For the past year, LADOT has studied ways to improve service on its local DASH lines and the agency’s efforts have culminated to a series of draft proposals for routes throughout the City. Included are 2 new DASH routes in NELA and a re-configuring of the existing Eagle Rock/Highland Park DASH line. Nobody minds gaining new routes but what will become of our existing DASH line? See below the proposed new Eagle Rock/Highland Park DASH route and other service modifications:
Several of the proposed modifications make a lot of sense. Running the buses every 15 minutes and providing Sunday service? Yes! Removing inefficient loops that drastically slow the bus down? That makes a lot of sense too (and we wrote about it previously, here). The biggest and most contentious change is shifting the the north-south connection between York Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard. Instead of running along Avenue 51 and Townsend Avenue as it currently does, the DASH would operate along Eagle Rock Boulevard.
Looking strictly at ridership potential, it might make sense to run the DASH on Eagle Rock Boulevard- that’s where major development is occurring and there is greater residential and commercial density. This change would likely benefit the Occidental College community by bringing the DASH closer to campus and providing nearly a direct connection to the Metro Gold Line light rail station (though we prefer our alternative which would run the DASH on Monte Vista Street before shifting to Figueroa, thereby allowing the bus to drop passengers off directly across the street from the train rather than have to walk up and down from North Figueroa Street).
However, by making the proposed change, the route would replicate service already provided by Metro’s 83 and 28 lines. By operating the route on York Boulevard between Avenue 51 and Eagle Rock Boulevard, it would also replicate service provided by the newly proposed Glassell Park/Highland Park DASH line. If public transit is removed from Townsend Avenue/Avenue 51, there is no other transit provider along this north-south corridor. Not only that, but there is a long, steep hill connecting Townsend Avenue and Avenue 51. Looking on a map it might be easy to say, “the riders can simply walk to Yosemite Drive and connect to the 181 and then make a transfer if necessary.” The reality for many riders, however, is far different.
This is not the first time the Eagle Rock/Highland Park DASH has seen a drastic change. Back around 2010 a major inefficient and redundant C-shape was cut out of the route which left us with a direct line along Townsend Ave/Avenue 51 between Colorado Boulevard and York Boulevard. Now, LADOT wants to remove this unique and direct connection in favor of replicating existing service provided by Metro.
Based on the new proposed route (and proposed modifications on other lines), it appears LADOT wants to shift away from providing access for those with limited transportation options as it has traditionally done along its neighborhood routes. But if LADOT does not provide local circulation, nobody else will. There is a lot of appeal in having more efficient routes along major boulevards, and there is certainly room for improvement on the Eagle Rock/Highland Park DASH line. However, removing Townsend Avenue and Avenue 51 from the equation is a very questionable decision, especially as the proposed alternative is already served by 2 other buses (3 if you include the new Glassell Park/Highland Park DASH line).
Clearly we have our concerns with this proposal, but whether you support or oppose shifting the DASH from Townsend Avenue/Avenue 51 to Eagle Rock Boulevard (or any other element for the proposed changes), we encourage you to share your thoughts. See below for how you can provide input:
If you are free Tuesday evening (August 23) from 6pm to 7pm, LADOT will be gathering input at the Glassell Park Senior and Community Center (address: 3750 Verdugo Road, 90065).