DEAR CITYWATCH - Why is Metro allowing unauthorized activists to redesign Colorado Blvd.
Eagle Rock's Shopping-Restaurant district to one lane and take out most of the parking. Aren’t these Road Diet Activists violating the Brown Act? Sixty local businesses are angry and very concerned about going out of business.
A group of Road Diet Activists have been bullying Eagle Rock residents and business owners for the past 2 years who speak out against the Road Diet at meetings or businesses. They are continually demanding a single lane Road Diet from Metro on Colorado Blvd, in our shopping district.
There are 30 restaurants, and 30 other businesses on Colorado Blvd. very stressed by this Metro BRT Noho-Pasadena plan to accommodate bike activists and take out lanes and take out most of the parking. Metro adopted their "Refined F1" design to mollify the Road Diet activists demanding this redesign for 2 years. It is one of 2 harmful designs being finalized in the next month by Metro for Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock.
There is no traffic congestion problem to solve here in Eagle Rock currently, buses travel at 30 mph all day, and there is currently a bike lane although very few bicyclists use it. We know many Eagle Rock residents and businesses want the BRT bus to drive in the current mixed flow lanes (quickly like buses do now).
The Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce, our residents group of 1600 petition signers, and 45 restaurants and stores on Colorado have been asking Councilman de Leon's office for a meeting for the business owners to voice their concerns for 2 months. Nothing yet. No response.
If the Road Diet activists win in their demands that Metro redesign Colorado Blvd to one lane and take out parking and put in BRT only lanes and protected bike lanes, our shopping district will die off.
The final design will be approved by the Metro Board Dec. 2, we know it will kill this 100-year-old, Route 66 shopping district of businesses that cater to kids and families with art lessons, music, dance, gymnastics, karate, etc. It is a bustling street after school, dinner time, and weekends, but all the families and the businesses are concerned about losing parking.
The bullying continues every day. There have been hundreds of Tweets from bike activists bullying ANYONE who speaks out against their Road Diet. There have been death threats from bike activists from across California, vandalism, boycott threats, slander, accusations of racism, elitism, anti-transit, anti-poor people, anti-environmentalism.... for over 2 years! One restaurant named "Bite Me" in Eagle Rock was driven out of business because of it. All the businesses on Colorado Blvd. feel sorry for the way she was bullied, social media attacked, slandered, and had her doors and windows of her restaurant vandalized. She was fearful and closed the restaurant (pre-pandemic).
We residents consider all this design work between Metro and this bike activist group to be a Brown Act Violation, because for 2 years our (majority) views were not heard or acknowledged or allowed in the Eagle Rock meetings, yet Metro is clearly receiving continued input. Metro has even called the Refined F1 (Beautiful Boulevard) design the "community developed design". This is not true; it is NOT supported by the majority of Eagle Rock businesses nor residents and nearby communities. There should be Public Records Requests for any communication from Metro BRT Noho-Pas design team with any of these Road Diet Activists, they are unauthorized to redesign our city streets and waste tens of millions of our tax dollars.
Here is why we feel the one-lane street design is illogical and problematic in Eagle Rock's shopping district:
- It takes out 1/3rd of the parking spaces along the street, this will put many restaurants and stores (all locally owned ) out of business.
- Two BRT-only lanes will be in the center of the street, dropping passengers to the center medians, dangerous, probably will cause more jaywalking. No other buses will run in the BRT Only lanes
- It reduces traffic lanes to 1 lane in each direction -1 lane of gridlock. This 1 traffic lane will contain thousands of cars daily, slowing/stopping 4 normal Metro bus lines 180, 251, 81, Dash, that drop passengers on the right-side bus stops. It will stop many delivery trucks to restaurants, and semi-trucks that deliver daily to the Trader Joe every morning. There was never a Metro traffic study done of all the cars, trucks and buses on Colorado Blvd. They will finalize their EIR without a real-life traffic study mid-November.
- This one lane will be full of gridlock traffic stopping behind every parallel parking car, every normal Metro bus pulling to the right side bus stop, Buses pulling back into 1 traffic lane, stoppage when cars slow and stop to turn left (most left turns will be blocked off), or turns right will stop this lane.
- Refined F1 moves the current bike lane to a "protected bike lane" next to the sidewalk and restaurants tables (where children can get hit by bikes. Also people walking to their cars need to step across the bike lane that will have fast moving bicyclists),
- Two years of construction obstructing restaurants and businesses will shut down many locally owned restaurants and stores, they are trying to survive after the pandemic.
- It will take out the "Al Fresco" dining patios that are helping restaurants survive the pandemic.
- With the closure of most left turns on Colorado, closing the medians, covered with Red BRT-only lanes, this will cause many more miles driven by locals, families dropping their kids to 4 local schools, going to work, or going to restaurants. Cars will need to drive a further half mile, to make U-turns to go back to their home streets.
Metro's other design, the 2-Lane BRT design is also harmful to businesses, it takes out 2/3rds (hundreds) of the parking spots on Colorado Blvd, and takes out medians and trees. It will take out Al Fresco dining patios.
There are no parking structures planned to be built. There is currently only 1 small public parking lot on Caspar street, 1 block south of Colorado.
We residents and businesses have no city representation with De Leon, the same as we had no representation with Jose Huizar during his legal troubles. Two Metro meetings that have been here at the Recreation Center did not allow input from the community; they were PR events. Kevin de Leon's office on Oct. 2 held an "open house" but many Eagle Rock residents couldn't get a reservation, Kevin only stayed only 2 hours rather than the 10-5:00 advertised, and their "feedback form" asked us which of the 2 harmful designs we prefer. It had no option to ask that the BRT drive in normal lanes.
We are environmentalists, we are a diverse community, Eagle Rock is walkable now, there are bike lanes, and there are fast moving buses now. We resent the bullying and accusations of NIMBYism. We acknowledge a Bus only lane may be good in some areas, but it will be disastrous in this shopping district for the reasons listed above. The devil is in the details on this project.
(Submitted to citywatchla.com by Michele McKesson, a concerned resident.)