METRO ORANGE LINE:
A TRADITION OF COMMUNITY OPPOSITION?
The MTA board of directors -- despite community opposition to the project -- approved the Environmental Impact Report calling for a busway on Burbank-Chandler on July 26, 2002. (Click here for the Daily News coverage from June to August of 2001.) Subsequently, a local group -- Citizens Organized for Smart Transit -- filed a lawsuit challenging the EIR. The suit was rejected in December 2002; an appeal was filed the following month and the appellate court ruled in July 2004 to effectively invalidate the EIR. Construction on the busway was halted by an injunction for 30 days; the appellate court ultimately rejected most of COST's arguments. (Click here for the Daily News coverage from July to December of 2004.) However, the court did order a revision of the EIR, including a study of conventional Metro Rapid service as an alternative; the MTA board certified the revised EIR on December 13, 2004; the busway remained the preferred option. COST subsequently agreed to drop the lawsuit (on January 31, 2005) in return for MTA paying their legal expenses.
In addition, a number of legal arguments were made during the EIR process favoring light rail over a busway. These were virtually ignored or dismissed by the MTA board of directors.
Two proposals were considered in the EIR (the original EIR and revised post-lawsuit EIR are available at the MTA website). The "preferred alignment" -- a busway along the entire alignment -- was constructed; the alternate alignment called for a busway only between Woodman Ave. and Balboa Blvd. and operation at the ends on Victory Blvd. to Warner Center and on Oxnard St. to North Hollywood Station. (Both alignments are illustrated in the project map.) (Requires Adobe Reader.)
The MTA Staff recommendation (requires Adobe Reader) was for the Chandler Blvd. alignment; the day after the board's decision, MTA announced the removal of trees along the right-of-way, which heightened suspicion among community residents opposed to the busway.
(Map courtesy Daily News.)
The project map and staff recommendation are in PDF format.
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