Skip to content

Posts from the Wilshire BRT Category

38 Comments

Metro Piloting Fast, Convenient All-Door Boarding on Wilshire Rapid Bus

Metro's all-door boarding pilot is underway. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro’s all-door boarding pilot is underway. Metro staff in orange vest in foreground. Photos: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Metro is in its third week of an all-door boarding pilot at two stops on the 720 Wilshire Rapid Bus line. Riders can take advantage of all-door boarding mornings westbound at Wilshire/Vermont and afternoons eastbound at Wilshire/Westwood.

Streetsblog checked out how it was working this morning, and it looks great!

Here’s how Metro’s trial works:

Signage and Metro staff are on hand to explain the pilot. Today it appeared that many riders boarding the 720 had already figured it out, so staff did not have a lot to do.

Riders validating their TAP cards at temporary stanchions.

Riders validating their TAP cards at temporary stanchions.

Temporary TAP stanchions have been placed at locations corresponding to all three bus doors.  Read more…

50 Comments

Law-Breaking Drivers Disrespecting New Wilshire Boulevard Bus-Only Lanes

xxx

Illegally parked car blocks the Wilshire BRT peak-hour bus lane last Friday. All photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

On April 8, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and other Metro, federal, county, and city leaders cut the ceremonial ribbon opening the second phase of the $31.5 million Wilshire BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). Metro forecasted that the Wilshire Boulevard peak-hour bus-only lanes will significantly improve commute times for the more than 25,000 people who board Wilshire Boulevard buses at peak hours every weekday.

But those improvements will only materialize when the bus-only lanes only have buses in them.

Unfortunately, many peak-hour drivers are breaking the law by driving in the exclusive bus lanes.

xxx

This Mercedes with license plate 6JJH202 is blocking the Metro 720 bus from getting to the Crenshaw Blvd stop. That car and the one behind it followed me through the intersection, ignoring the right-turn-only designation for cars in their lane.

Last Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., I observed hundreds of drivers breaking traffic laws, most of them driving straight ahead through right-turn-only designated intersections, but also two cars illegally parked in the designated “anti-gridlock” tow-away no-parking lane. I observed dozens of these cars clearly impeding the progress of the very frequent Wilshire buses. The majority of drivers did respect and stay out of the bus-only lane.

xxx

Signage on Wilshire designates right turn only during peak commute hours.

At the start of each bus-only lane block, the pavement is marked “BUS LANE.” At nearly every intersection from Beverly Hills to MacArthur Park, there are signs that state “RIGHT LANE[:] BUSES [and] RIGHT TURNS ONLY 7AM-9AM 4PM-7PM MON-FRI.”

I stopped at a handful of intersections, and every time observed multiple cars breaking laws by proceeding straight ahead through right-turn-only intersections. Both rapid and local Wilshire buses were arrive very frequently at the peak commute hour, though, between buses, there was still often a one or two-minute space that law-breaking drivers file into.  Read more…

15 Comments

Five New Miles Of Wilshire Peak-Hour Bus-Only Lanes Opened Today

Yesterday's Wilshire BRT ribbon-cutting. Foreground left to right: xxx

Yesterday’s Wilshire BRT ribbon-cutting. Foreground left to right: L.A. City Engineer Gary Lee Moore, FTA Team Leader Ray Tellis, Councilmember Tom Labonge, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Mike Bonin, Metro Boardmember Jackie Dupont-Walker, and Councilmember Paul Koretz. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Elected officials and agency representatives gathered yesterday to host a ribbon-cutting event for Wilshire Boulevard’s newest peak-hour bus-only lanes. The $31.5 million project, dubbed the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a joint effort of Metro, L.A. City, and L.A. County. The bus-only lanes operate from 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m.

The celebration took place at the La Brea Tar Pits. Speakers included L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti, Federal Transit Administration Team Leader Ray Tellis, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Metro Boardmember Jackie Dupont-Walker, Metro’s Interim Deputy CEO Stephanie Wiggins, L.A. City Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Tom LaBonge, and Paul Koretz, and others. The event was attended by about 120 people, mostly governmental staff.

Streetsblog readers will remember the struggle to get this project underway. Due to politics, the bus lane facility ended up somewhat on-again off-again. Though most of Wilshire Blvd within the city of Los Angeles is included, the bus-only lane does not include Westwood’s “Condo Canyon” stretch, nor the parts of Wilshire inside the cities of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.

Wilshire Bus-Only Lanes Map - red

Wilshire Bus-Only Lanes Map showing segments that are and are not receiving bus-only lanes – from 2012 Metro staff report [PDF

An initial 1.8 miles of the Wilshire BRT already opened in June 2013. That section goes from MacArthur Park to Western Avenue.

As of today, four new segments are live, totaling five new miles:

  • Western Avenue to San Vicente Boulevard (3.6 miles)
  • Beverly Hills to Comstock Avenue (0.5 miles)
  • Selby Avenue to Veteran Avenue (o.5 miles)
  • Bonsall Avenue to Federal Avenue (0.4 miles)

Read more…

2 Comments

City Remains Vigilant on Bus Only Lane Parking Scofflaws

Photo Dana Gabbard

To its credit, the City of Los Angeles is working hard to keep the Wilshire Bus Only Lanes (Bike OK!) open for business. Dana Gabbard grabbed this picture yesterday of parking enforcement hard at work.

Wilshire, south side of street between Coronado and Carondelet this morning at about 7:51 a.m. The car had a disabled placard! Didn’t get the traffic officer’s name as she jumped into her vehicle and zoomed off after snapping a photo of the license plate and putting the citation on the front window of the car.

Maybe this stricter enforcement will lead to better enforcement of no parking in bicycle lanes as well. Either way, it’s good to see the city making sure the Bus Only Lane isn’t “Parking OK” too.

2 Comments

What’s Going on with the Wilshire BRT? This Weekend’s So.CA.TA Meeting Has the Answers

Due to the Yom Kippur holiday the September meeting of Southern California Transit Advocates is this Saturday, the 21st (normally we meet on the second Saturday). The guest speaker will be a representative of Metro making a presentation on the status of the Wilshire bus lane project. This will start at 2:15 pm at Angelus Plaza, 255 S. Hill St. (4th floor). Extensive transit directions are on our website.

It should be interesting and as always is free, open to the public and after the presentation there will be an opportunity for asking quetions.

The rest of the meeting will be taken up with the usual functioning actions plus bylaws revisions in service of a radical restructuring reflecting social trends and the emerging cyber-environment of new avenues for advocacy and engagement. We are not the only civic institution grappling with the new paradigm.

I remember it was some years ago I first heard about this via blog posts reviewing Robert Putnam’s book Bowling Alone. Monthly meetings just don’t cut it any more and I am unwilling to continue planning events that draw the same 15-20 people month after month. We have to do things differently and internally we are having discussions on what the “new” SO.CA.TA will be like starting Jan. 2014.

Read more…

2 Comments

Eyes on the Street: Don’t Park in the Bus Lane

Westbound curb lane just east of Park View at 7:39 am. Photo: Dana Gabbard

One of the most common complaints of cyclists is that it is nigh impossible to get the LAPD to enforce bans on parking in the bicycle lane. However, thanks to Dana Gabbard we may have found an answer. L.A. just needs more bus only lanes, which are after all also “bike o.k.”

Gabbard, a long time contributor to Streetsblog L.A. and director of the Southern California Transit Advocates, snapped this picture this morning of a clean BMW about to be towed for parking in the Wilshire Bus Only Lanes just wast of Park View on the westbound side. Doubtless, the driver has already written an angry letter that will become a feature in L.A. Weekly.

However, It’s nice to see the city enforcing the parking ban and making a cleaner and easier commute for cyclists and pedestrians alike. Now let’s see them enforce it on all non mixed-use travel lanes.

8 Comments

First Leg of Wilshire Bus Only Lanes Finally Opens

Finally

Finally!

Moments ago, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and representatives of the Federal Transit Administration celebrated tomorrow’s official opening of  1.8 miles of Bus Only Lanes on Wilshire Boulevard between Western Avenue and South Park View St. at MacArthur Park. The lanes open tomorrow morning at 7 am, just in time for the morning rush hour.

The 1.8 miles of bus only lanes, which are “bike ok!”, is the first portion of the 7.7 miles of lanes that will stretch from Downtown Los Angeles to the border of Santa Monica.

During peak hours, Metro operates buses every two minutes on Wilshire Boulevard west of downtown. There are 53,000 daily boardings with 44 percent of those during rush hours. More people travel along the Wilshire Corridor by bus than by car in peak periods. The currently completed bus only lanes will save transit commuters about two minutes in each direction.

A large chunk of Wilshire is excluded from the project in Beverly Hills and Westwood. An exuberant Metro press release brags that the lanes will “stretch 12.5 miles between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica and will shorten bus commute times by 12-15 minutes.” There is no mention of the Beverly Hills/Westwood shaped hole in the middle of the project. Read more…

3 Comments

Wilshire Repaving to Start This Weekend, Ahead of BRT Design

As I noted previously due to the terrible condition of Wilshire between Fairfax and Wilton repaving of the curb lanes along that portion is being undertaken in advance of the reconstruction of curb lanes to occur as part of the impending Wilshire bus lane project.

Work was supposed to commence in August yet as the end of the month approached nary a sign of any repaving work was apparent. I then came upon an article by Aaron Blevins of the Park LaBrea News/Beverly Press community newspaper explaining “Wilshire repaving may get pushed back to September”.

To learn more about the status of the project I e-mailed Scott Levin-Gesundheit, Communications Deputy in the Office of Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, and he informed me “The weekend of September 8 is looking like the current start date”. Read more…

14 Comments

Recapping the Wilshire Rush Hour Sprint

To go to the map, click on the image.

It was a warm night last May when four racers gathered at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Amherst Boulevard to race. The race would take them east, for three miles to the corner of Wilshire and Beverly Glen Boulevard. The goal? To prove that even during Wilshire’s legendary rush hour, that our chosen mode of transportation was the fastest, the most efficient, and quite simply, the best.

The race teams departed at 6:15. Representing bike riders everywhere was Austin Sos, a UCLA graduate student. Sahra Sulaiman walked for pedestrians, while I rode the Wilshire Rapid on behalf of transit riders everywhere. Mike Gran, a regular Wilshire Boulevard commuter took his truck.

We honestly weren’t sure how the race would turn out. I’d love to tell you we were trying to make a point about bicycles and transit, but we weren’t. It was a real race. We aim to repeat it when the Bus-Only Lane is completed in two years to see how the transit striping changes the traffic patterns.

Thirteen minutes later, the race was over when the first racer arrived at the northwest corner of the finish markers, where we agreed to meet. Four minutes later, the silver medalist arrived. Ten minutes after that, the bronze medal winner crossed the street. After that, it was another 15 minutes before our runner up arrived at 6:57 pm.

Before publishing, I went back to Wilshire and repeated the race at the same time and same places to see if the race was accurate. To see what order people finished, read on after the jump. Read more…

5 Comments

LADOT: Building a Bus Only Lane Isn’t As Easy As It Sounds

Earlier this week I shared the latest on the Wilshire BRT and Gateway Plaza busway station projects.

Several of the commenters posed questions about the length of time the city says is needed for completing the Wilshire lanes. For example, Allison M asked “I’m trying to understand why it will take 2 years to do the upgrades and testing after the engineering is complete? Is this normal for BRT? It seems unnecessarily long.” I passed these queries along to the L.A. Dept. of Transportation, which is taking the lead on the project. Bruce L. Gillman, LADOT’s Director of Public Information, was kind enough to confer with the city staffers working on the project and passed along this response:

The schedule for the Wilshire bus lane project involves multiple City departments that work on the design, construction of the street widening, pavement reconstruction, engineering surveys, analysis and traffic management plan. None of which can be completed in a short period of time. That said, LADOT is working with our partners to expedite this project and will continue to push ahead to make Wilshire bus lanes a reality as soon as possible.

My thanks to Mr. Gillman for the prompt response.