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Guest Opinion | Max Romero: Bus Lanes on Colorado Boulevard Will Reduce Congestion for All

Published on Thursday, February 8, 2024 | 6:01 am

Pasadena is an amazing city that residents, tourists, and visitors alike cherish. We’re known for our roses, but even more for our innovations that have positively driven change and impacted the world at large. One aspect that the city is recognized for is our transportation and mobility programs that make Pasadena an accessible city for all.  However, there are some areas within the city that continue to pose a challenge and that keep Pasadena’s public transportation and mobility from reaching its full potential. 

I have lived in Pasadena and Sierra Madre my whole life, and I commute to Old Town Pasadena daily via public transportation. And each day, the corridor beginning at Colorado Boulevard west of Lake Avenue through the area just east of Pasadena Avenue is a frustrating bottleneck causing delays for traffic, buses, and pedestrians. Diagonal parking, even where parking lots exist, offer spaces for few people, where the alternative is a mobility solution to move hundreds of people through that very same space. As I result, I am proposing an idea that I believe would clear up congestion, reduce travel times for public transportation users like me, and help the environment. 

Specifically, my suggestion would be to remove select diagonal and parallel street parking and instead replace the spaces with dedicated bus lanes. 

Having a dedicated bus lane for the numerous buses that travel the Colorado Boulevard corridor every few minutes, at the cost of a few parking spots, will enable a free flow of traffic that will allow vehicles to move quicker through the area at the cost of a few parking spaces. Additionally, it will reduce travel times for the large amount of public transportation users by providing buses with a dedicated lane.

This would make particular sense since Metro has committed to creating a new North Hollywood Bus Rapid Transit Line to Pasadena, which will make it easier for people in other cities to visit or commute, and likewise, help Pasadena residents easily travel to cities west of us. Dedicated bus lanes would mean this essential line, would move rapidly through the city, which is helpful during major events such as Rose Bowl games and events, The Rose Parade, and even the upcoming Olympics. 

Implementing this project would save riders many hours spent commuting through traffic at the cost of some parking spaces in Old Pasadena alone. In addition, with the numerous parking garages throughout Old Pasadena, there would still be hundreds of parking spaces available for use that are just steps away from all of Colorado Boulevard’s amazing shops and restaurants. 

As Metro’s ridership continues to increase, this is a corridor which I think is safe to say, will only continue to grow in public transportation ridership. Additionally, bus lanes would support Pasadena’s Net Zero Resolution by 2030 by making taking the bus a more viable option. Why should we wait to make crucial investments now which will be beneficial in the current landscape and far into Pasadena’s future?

Max Romero
Member, Sierra Madre Public Transportation Subcommittee 
Junior, Maranatha High School

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