First installment of federal funding secured for Wilshire bus lane project

Some good news out of Washington today: Metro received word that $9.7 million in federal funding for the Wilshire bus lane project has been secured. The project, approved by the Metro Board of Directors this past spring, will add 7.7 miles of peak hour bus lanes to portions of Wilshire, mostly within the city of Los Angeles.

The $9.7 million is the first of two installments that Metro is expected to receive in $23.3 million of Very Small Starts funding, a program run by the Federal Transit Administration to help pay for transit projects. Attentive readers will recall there was concern during the project’s planning stages that shortening the lanes slightly could impact federal funding but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Construction of the lanes is expected to start next year, with an opening date scheduled for 2013. Here’s the news release from Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein:

Feinstein, Boxer Announce $9.7 Million for Bus Rapid Transit in Los Angeles

Will create dedicated bus lanes along Wilshire Boulevard

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) today announced a $9.7 million grant for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to enhance bus rapid transit on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.

This award was the result of funding that Senator Feinstein secured in the fiscal year 2009 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.

Senator Feinstein said, “This Bus Rapid Transit project will reduce travel time on one of Los Angeles’ most important transit routes and enhance the effectiveness of public transportation in Southern California.”

Senator Boxer said, “This important investment will help ease congestion along one of the busiest routes in Los Angeles, reducing pollution and helping thousands of residents get to school and work more quickly each day.”

This project will implement dedicated bus lanes along portions of a 12.5 mile section of Wilshire Boulevard between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. The bus-only lanes will be used exclusively by Bus Rapid Transit service during rush hour and are expected to reduce travel time by 25 percent compared to current service.

Wilshire Boulevard is one of the most important transit corridors in Los Angeles County with approximately 93,000 bus boardings each day.

10 replies

  1. Once the Purple Line extension of the Westside Subway is complete and operational, the Wilshire Bus lane will become partially redundant and irrelevant!

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  2. Good for them, but I like my BBB Line 10 express route for westside travel better since I get there faster.

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  3. @Morris l. Warren I see it more as a way to repave Wilshire blvd which it desperately needs. There will be time savings, and the Subway won’t be online for decades without America Fast Forward. We need this Public Works Project today, and it’ll fill in the gaps in-between the Purple Line Stations in the Future (i.e. 2nd place prize for the eliminated Crenshaw Station)

    It’s a shame that these projects aren’t already underway. No wonder Measure R and the Federal Government footing the bill is getting more and more negative responses.

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  4. Bus lanes are not redundant to existing infrastructure. It’s like saying Wilshire boulevard is redundant to 7th street, 8th street, 9th street, etc…

    London has bus lanes AND the underground running on the same route in sections. This is just providing commuters with more options.

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  5. Is this doing anything else besides adding bus lanes? Seems like an awful lot of money just for some white stripes. Is this widening sidewalks, adding trees, or adding bikelanes? This seems like a good opportunity to turn Wilshire into a complete street.

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  6. According to one of the EIR reports, it mentions that bicycle riders could use the entire bus only lane as well. I’m no anti-cyclists being a cyclist myself, but won’t slow cyclists slow down the buses?

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