Metro’s planning staff have issued their recommendations for the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit Project, which proposes to install rush hour bus lanes in the curb lane of 8.7 miles of Wilshire Boulevard, mostly in the city of Los Angeles.
Here’s the staff report. This is a project being built by Metro, the city of L.A. and Los Angeles County.
It will be up to the Metro Board of Directors to approve the staff recommendation, which is part of the project’s final environmental impact report. The Directors are scheduled to consider the project at the Planning & Programming Committee next Wednesday and to vote on accepting the staff proposal at the full board meeting on Dec. 9. Both the Los Angeles City Council and County Board of Supervisors will also have to approve the project.
A few details on what Metro planning staff are proposing:
•The bus lanes would be mostly in the curb lane of Wilshire and be operating on weekdays between the hours of 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 and 7 p.m.
•The lanes would run between Wilshire & Centinela and Wilshire & South Park View, a distance of 8.7 miles. Private vehicles turning right can use the lanes. Conversely, buses will be allowed to use general purpose lanes to pass other buses.
•There would not be any bus lane in the portion of Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Metro staff says they didn’t have time to consult with the city before applying for federal funding for the project in 2007 but that the bus lane could be added there in the future.
•The parking lane and the curbside jut outs on Wilshire between Comstock and Malcolm in the Westwood area would be retained and not converted to a bus lane. This is being done because of neighborhood concerns over the loss of about 85 parking spaces on Wilshire and 40 trees that would have had to be removed. The furthest right of the general traffic lanes in this area — there are three in each direction — will be used for the bus lane.
•Although residents have requested that there be no bus lane between Selby Avenue and Comstock Avenue, Metro has decided the bus lane here is needed to reduce bus travel times and improve service reliability.
•The eastern end of the bus lane is at South Park View because east of there Wilshire narrows to two lanes in each direction with no median. Converting one of the lanes to a bus lane would only leave one general purpose lane — leaving no room for private vehicles to pass one another.
•Of the 74 intersections studied, the project would increase traffic delays at nine intersections near or along Wilshire, due in part to traffic signals being reworked to help move buses along Wilshire. Most of the delays are estimated at less than 15 seconds. The intersections impacted are Veteran & Sunset, Bundy & Wilshire, Veteran & Santa Monica, Westwood & Olympic, Westwood & Pico, Beverly Glen & Santa Monica, Fairfax & Wilshire, La Brea & Wilshire and Overland & Santa Monica.
•The project is estimated to cost an estimated $31 million with about $23 million coming from a “Very Small Starts” grant from the Federal Transit Administration. The project could be complete by mid-2012.
•The number of people using curb lanes in private vehicles at this time is at about 1,000 people an hour com compared 1,500 or so on Metro buses (although that includes the soon-to-be-eliminated 920 line). The bus lanes could increase that number to 1,800 an hour, according to Metro staff.
Here’s a previous post from June with more about the project.