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Remember way back when red painted bus-only lanes were just some experimental treatment, only good enough for places like
New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Denver, Portland, Seattle, San Diego County, San Francisco, and ...? Those red bus lanes that used to be dismissed by city traffic engineers with their heads in their car-centric Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) rulebooks? SBLA editor Joe Linton is old enough to remember when this L.A. City dismissal applied to protected bike lanes, continental "zebra" crosswalks, parklets, plazas, green bike lane pavement, sharrows, open streets events crossing railroad tracks... but that's another story.
Well, there are now red bus-only lanes in Los Angeles!
So far they are only at LAX, implemented as part of the
LAX-it airport traffic retool in late October, 2019.
Soon thereafter, in December, 2019,
national transportation engineers approved the red paint bus lane treatment for broader usage. Today it is no longer a cumbersome experimental treatment, but has "interim approval" in the MUTCD.
Despite some panic over
bus lanes planned in Eagle Rock and the North San Fernando Valley, 2019 was a pretty good year, by city of L.A. standards, for new bus-only lanes. Downtown L.A. got the excellent Flower Street peak-hour bus lane. And LAX introduced L.A. drivers to the red paint treatment. More bus lanes are coming, probably fairly soon. At the direction of the Metro board and the L.A. City Council, Metro and the L.A. City Department of Transportation are meeting to plan bus speed improvements, which could precede or coincide with NextGen Bus Service reorganization. Metro's latest estimates show on-the-ground bus improvements starting in December, 2020, and split into three phases, with the latter improvements coming in June and December of 2021. Like the Flower Street bus lanes, enforcement is important for making bus lanes work. In December, LAX had security officers present to keep drivers out of the bus lane.
Readers - where else in Southern California would like to red paint bus lanes?