Burbank residents say proposed bus lane will increase congestion on busy thoroughfare

Thursday, March 28, 2024
Burbank residents say proposed bus lane will increase congestion
A proposed LA Metro project in Burbank would dedicate a bus lane along Olive Avenue. It's a plan some residents say would increase congestion.

BURBANK, Calif. (KABC) -- The city of Burbank is pumping the brakes on the controversial bus lane proposed for busy Olive Avenue, taking more time to make a final decision.

"We can't rush to a decision here, and I think at the end of the day, I'm more encouraged than ever," said Burbank Mayor Nick Schultz.

The main thoroughfare in Burbank has been the center of controversy in town since word got around that the often busy two lane road could transform into one lane for cars and one dedicated for buses in both directions.

It's part of a bigger plan to create a Bus Rapid Transit Line that connects the Red and Orange Lines in West Hollywood to the Gold Line in Pasadena with Burbank right in the middle.

"To remove a lane would be detrimental to us, as a business. I hope our City Council will back the constituents and rally for us, because it's going to be a major issue on Olive Avenue, not only for residents and business owners, it's going to be a problem for all the streets next to Olive," said Karen Ross, who owns the Tallyrand restaurant on West Olive Avenue. Ross says she's concerned a dedicated bus lane will cause congestion that would impact her restaurant and other businesses on this two-mile stretch.

The bus lane battle took center stage at Tuesday's City Council meeting, with supporters and opponents both in attendance.

The meeting lasted more than seven hours, and ended with no clear answer on whether Olive Avenue will undergo changes.

Burbank isn't the only place bracing for change. A 5.6-mile dedicated bus and bike lane just debuted on Sepulveda in the valley, and the city of Los Angeles now has 51 miles of dedicated bus lanes with another 31 miles scheduled to open this year.

Schultz understands the lack of a definitive decision isn't what residents were hoping for right now, but since the city of Burbank, not Metro, gets the final call, he believes buying time should be looked at as a good thing.

The mayor urged residents to not be dissuaded or discouraged, adding "I actually view this as positive progress. Stay tuned. Stay engaged. Keep coming to us and to Metro and let us know what you want to see with this project."