July 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Wilshire peak-hour bus lanes now open on Westside

Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Mike Bonin were among those in attendance at ribbon cutting ceremony April 8 for the new bus-exclusive lanes along Wilshire Blvd. during peak hours.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Mike Bonin were among those in attendance at ribbon cutting ceremony April 8
for the new bus-exclusive lanes along Wilshire Blvd. during peak hours.

An extra five miles of Wilshire Boulevard began to function as bus-exclusive lanes during peak hours on Wednesday, April 8, as part of phase two of the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

The project, in short, has been seeking to convert curb lanes into bus-only lanes during rush hour since 2010 to increase efficiency and reliability within BRT ridership.

Metro said the Wilshire BRT project is “intended to improve bus passenger travel times, service reliability, ridership of the existing Wilshire BRT system, and encourage a shift from automobile use to public transit,” with the ultimate goal of improving travel times by an average of 24 percent.

The newly initiated bus lanes will be bus-exclusive during the morning and afternoon rush hours of 7 am to 9 am and 4 pm and 7 pm. Spanning a considerable amount of Los Angeles, the lanes stretch from Western Avenue to San Vicente Boulevard, from the western border of Beverly Hills to Comstock Avenue, from Selby Avenue to Veteran Avenue and from Bonsall Avenue to Federal Avenue.

The lanes will linking another 1.8 miles of lanes that serve the same function and opened in summer 2013 near MacArthur Park between Western Avenue and Park View Street. Collectively the lanes will cut as much as 15 minutes from the average ridership commute, as well as easing the flow of traffic, according to Metro officials.

Vehicles that need to make right turns are allowed into the bus lanes near the intersection. During non-peak hours, other motorists are able to use the lanes.

Since the project has been moving forward in collaboration with the City and County of Los Angeles and is being funded by a federal grant, city leaders gathered to celebrate the opening of the new lanes last week.

Among the city dignitaries present was Councilmember Mike Bonin (District 11), who serves as on Metro’s Board of Directors and is the chair of the Council’s Transportation Committee.

Bonin deemed the addition of the peak-hour bus-only lanes as a “major step forward in creating a functional transit network in Los Angeles,” emphasizing the necessity to “create a range of easy, convenient, and safe transportation choices” so that the single-occupancy vehicle is no longer the prominent option of travel.

“The measure of our success will be how many people we move from Point A to Point B, not how many cars,” Bonin explained.

The Councilmember said that he looked forward “to the day when Santa Monica and Beverly Hills approve the lanes to the BRT line is fully functional.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti has said that the lanes will help promote “Wilshire Boulevard’s transit usage by turning L.A.’s most active corridor into a fast and reliable bus route for tens and thousands of riders traveling daily between downtown and the Westside.”

Garcetti chairs the Metro board of directors with the mission to “ease traffic flow and cut air pollution” by providing Angelenos with more transportation choices.

Ultimately, the project will stretch approximately 12.5 miles on Wilshire Boulevard, starting from Valencia Street near the Harbor (110) Freeway and extending to Centinela Avenue near the Santa Monica city border. Along the Wilshire corridor, transit ridership is projected to increase between 15 percent and 20 percent, according to metro.net.

In addition to bus lane conversions, general improvements including traffic lane restriping, selective street widening, curb lane reconstruction, and traffic/transit signage installation have been and will be implemented as necessary.

For more information on the Wilshire BRT Project, call 323.GO.METRO or visit metro.net.

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