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Where L.A. City Will Add New Bus-Only Lanes

New bus lanes are coming to Broadway, Colorado Blvd., Crenshaw Blvd, Lincoln Blvd., Los Feliz Blvd., Santa Monica Blvd., Valley Blvd., Vermont Avenue, Westwood Blvd., Whittier Blvd. and many more city streets!

Red bus lane on Figueroa Street in downtown L.A. – photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog

With Measure HLA approved, L.A. bus riders are on the verge of seeing many new bus-only lanes throughout the city. Measure HLA requires that, during repaving projects, L.A. City add new bus lanes on transit-priority streets as designated in the city's Mobility Plan 2035 (MP2035), approved in 2015.

Below is a run down of where current bus lanes are, and where HLA/MP2035 will add new ones over time.

Current State of L.A. Bus Lanes

A decade-long Bus Riders Union campaign led to Wilshire Boulevard's bus-only lanes, which total nearly eight miles but have some gaps where well-off areas opposed them. The Wilshire lanes opened in 2013 and 2015.

Downtown L.A. is the region's biggest bus hub and home to most of the region's bus-only lanes. When MyFigueroa bus lanes opened there in 2018, they joined two other stretches of prior bus lanes - on Cesar Chavez Avenue/Sunset Boulevard and two counterflow blocks on Spring Street.

Thanks largely to the leadership of former City Councilmember and Metro Director Mike Bonin, the city Transportation Department (LADOT) and Metro greatly stepped up their bus lane implementation starting in 2019. The agencies collaborated to add many new DTLA bus lanes: 5th and 6th Streets, Aliso Street, Flower Street, Grand Avenue, and Olive Street.

Alvarado Street bus lane

Since 2021, Metro and LADOT have been installing new bus lanes outside downtown, including on Alvarado Street, La Brea Avenue, and Venice Boulevard. Last October, the agencies opened the San Fernando Valley's first bus lanes, mostly on Sepulveda Boulevard, plus a short stretch of Ventura Boulevard.

Bus lane map as of October 2023 - via Metro presentation. Though Metro implemented many new bus lanes in recent years, lane-mile numbers on this slide were slightly exaggerated.

Since 2019, Metro/LADOT added about 25 miles of bus lanes to bring the overall bus lane network total to about 32 miles. (Metro counts these in lane-miles, which currently total about 48 miles.)

Recent bus lanes progress has been great, but many projects have been repeatedly delayed and/or truncated. Few of these projects are easy (many will repurpose space currently dedicated to parking and/or driving), but Measure HLA mandates should help by shifting questions from "Add bus lanes or not?" to "What kind of bus lanes make the most sense here?"

What's in the City Plan

The city's Mobility Plan 2035 designates L.A.'s "Transit Enhanced Network" (TEN), which "covers approximately 300 miles [of streets] throughout the City of Los Angeles." The city objectives for the TEN include to "increase transit mode share" and "reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips."

Most of those 300 miles of TEN streets will get bus lanes, but maybe not quite all.

Transit network streets are classified in three tiers:

  • Tier 3 Comprehensive Transit Enhanced Streets (mapped in red/orange)
  • Tier 2 Moderate Plus Transit Enhanced Streets (orange)
  • Tier 1 Moderate Transit Enhanced Streets (yellow)
L.A. City's approved Transit Enhanced Network - via Mobility Plan 2035 PDF page 155. See also Yes on HLA's easy-to-use web version of this map

While the Mobility Plan makes clear that tier 3 means "full-time bus lanes," tiers 1 and 2 are less well defined. Some plan objectives (e.g. "Provide 95 percent on-time arrival reliability of buses traveling on the Transit Enhanced Network by 2035") imply bus lanes on pretty much all TEN streets.

The plan states that for the entire TEN, streets will receive "enhancements to improve line performance and/or the overall user experience for people who walk and take transit." MP2035 further notes these improvements will "range from streetscape improvements to make walking safer and easier, to transit shelters, or bus lanes."

In recent years, LADOT and Metro have installed new bus lanes on TEN tier 3 (for example, 6th Street), tier 2 (Ventura Boulevard), tier 1 (Sepulveda Boulevard) streets, and non-TEN streets (Aliso, Flower, Hope, Olive).

This post focuses mainly on the clearly HLA-triggered MP2035 tier 3 bus lane streets, plus touches on some additional tier 2 streets.

Downtown
Transit Enhanced Network in downtown L.A.

In Process:

New Bus Lanes in MP2035:

  • The current roughly one mile of 6th Street bus lane will extend to a total of five miles - from Valencia Street (Pico Union) to Indiana Street (in Boyle Heights - the city limit with East L.A.). East of the river, 6th becomes Whittier Boulevard.
  • Nearly ten miles of bus-only lanes are approved for Broadway - from College Street (Chinatown) to Imperial Highway (South L.A.). The grant details are not yet clear, but, this week, Metro secured a $139 million federal Reconnecting Communities grant [fact sheet, map] for "14 miles of bus priority lanes, 23 miles of bus corridor enhancements (i.e. transit signal priority (TSP), all door boarding, and bus shelters)," including along Broadway, as well as Valley Boulevard, Florence Avenue, Olympic Boulevard, and other sites - in L.A. City and other municipalities.
Central Los Angeles
Transit Enhanced Network in central Los Angeles. This post clumps together a lot of central areas, including South L.A., West L.A., Northeast L.A., and more.

In Process:

  • As part of its North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, Metro is adding approved bus-only lanes on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock. Construction is anticipated to get underway this year.
  • Metro is working with the city and county to add new bus lanes on tier 2 Florence Avenue from the K Line to the A Line. Metro announced those lanes were expected to open Fall 2023, but, per Metro's project page, that has been pushed back to Spring 2024.
  • Some new bus lanes on Lincoln Boulevard (MP2035 approved from Santa Monica to LAX) are part of LADOT's Lincoln Fast Forward project. They will connect to Santa Monica's Lincoln bus lanes, installed a half-dozen years ago.
  • Metro has announced that Santa Monica Boulevard bus lanes west of the 405 (see Metro map above) are in process, but no details have been made public. MP2035 adds bus lanes to the two long stretches of SMB in the city: between Sunset and West Hollywood, and between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.
  • The city, utilizing canceled N. 710 Freeway funds, will add bus lanes on Valley Boulevard in northeast Los Angeles.
  • Metro has been studying Vermont Avenue bus lanes and/or BRT (from South L.A. to Hollywood) for more than a decade. The project has some Measure M funding, but no implementation schedule has been announced.

New Bus Lanes in MP2035:

  • Crenshaw Boulevard is slated for bus lanes from Wilshire Boulevard to Exposition Boulevard, connecting to the Metro K Line and dovetailing with that line's planned Northern Extension.
  • Bus lanes are approved for N. Figueroa Street, connecting from the Highland Park A Line Station vicinity to Colorado Boulevard.
  • MP2035 approved more bus lane that what was recently installed on La Brea. The lanes will extend south connecting to the Expo Line. Metro had initially announced that stretch would be installed, but it was delayed, hopefully only temporarily, by City Councilmember Heather Hutt. The La Brea bus lanes will also extend a couple more blocks north to Hollywood Boulevard.
  • Planned bus lanes on Los Feliz Boulevard will extend from Vermont Avenue to the Glendale city limit.
  • A block-long stretch of San Vicente Boulevard (from Venice Boulevard to Pico Boulevard) will get bus lanes.
  • MP2035 includes three westside stretches of Sepulveda Boulevard approved for bus lanes, including north and south of Wilshire which is a short walk/ride to under-construction D Line subway stations.
  • Slauson Avenue is slated for bus lanes extending from the K Line Station (Crenshaw Boulevard) to Central Avenue. Much of this is along the under-construction Rail-to-Rail multiuse path.
  • Venice Boulevard's current bus lanes will extend east into downtown L.A., and west to Venice Beach.
  • Between Wilshire and UCLA, Westwood Boulevard is approved for bus lanes.
  • The workhorse Wilshire Boulevard bus lanes are slated to extend east, and to fill in some holes on the Westside. From their current terminus at Carondelet Street (a block west of MacArthur Park), they will extend east to Valencia Street, which will get a block of bus lanes connecting to 6th Street, taking the bus facility into and through downtown.
  • Other central L.A. streets that make sense for bus lanes include tier 2 TEN streets: 1st Street, 9th Street, Beverly Boulevard, Hoover Street, Huntington Drive, La Cienega Boulevard, Main Street, Martin Luther King Boulevard, Mission Road, Obama Boulevard, Olympic Boulevard, Pico Boulevard, Western Avenue and additional mileage on Alvarado and Cesar Chavez.
San Fernando Valley
Transit Enhanced Network in the San Fernando Valley

In Process:

  • Metro is adding bus lanes on much of tier 2 Roscoe Boulevard as part of its North San Fernando Valley Transit project, at least partially already under construction now. The project includes new bus stop shelters, electric buses, increased service, and other features - on Roscoe and parts of Nordhoff and Osbourne Streets.

New Bus Lanes in MP2035:

  • In MP2035, the only definitely-bus-lane Valley street is Van Nuys Boulevard. That is where Metro has already started building its East San Fernando Valley light rail project (much better than a bus lane). The new rail line will run at-grade in the middle of Van Nuys Boulevard, from San Fernando Road to the G Line. North of the light rail, in Pacoima, the stretch of Van Nuys Boulevard between San Fernando Road and Glenoaks Boulevard will get bus lanes.
  • Other Valley streets that make sense for bus lanes (perhaps prioritizing higher ridership stretches) include tier 2 TEN stretches of: Chatsworth Street, Canoga Avenue, Lankershim Boulevard, Reseda Boulevard, and additional portions of Sepulveda and Ventura Boulevards.
Harbor Area
Transit Enhanced Network in the Harbor area

There are no bus lane projects Streetsblog is aware of in the Harbor area, nor are there any tier 3 definite-bus-lane streets approved there. Only portions of Anaheim and Gaffey Streets were included in the city's Transit Enhanced Network.

Wilshire Boulevard bus lane

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