Last fall a funding request for $4,900 was approved by the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council. However, the request was denied by City Hall because of an administrative concern. Since Maria Nazario was a member of the ERNC and she is also on the board of TERA, she did not vote on the funding request. However, since she did not leave the meeting room during the discussion, it was determined that this violated conflict of interest concerns and the request was denied.
Bob Gotham, Chair of the TBTB Steering Committee, returned to ERNC at their December meeting to repeat the request for funding. The experience was quite different from the initial request to council members who were quite informed regarding the initiative. It is clear that the new Council will exert the greatest due diligence in making decisions regarding all future funding requests. The Council is to be applauded for that care and concern.
Most of the funding provided to the community through the Neighborhoods Council grants supports current events and short term needs. Take Back the Boulevard is distinctive in that it is an investment, in the long-term future of Eagle Rock.
During the candidate forum before the ERNC election, many candidates spoke strongly in favor of Take Back the Boulevard. That support was evident at the December meeting. Thanks to the members of the “new” Neighborhood Council for their appreciation of the importance of this initiative and for once again approving the funding request. It is not anticipated there will be any issues with the request being challenged at City Hall. Thanks also to all the members of the Neighborhood Council for their service to the community.
METRO Call for Projects:
As reported in the last eLetter, Take Back the Boulevard responded the METRO’s (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation) every other year “Call for Projects.” This call gives communities the opportunity to request funds for transportation-related projects in their area, including bicycle and pedestrian projects. Unfortunately, our submission, which was ranked #17 out of 39, just a few points short of the cutoff, and was not approved. It appears that nearly all of the recommended projects are near existing/proposed light rail or Orange Line stops and/or extensions/later phases of projects funded in earlier Call for Projects projects. Given that this was our first attempt to seek funding, and did not have the added credibility of our Master Vision Document that is in progress, to be ranked 17 out of 39 submissions is respectable.
Bike Lane Update:
A key milestone in finalizing the plans for a bike lane on Colorado Boulevard is completing an Environmental Impact Report. This report, which has been delayed several times with the latest completion date to be this month, will assess the impact on the Boulevard with the elimination of one lane of traffic.
Recently Gov. Brown signed AB2245, which, as of January 1, 2013, exempts bike lane projects from the requirements of CEQA, including a formal Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The new law does require an analysis of traffic and safety impacts, and public hearings (although less formal than required by CEQA), so most of the work being done under the on-going EIR will be necessary. The opportunity for challenges and resulting litigation appear more limited under the new law.
How the new will affect timing of a decision on bike lanes is unclear. Our hope is that it will speed up the approval process…