Revised environmental impact report released for Wilshire bus lane project


The map shows the alternative for the project recommended by Metro staff. Click above to see a larger view of the map.

A Revised Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) was released today for the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit Project.

The project seeks to add a peak hour bus lane in each direction, and other improvements to parts of Wilshire Boulevard in the city and county of Los Angeles from the Santa Monica-L.A. border to just west of downtown L.A.

In the Revised FEIR, the project recommended by Metro staff includes bus lanes for 7.7 miles of Wilshire from the Santa Monica/L.A. border to just east of Westwood Boulevard, from Comstock Avenue to the western border of Beverly Hills, and from San Vicente Boulevard to South Park View Street, just west of downtown. Metro planning officials say that the bus lanes would shave an average of 11 minutes off the time it takes buses to travel the length of the bus lane corridor, although drive times for autos along the corridor would increase by an average of six minutes.

The preferred alternative also excludes bus lanes along an one-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard. The segment, between Selby and Comstock, is known as Condo Canyon for its many tall condo buildings. In that area, one of three regular traffic lanes would have been converted to a peak hour bus lane. Residents complained that would greatly harm traffic.

When the Metro Board of Directors first considered the FEIR in December, they responded by asking Metro staff to revise the project’s FEIR to evaluate the project without the Condo Canyon segment.

Metro is the lead agency on the project, but it also must be approved by the city of Los Angeles and the county of Los Angeles. In February, the L.A. City Council asked Metro to also evaluate the project without any bus lanes west of Beverly Hills because of resident concerns the bus lanes could harm traffic in the Brentwood area.

As a result, the Revised FEIR also studied the impacts of only having 5.4 miles of bus lanes east of Beverly Hills. However, the project benefits would not be as great as those with the 7.7 miles of bus lanes proposed with the preferred alternative. The longer length would serve more transit riders and do a better job of improving passenger travel times and service reliability during rush hour.

It will ultimately be up to the Metro Board of Directors and Los Angeles City Council to decide what parts of Wilshire are included in the project. The Board is scheduled to take up the issue at their May meeting.



8 replies

  1. Ditto on Y Fukuzawa’s points. Also, not having any bus only lanes in Santa Monica is a huge problem because it is the one area that is not going to be covered by the purple line (at least for a while that is). This leaves the entire area west of the VA hospital station (effectively wilshire/federal) completely devoid of any sort of improved transit and yet it is such an important part of Wilshire which goes all the way to downtown SM and is vital in connecting well with the purple line. That stretch of wilshire is still pretty bad traffic wise and it would be nice to at least make up for the lack of a subway with some improved bus service that connects well to it.

  2. In order for the wilshire bus only lanes to really be effective the buses need to have signal priority like they do in Curtiba and Bogota BRT systems. This will allow the buses to have comparable speeds to light rail (the Rapid Buses I hope) but not the same capacity.

  3. And what part of “buses still get stuck at traffic lights just as any other car” does LA not get yet?

    The Silver Line of the Boston MTA is the best example of a true bus only lane: no traffic lights on its own dedicated lane, provides the same point to point efficiency as a rail, but at the fraction of a cost of building a true rail line.

    In order for this to work, the entire Wilshire bus only lane must be free of ever becoming stuck at any traffic signal.

    Otherwise, I don’t see this as being any effective than the car.

  4. We need both a subway and bus-only lanes on Wilshire boulevard. It’s our main commercial corridor in Los Angeles. We should provide as many public transit alternatives as possible.

  5. Let’s not forget that LADOT’s Kang Hu surveyed traffic on Wilshire and found that the Rapid buses carry 20% MORE passengers through the corridor during rush hours than all the cars combined. (29,000 passengers on the buses vs. 24,000 in cars.)

    Which makes it ridiculous to prioritize cars, a far less efficient use of expensive road space, over the buses.

    Can LA ever grow up?

  6. How much of this project would be done, then reworked within a couple of years to accommodate Purple Line extensions? How short term are these recommended solutions?

    • Hi Matt;

      This project would be finished far ahead of the Westside Subway Extension. I don’t believe it would need to be reworked at all — the idea is to speed bus travel along Wilshire within the city of L.A. and that will help serve bus stops and neighborhoods between the train stations.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  7. “improvements to parts of Wilshire Boulevard in the city and county of Los Angeles”

    As all of Wilshire Blvd. from Ocean in Santa Monica to S. Grand in downtown L.A. is located in the county of Los Angeles, your above sentence should refer to the portions of Wilshire in still un-incoporated Los Angles County (i.e. the part of Wilshire that passes the VA/Old Soldiers Home/Veterans National Cemetery between Veteran and Federal.