Status Update: Wilshire Bus Only Lanes

To see the Metro report, ##http://www.metro.net/board/Items/2012/06_June/20120613OtherSectorWESItem4.pdf##click here.##

To my mind, at least for symbolism, in the near term the Wilshire bus lane project (Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] Corridor) is the most significant transit-related project in our region (along with the parallel effort in San Bernardino County known as sbX.) Upgrading bus service along Wilshire is an idea that has been floating around for decades as I outlined in a previous post.

Late last year a Los Angeles city staff report gave the timetable for completing the project as 2015.  When I investigated why such a long period was needed to do the project, L.A. city staff explained the complexity of the project precluded it happening any faster. In a follow-up The Source reported “In more recent discussions with the city, [LADOT] now believe they may be able to have it completed by the end of 2014.”

And in a new Metro staff presentation made at the Westside/Central Service Council this month that timetable appears to be holding up: “Estimated project completion late 2014.”

It also states “Project proposed to open in segments with the first segment between S. Park View Street and Western Avenue scheduled to open in mid 2013.” Especially illuminating is a map that graphically depicts proposed completion dates for the various phases. 2 1/2 years until the bulk of the project is ready is a hell of a long wait, but at least it is making progress. Lord knows there were periods in the past when I despaired of it ever coming off.

The symbolism I spoke of in the opening is this project moves us beyond the lip service often paid to the importance of transit to the future of the region. Allocating during peak hours lanes along one of the leading Boulevards of the largest city in Southern California sends the message we are getting serious about the need to reorient our transportation network toward mass transit. Also it is a test bed to address the worries of traffic engineers that bus lanes cause an unacceptable level of disruption to mixed flow traffic movement. When the sky doesn’t fall after the lanes become operational we can begin a dialogue about having similar lanes on other major arterials.

  • Guest

    Bearing in mind the difficulty of negotiating bus only lanes around the I-405 entrances and exits, it’s disappointing that there will be no lanes where Wilshire crosses I-405. Anecdotally, this is one of the places with the worst congestion and thus buses would most benefit if lanes were here.

  • Dennis Hindman

    Wilshire Blvd near the 405 turns into a parking lot with drivers waiting to enter the on-ramp to the freeway. If you took away two lanes in this area, the line of cars waiting to get onto the freeway would simply stretch further.

    Not having the two bus only lanes near the 405 also lengthens the time it takes the police and ambulances to get through.

    The decision was made. Influencial people from the Condo Canyon and Brentwood area want the parking lot on Wilshire Blvd next to the 405 to continue growing in size and the buses, police cars or ambulances should all have to deal with trying to get past this mess just like everyone else. It shall remain a equal opportunity parking lot.

  • Juan Matute

    Buses using Westbound Wilshire where it conflicts 405 onramps include BBB 2 &3, Culver City 6 (stop at Westwood & Veteran), and Metro 20/720 (stop at Veteran).   A bus-only queue jump at the Veteran singal would allow the busses to get out of the right two lanes (#3&4) and avoid the line for 405.  
    Unfortunately, I don’t believe such a treatment is in the plans. Buses would encounter the same conflict point they currently encounter from between 405SB exit to Wilshire WB.
    Eastbound Wilshire is more difficult as there isn’t a traffic signal after the combined BBB 2&3 and Metro 20/720 stop, so re-entering traffic is harder here.Congestion pricing of ramps and the 405 is the obvious choice if the sole goal is to reduce traffic congestion, but it seems that there are other goals that trump eliminating traffic on the 405.

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