Eyes on the Street: “YES, L.A.! YES, BUSES!”

"LA" marks the spot in the peak-hour bus-only lane. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog
“LA” marks the spot in the peak-hour carpool/bus-only lane. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

It’s raining, in case you didn’t notice.

Which can make the streets a bit dreary. And lonely, as everyone is busy hiding under things to stay dry instead of looking at what’s going on around them.

As I rode my bike home from a meeting, I realized that the only people I was making eye contact with were those staring forlornly at me from beneath palm fronds, ficus trees, newspapers, awnings, or whatever else they could find to shelter under as they waited for the bus.

Rainy season is the least fun time to be a bus rider.

But, then I reached Sunset Blvd. and I had to smile.

Several weeks ago, I noticed that the Dodger logo had been painted on the peak-hour carpool/bus-only lane. The re-designation of the lane earlier this year had already made my commute westward up the hill a lot more comfortable, especially at rush-hour. The addition of the logo multiplied my happiness exponentially.

Not because I’m a Dodger, or even a baseball, fan — I’m not, really — but because it felt like the lane was unabashedly proclaiming, “YES, L.A.! YES, BUSES!” for all to see. Like only the cool kids could ride in the L.A. lane and everyone else was unworthy.

It’s so rare that buses get that kind of fanfare.

But what if more bus-only lanes got that kind of treatment? What if all such lanes were decorated with celebratory symbols? They could be representative of the communities they moved through, images of happy people on buses, or positive images promoting environmental consciousness (smiling earths, happy polar bears, etc.).

I am quite sure that there is no budget for anything of the sort. And, as I wrote previously, doing a bit of splurging on the stops should be one of the first priorities. But, maybe enhancing the visual appearance of lanes is something the city should be thinking about, too. The logos along Sunset are clearly intended to demonstrate and/or instill LA/Dodger pride while making the taking of public transit to a game feel like a more attractive and special experience. Isn’t that what we ultimately want to see across the whole system?

What say you? Am I the only one who gets a kick out of prideful and shouty bus lanes?

  • davistrain

    That is cool! My daughters and I have been Dodger fans for many years, and it’s good to see the bus service getting some “respect”. The other day the Times had an article about the inordinate amount of time one family takes to get around because they don’t have a car and have to ride buses. There was a “There but for the grace of God go I” element to the story.
    (Historical note: The Dodgers trace their name to street railway transportation. When the team started in Brooklyn about a hundred years ago, they went through several names until the nickname “Trolley Dodgers” was applied to them, because in those days, many of the streets in Brooklyn had trolley service, moreso than Manhattan. Even after they moved to Los Angeles, when they played in the Coliseum before their own park was built, that venue had trolley service from one of the few surving “Yellow Car” lines.)

  • Roadblock

    I’m wondering how it was so easy for the city to apparently violate MUTCD to put up a private sporting event logo on the street but when it comes to maintaining green bike lanes or god forbid trying out some non standard bike markings to help clear up a difficult path they shrivel. yep. I’m a grinch.

  • sahra

    I’ll admit, I kinda scratched my head when I first saw the logos. I don’t know much about MUTCD or where this fits in, but it did occur to me that this was a first. And then I realized I didn’t actually care because I honestly find myself saying “YAY, L.A.!” every time I ride over one. Often out loud. And since it helps stake out the lane as separate from travel lanes, I’m grateful for it. What I’m saying is I totally understand your larger point, but I can’t get over the fact that I am kind of a sucker for these…

  • andrelot

    What about taking all money from “splurging on buses” and using it on light rail and subways instead of dirty buses who don’t even use electricity?

  • LetsGoLA

    Naw, they’re definitely cool!

  • El Barto

    Needs to be modified… Stay tuned… ;)

  • El Barto

    By the way, is it actually a car pool lane now too?

  • sahra

    yes, for four or more per car.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Of course, depending on where Metro lines pull their power from, the CNG-powered buses may actually be more emissions friendly than rail … for the moment, that is. Once more and more power is generated from renewables, that may change.

  • andrelot

    You are wrong, since the efficiency of electric motors is above 98% whereas the best internal combustion engine doesn’t reach 38%.

  • Alex Brideau III

    That may indeed be a good argument to make when LADOT balks at future “non-standard” markings!

  • Alex Brideau III

    Ah.

  • Alex Brideau III

    It also helps that these bus-only lanes are pretty well enforced on gamedays, to the extent that most stadium-bound buses receive what amounts to a Sheriff motorcycle escort, citing and/or warning drivers they catch illegally using the bus lanes. Now, if only this could be done during regular rush hours as well!

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