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Letter to the Editor: Just Say ‘No’ to Metro’s “Side Running” BRT Plan

Letter to the Editor:

As someone who lives on Olive Avenue in Burbank, I have been following the saga of Metro’s NoHo to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit proposal for the last year. Recently I have observed a notable change in Metro’s messaging and stated preference for how they plan to implement BRT in Burbank.

When I first heard about Metro’s plan, it was all about what Metro called “curb running,” which is the removal of parking lanes to be replaced by dedicated bus lanes. It took some time for folks in Burbank to become aware, but once they were clued into what was being proposed, the idea was universally opposed.

It now seems like Metro “got the memo,” because all of the sudden the agency has shifted its stated preference to what is being called “side running,” which is the removal of travel lanes to be replaced with dedicated bus lanes. Unfortunately for Metro, this reversal in course has not been embraced as some sort of compromise. In fact, the idea is being panned by not only the community, but the Burbank City Council as well.

This resistance should come as no surprise to anyone. “Side running” would turn Olive into a narrow, one-way corridor in each direction, squeezing in about 2,000 cars per hour from two lanes down to one, in order to allow for a dedicated bus lane that services only six buses per hour. HUH?!? Further, Metro openly states that BRT lanes are NEVER 100% dedicated bus lanes, and their own examples of “successful BRT lanes” show only half to two-thirds of their route traveling via dedicated bus lane. This only goes to prove that NoHo to Pasadena can be a successful BRT route and still have mixed-flow through Burbank.

If Metro is dead set on using dedicated bus lanes, it should find an alternative route where traffic conditions and existing traffic congestion warrant it. Dedicated bus lanes on Olive Avenue makes no sense and would be an irresponsible policy decision.

Ignacio Alatorre Burbank

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