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Letter to the Editor: Senior Residents Opposed to Metro’s Proposed Bus Lane

Letter to the Editor:

My name is Renee Johnson and I am the property manager of the Olive Court Senior Apartment complex, located at 1100 West Olive Avenue. Olive Court has been providing affordable, maintenance-free living for independent seniors 55 years and older for over 25 years.

On October 7, I watched in disbelief as Metro staff provided the Burbank community with an update on their proposed “NoHo to Pasadena BRT” project. Most notably, I witnessed the very casual and nonchalant references to the removal of the parking lanes on both sides of Olive Avenue from Buena Vista to Victory—a historic 1-mile stretch of our City. It was almost as if they had no clue what this would mean to the many small businesses within this proposed route, or the real safety concerns this would pose. To be clear, the approximately 200 residents and staff of Olive Court are universally opposed to Metro’s proposed parking lane removal along Olive in favor of dedicated bus lanes. We support Burbank’s public transit goals, but this is not the answer. Olive Court has been home to so many of our local aging residents, and likely to many relatives of those reading my letter today. We take great pride in the maintenance, services, and amenities we provide our residents—placing their safety and the safety of our staff and visitors as the top priority. Given that the only vehicular ingress and egress to the property is a small driveway on Olive, a dedicated “Rapid” bus flying by all day every day is dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. With our senior residents coming and going at all hours of the day, Olive Avenue is busy enough as it is, but to add a speeding bus to the mix directly in front of our driveway is simply unacceptable.

Thankfully, having followed this issue closely, Burbank staff has rightfully and responsibly recommended that Metro’s BRT route through Olive Avenue use these rapid buses within the existing “mixed-flow” of traffic, which will still allow Metro and Burbank to improve their public transit offerings without the public safety issues or direct impact on local Olive businesses who rely on the parking lane for customers.

I urge the City Council to listen to your residents, your local Olive businesses, and your own staff, who all agree that removing Olive Avenue parking in favor of dedicated bus lanes is a BAD idea, BAD planning, and BAD for Burbank.

Renee Johnson Burbank

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