Summary of Public Hearing Comments
Metro Connections - December 17, 2006 phase
(Hearing held August 2, 2006.)
Approximately 35 individuals attended the hearing held at the Marvin Braude Center in Van Nuys. 25 of those individuals provided verbal testimony. Written comments were received from 21 individuals via letters, facsimile and emails by the August 12 closing date. In addition, one petition with 137 signatures was submitted. The respondents included representatives from the City of Burbank and various other organizations including the Transit Coalition, Southern California Transit Advocates and the Bus Riders Union.
The 46 respondents provided a total of 135 comments on various proposals included in the notice. Approximately 44% supported, 40% opposed and 16% suggested modifications to various proposals. Although the total number of comments indicated overall support, the line level breakdown indicated that a majority of comments opposed proposals to shorten or simplify lines and supported the proposals for new services.
The two proposals that received the most opposition were the cancellation of Line 91 (branch route of Line 90) and the shortening of Line 240 at Reseda and Ventura Blvds.. Comments on Line 91 indicated that canceling service would have a negative impact on students traveling to Rosemont Junior High School and La Crescenta Valley High School, two libraries and workers at local businesses, notably Harmony Farms and La Crescenta Car Wash. Comments indicated that Beeline Route 3 does not provide adequate replacement service since the hours of operation are limited and longer distance trips are needed. In addition, the geographic constraints of the area make it difficult to access alternate service on Line 90. Comments in favor of the proposal indicated that buses should not operate on Honolulu St., that Beeline duplicates the route and that cancellation made "perfect sense". (Webmaster's Note: Southern California Transit Advocates subsequently evaluated the public testimony on the Line 90-91 proposal and concluded that most of the arguments were without merit.)
The proposal for Line 240 also received major opposition, including a petition with a total of 137 signatures. The comments indicated that shortening the route at Ventura Blvd. would "create adverse impacts for the transit dependent and therefore is a violation of the Civil Rights Consent Decree between MTA and the Bus Riders Union". Others were opposed to the reallocation of service to new Metro Rapid Line 741 along Reseda Blvd. due to the negative impact on elderly and students who need to access non-rapid stops. Those that supported the changes felt that all of the stops on Reseda Blvd. are not needed and that Line 240 should be shortened as long as service levels along Ventura Blvd. are maintained.
The proposal for Line 152 received a mixture of comments, with 3 comments supporting, five comments opposing and five comments suggesting modifications to the proposals. Some of the comments expressed specific opposition to the reroute of the 152A segment from Fallbrook/Ventura to Warner Center Transit Hub. Comments to modify proposals included suggestions to shorten Line 152A at West Hills Medical Center, operate limited stop service on Line 152A, reroute Line 152A to Warner Center via Oxnard St. instead of Victory Blvd. and eliminate the route deviation to North Hollywood Station, while splitting the line at Universal City Station instead. The City of Burbank submitted a proposal from their Transportation Commission which suggested combining the route of Line 152B with the Metro Connections proposal for Line 96. This would increase the service frequency between Universal City Station, the Media District and downtown Burbank.
Line 94 received the most individual comments including ten comments opposing the proposal to operate Line 94 as two separate lines. Comments were mostly concerned with the impact of transferring at San Fernando Rd. and Lankershim Blvd., particularly for the physically challenged. Comments were made that transfers force people to buy day passes, the transfer area is undesirable and transfers increase travel time due to missed connections. Eight comments supported the proposal as long as service was maintained in Glendale and Burbank and resources were reallocated to provide a faster trip on the proposed new services. One comment was received to operate new limited stop service north of the Sylmar Station to Olive View Medical Center due to increased demand to the area.
The proposal to shorten Line 166 in Sun Valley received highly contrasting comments. Supporting comments includes the comment that the proposal is an "excellent idea" and that few patrons ride the segment along Glenoaks Blvd. and Tuxford St. Opposing comments cited that the proposal is "terminally bad" (includes proposal for Lines 94, 766 and 774*) and the need to transfer two or three times. Other comments stated that the route should be maintained to Universal City and later night service provided for workers at Northridge Fashion Center. One comment was received to modify the eastern terminal to Foothill and Van Nuys Blvds. and to consider combining the route with Line 169.
An equal number of comments supported and opposed the proposal for Line 156. One comment received from Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn strongly objected to the change stating that the service is very popular with hotel guests. Others were concerned with the transfer connection with Line 150 owl service at Vineland and Ventura. Those in favor of the change suggested that the connection be made at Universal City Station and that the line be renumbered to 656 or letters used such as PC for Panorama City. Two suggestions were received to extend the service in two opposing directions, one to Foothill Blvd. in Pacoima and the other to Van Nuys and Ventura Blvds. in Sherman Oaks.
The proposal to straighten out Line 363 along Sherman Way between Van Nuys and Lankershim Blvds. received two comments supporting and three comments opposing the proposal to reroute service away from Laurel Canyon Blvd. One late comment was received requesting the route to be maintained since two transfers would be required between Line 164 on Victory Blvd., Line 166 on Lankershim Blvd. and North Hollywood Station.
The proposals for new Lines 364, 766 and 774* received overall support, with requests to extend the route or provide new weekend service. Comments were received to extend Line 364 to Panorama City or Sherman Way, extend Lines 766 and 774 to Olive View Medical Center, reroute Line 774 to downtown Glendale via Broadway and Central and a new transit center at Colorado and Central, and to combine the route of Line 774 with Line 363. Comments opposing the proposal included the general opposition to all changes and the comment that Line 766 should not be implemented unless the route is linked to a service from Santa Clarita.
The proposal for Line 741 received four comments in support of the new service and four comments to modify the proposal by extending service southeast to Universal City Station or northwest to Porter Ranch.
Finally, a number of miscellaneous comments were received on line numbering and on other Metro Connections proposals that were not subject to this public hearing.
* - After the public hearing, proposed Metro Rapid Lines 766 and 774 were renumbered 724 and 794, respectively.
NOTES FROM STAFF REPORT ON CONCERNS RAISED AT THE PUBLIC HEARING:
Over the years, staff has received suggestions from operators, consultants and the general public to cancel the route of Line 91 due to the duplication of service with Beeline Route 3. The segment proposed to be cancelled is only two mile long, yet comments received demonstrate that service is essential to the community due to the geographical constraints and the lack of replacement Beeline Route 3 service during certain times of the weekday and on weekends.
To mitigate concerns regarding transfers between Lines 94 and 224, it is recommended that Line 394 be retained as a branch route of Line 94. This line will serve as a placeholder for new Metro Rapid Line 794 (see Line 774) and will be converted at a later date, contingent upon identification of resources.
Based on the number of comments received to modify the proposal, there appears to be recognition that Line 152 is too long. In addition, a few of the comments expressed specific opposition to the reroute of the western terminal to the Warner Center Hub, but did not comment on shortening the route.
As part of Metro Connections, staff will evaluate other routing options to improve service between the Universal City Station and downtown Burbank as suggested by the Burbank Transportation Commission.
Line 158 rerouting to the Chatsworth Station is necessary to address residential concerns regarding the terminal west of Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Weekend service has already been rerouted to the station, but the reroute of weekday service was contingent upon modifications to the Chatsworth Station. These improvements were recently completed in July.
Line 166 is 29 miles in length and was linked to Lankershim Boulevard as part of the San Fernando Restructuring Plan. Ridership on this line has grown substantially due to the extension of rail service to North Hollywood. The line continues to have two peaks, while the segment connecting the Lankershim corridor with the Nordhoff corridor is not as well utilized. Unlinking the Nordhoff corridor from the Lankershim corridor will allow service to be better managed on each segment and will facilitate the provision of limited stop or Metro Rapid service.
The Line 240 route segment to Universal City Station will be retained in consideration of opposition received and the need to maintain local service levels along on the Ventura Boulevard corridor to Universal City Station. One-third of the service will be reallocated to new Line 741 as allowed by the Consent Decree.
Simplifying the route of Line 363 will eliminate service delays from turning movements on duplicated corridors and improve service to the North Hollywood Station. Straightening out the route will allow service to be better coordinated with Line 163 along Sherman Way. The line may operate as a branch route of Line 163 in the future.
Suggestions were received to renumber Line 364 to Line 367 in case there is a new limited stop service along Victory Boulevard. The Orange Line, however, is near Victory Boulevard and provides expedited service along the corridor. Some Line 164 patrons have already shifted to the Orange Line. Line 364 was originally numbered as Line 366 but that line number is reserved for Line 66 on Olympic Boulevard.
Line 741 received four comments to support and four comments to extend the route to Universal City Station. In lieu of extending trips to Universal, staff will interline trips with Line 750 whenever possible to eliminate transfers.
Line 766 (724) is included in the Metro Rapid Five-Year Implementation Plan adopted by the MTA Board of Directors and is also included in the Small Starts Program submittal to seek funding for Metro Rapid corridor improvements. Service is proposed to be implemented in June, 2007 or later, but is contingent upon funding availability. As an alternate to Line 766, Line 774 (794) is included in the Metro Rapid Five-Year Implementation Plan adopted by the MTA Board of Directors. Implementation of service was originally slated for June, 2008. Staff requested to implement this new line earlier to better coordinate service along San Fernando Road with other service change proposals. Staff will continue to pursue earlier implementation.
It should be noted that many proposals were received to extend routes or operate new weekend service. These options are not considered at this time since additional funding is not available.