The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority Thursday voted to move forward with studying proposed bus routes in the North San Fernando Valley, as residents voiced concerns of increasing traffic congestion.
There are several routes being considered for the North San Fernando Valley Bus Rapid Transit Corridor that would run from the Metro North Hollywood Station to CSU Northridge and another line that runs from Sylmar to the university. Those routes are spilt into several options Metro could approve once it considers the environmental impact reviews and traffic students it is compiling.
The routes are planned to go through some of the area’s arterial streets in communities where people say bus routes would hamper their already-congested roads.
Metro Board members conceded that they have not done enough community outreach like they did on similar projects like the one in Eagle Rock.
About 80 people signed up to speak during the meeting.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who serves as the Metro Board vice chairman, said the projects are important in order to address transportation and environmental impacts, but he said he recognizes the personal stakes of people in the area.
“We will have to make a tough decision , make no mistake. I know you’ll all be back when that moment comes,” Garcetti said, adding that Metro needs to hold as many community outreach meetings as possible in various locations. “Inform yourselves, figure out where you can maybe compromise a little bit … and let’s get this done because the city needs it, the Valley deserves it, and the world is in crisis.”
The BRT’s study area is approximately 18 miles in length and is bounded by Devonshire Street and Polk Street to the north, Strathern Street and Magnolia Boulevard to the south, Glenoaks Boulevard and Tujunga Ave to the east, and Canoga Avenue, Laurel Canyon Boulevard, and SR-170 to the west.
“`This project is really important to the (San Fernando) Valley, and it’s really going to require extra effort to reach out to these communities and engage them in this discussion,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who is a Metro Board member. “That has not happened in this project … and it needs to happen, and we need to get it right … we need to make sure that this is servicing the businesses, the neighborhoods, the institutions in the Valley that will most benefit from transit improvements.”
Krekorian said that these areas have been affected by traffic-mapping apps like Waze and Google Maps that have rerouted traffic to residential streets during traffic jams on the freeways. The city councilman has recently been pursuing legislation to try to mitigate those affects.