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Letter to the Editor: Mixed-Flow Or No-Go

Metro staff has acknowledged that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plans do not require dedicated bus lanes for the entirety of a route in order to be considered a success. In fact, some successful BRT case studies identified by Metro have as little as half of their routes in dedicated bus lanes. These facts make it all the more puzzling that despite mounting opposition from Burbank City Hall and the community at-large, the agency continues its push for dedicated bus lanes along Olive Avenue between Buena Vista and Glen Oakes.

In Burbank, the consensus among our elected officials is it’s “Mixed-Flow or NO-GO,” a sentiment shared by most residents and local business owners, like me, who have been following the issue. It’s clear from Metro’s own data that the North Hollywood to Pasadena BRT through Burbank could be very successful by using “mixed flow” for the brief 1-mile stretch along Olive Avenue as opposed to a dedicated bus lane, which would save transit riders a de minimis amount of travel time.

Kudos to Metro for reading the tea leaves and recognizing that removing all parking along Olive’s commercial corridor is a non-starter. However, we have yet to see them acknowledge that the removal of half our travel lanes is a non-starter as well. I’ve seen it mentioned time and again over the last few months that replacing vehicular travel lanes with dedicated bus lanes will cause gridlock on this widely used thoroughfare by attempting to squeeze thousands of cars into one lane. Rather than be a solution, this would create a problem that doesn’t exist today.

The good news is that our Burbank City Council has been steadfast at recent meetings, reaffirming their stance that it’s “Mixed-Flow or NO-GO.” These streets belong to Burbank and no outside agency should be able to mandate that we implement planning policy that’s harmful. I respect Metro and commend them for the work they do to improve public transit for the region. However, right is right and wrong is wrong. Dedicated bus lanes on Olive are wrong for Burbank.

Joe Assa Burbank Business Owner

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