ever been done! This is one HUGE experiment that has been untested. What we don’t want is the project to be built only to have a 1 lane travel for all vehicles that are not a BRT bus and create congestion and cut through traffic on local residential streets.

Another failure of this project so far is that there have been no Traffic diversion studies done in Burbank. The diversion study (Appendix D EIR) randomly picks a number of over 500 Average Daily Traffic being diverted off of Olive, no actual real-life study was done to determine this number. They only show traffic moving to major streets and not the real-life issue of diversion to local neighborhood streets, while computer analysis is helpful in no way takes into consideration the real-life element of human behavior. With the problems that Burbank saw with just opening one business and disrupting traffic in only the North bound only lane on Olive and the neighborhood traffic, one can only imagine the impact that a 2.5-mile change would have on the surrounding neighborhood. Cut through traffic would be felt all up and down the corridor.

From what we have seen already, we know Keystone, Naomi and Clark, as well as other neighborhood streets, will be affected by cut through traffic going both north and south. The only true way to find out the impact is to do a real-life test prior to implementing. Just like the decision to test the one-way lane on San Fernando in downtown Burbank before converting it to a one-way street. FYI virtual demonstrations won’t show the real effect nor give citizens the chance to weigh in on how it will affect them. At the very least Burbank should do a demonstration traffic study on Olive. before it changes the character of the neighborhood in negative ways. This demonstration study should be done in conjunction with advertising community input meetings at the end of the study, holding these at the Joslyn Center would be a great location as it is located on the route.

All ridership numbers from Metro are estimates from 2016, based on no real-life data. EIR 5.2 Ridership Forecasts – The Metro Corridors Based Model 18 (CBM18) was used (Content Based Modeling)

In 2016 Metro predicted only a .003 percent increase of ridership after operating for 18 years. That would be 14,566 new riders a year based on the entire 18-mile route. That is only 1,213 additional riders a month or 40 riders a day. In a region that sees 700,000 daily trips * 2019- 2019- 0148_Attachment_E_Alternatives_Analysis_Executive_Summary.pdf This amount of reduction is a blip of a change after spending $448 million dollars to implement.

Per EIR – Table 16 presents transit trips and boardings forecasted in the year 2042. Each transit trip represents one entire trip from origin to destination including transfers. Boardings are tallied for each entry or exit from a transit vehicle – boardings are greater than transit trips due to transfers. Total new transit trips are forecast to increase by 14,566 for the Street-Running Alternative, the highest number for any of the three alternatives, and this alternative also has the highest level of estimated boardings. Table 16 – 2042 Transit Trips and Boardings

Provided by author

Currently there is an average of 255,500,000 car trips a year in the NOHO to Pasadena region. However, after 18 years this project is expected to increase ridership by only 14,566 per year or provide a .003 percent decrease in cars trips after 18 years.

3. This BRT must connect to the Metrolink station on Front Street. The 1/3 of a mile walk from Lake/Olive to the Metrolink station by the City’s power plant, under a bridge and in an industrial section is unacceptable. This is crucial link for Burbank Airport, Downtown LA, Antelope Valley and Simi Valley Commuters as well as Amtrak riders from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Metro has ignored the connection for 3,500 Employees at 2 of the largest employers in Burbank (The Airport and Deluxe); as well as the 551,000 monthly passengers of the Burbank Airport. If they really were looking at reducing the number of car trips in the region, the Burbank Airport connection would not have been overlooked and ignored by this project. The Airport is just 1 stop trip from the Front Street Metrolink station. Metro has focused solely on connecting to only other Metro train lines and has ignored Metrolink or Amtrak connections that would connect with commuters from Simi Valley and Antelope Valley as well as Travelers from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. This BRT is accessible to half of the top 10 Burbank employers. It excludes Netflix, Burbank Airport, Burbank Unified, Cast & Crew and Deluxe. The missed opportunities for connections for riders is tremendous. According to the Burbank Transportation Commissions recommendation they are asking Metro to:

*Actively partner with the City to seek funding for an Olive Avenue Bridge reconstruction.

*Move the proposed Olive and Lake Station to the top of the Olive Avenue Bridge to provide a multimodal connection to the Downtown Burbank Metrolink station.

While both ideas are noble in what they would like to achieve, Metro has clearly stated that there are no funds available to rebuild the bridge in this project. To truly believe Metro would work diligently to create a project in the middle of the new BRT route that would take at least ten years to complete and cause disruption on the route for 2 years while the bridge is being rebuilt is a bit an unrealistic dream. Metro has made it clear that the only lines of transportation it cares about connecting to are its own lines. This fact is further proven by the fact that in the entire county of Los Angeles only 9 bus lines connect with a Metro link station and the only connection for rail lines is in Downtown Los Angeles at Union Station which only connects with 3 of Metro’s 6 rail lines.

Cherryl Weaver
Burbank

    BurCal Apartments8715