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‘NoHo to Pasadena Express’ bus route, with stops in Burbank and Glendale, approved

The “missing link” is set to fall into place this spring, connecting the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Valley via the new “NoHo to Pasadena Express” bus route.

Last week, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a 180-day trial run of the express route, which will link the North Hollywood Red and Orange Line station to the Memorial Park and Del Mar Gold Line stations in Pasadena, stopping along the way in Burbank and Glendale, where passengers will be able to transfer to the BurbankBus or Glendale Bee Line.

Service is set to begin on March 5, the same day the Gold Line extension to Azusa is set to open, said Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian, who is on the Metro board of directors and pushed for the service.

“We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Najarian said during a Glendale City Council meeting Tuesday. “This is going to be a reality.”

With service every 15 minutes during peak weekday hours and every 30 minutes off-peak and weekends, the limited service route will depart from the North Hollywood bus plaza, “shoot down Lankershim [Boulevard],” Najarian said, and travel generally on the Ventura (134) Freeway carpool lanes.

In Burbank, the route will follow Hollywood Way and Olive Avenue to Alameda Avenue and Buena Vista Street before returning to the freeway. The route also includes stops at Goode Avenue and Brand Boulevard (westbound) and Sanchez Drive and Brand (eastbound) in Glendale.

Travel time is expected to be 55 minutes end-to-end from North Hollywood to the Del Mar Station in Pasadena during peak traffic times.

There will not be dedicated bus lanes, he said. A Metro staff report indicates that freeway widening may eventually allow buses to run on the shoulders. A post on the Metro blog earlier this month said officials are conducting a longer-term study to look at converting the bus line into a bus rapid-transit service, which could have dedicated lanes.

“As ridership increases... the financial justification for a dedicated bus route like the Orange Line will become stronger, so we will hope that it gets a lot of riders,” Najarian said. “It seems a logical connection between the two great valleys of our region.”

He said the express-service pilot could provide evidence to support a light-rail line connecting the two valleys.

At North Hollywood, riders can hop on an Orange Line bus to Warner Center, Najarian said, or a Red Line train to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. From there, they can connect to the Blue or Expo lines. The Gold Line also offers a connection to Union Station as well as Pasadena’s east side and East Los Angeles.

The trial run is expected to cost $1.2 million to be contracted out to a private operator, according to a Metro staff report. The route is expected to draw 1,750 riders daily. However, if it does not achieve that level of ridership by the end of the 180-day pilot, the route may be adjusted or improved. It could also be discontinued.

David Kriske, assistant community development director for Burbank, said the service will hopefully help demonstrate ridership exists for the regional rail network’s missing link. Also, it will connect to the BurbankBus NoHo-Airport route, which now offers all-day service on weekdays to and from Bob Hope Airport.

“We’ve participated in several studies of this corridor over the last 10-plus years that have suggested ridership demand exists for a travel alternative to the busy 134 Freeway,” Kriske said in an email this week. “It’s exciting to implement a program that addresses this need.”

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Chad Garland, chad.garland@latimes.com

Twitter: @chadgarland


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