New timelines for Wilshire bus lane project

When we last checked in with the Wilshire rush hour bus lane project, the completion date that we posted was 2013. But Dana Gabbard at L.A. Streetsblog had a post Friday saying that the completion date for the project is now 2015.

The project will put 7.7 miles of rush hour bus lanes on portions of Wilshire Boulevard in the city of Los Angeles, from Brentwood to just west of downtown Los Angeles. The idea — and I think it’s a good one — is to speed up bus service on Wilshire, which is Metro’s busiest bus corridor.

Metro helped plan the project with the city and Los Angeles County. The city of Los Angeles is taking the lead on constructing the project, which includes some selective pavement reconstruction and street widening along Wilshire and updating the transit priority system, among other upgrades. From an Oct. 9 city report:

Extensive roadway improvements on Wilshire Boulevard, including curb lane reconstruction and selective street widening, will be done before the bus lanes are installed. Design and engineering is scheduled to be completed by June 2013, followed by construction of roadway
improvements, traffic mitigation measures, Transit Priority System upgrades, and bus lane striping and signage. The project is expected to be completed and operational by June 2015.

A spokesman for the city’s transportation agency told Streetsblog that the city will try to finish the work earlier than 2015. In more recent discussions with the city, they now believe they may be able to have it completed by the end of 2014. One obvious question this raises: will the bus lanes project be under construction at the same time that construction for the first leg of the Westside Subway Extension is getting underway?

Answer: It remains to be seen. The subway project is on track to have its environmental impact studies approved in early 2012. At that point, we should have a better idea of funding and the construction timeline for the first segment, which is supposed to go to Fairfax.

On an unrelated note, Streetsblog also reported that the new Silver Line station at Union Station – here’s a good rendering — will be completed in 2015. That is incorrect. The ExpressLanes project on the San Bernardino Freeway and El Monte Busway is still scheduled to open in 2013, with the Silver Line station scheduled for a 2014 opening, according to Metro staff.

5 replies

  1. Having suffered a truly unpleasant Wilshire ride on the 720 rapid this evening, the project can’t come soon enough. For an hour (!) between Beverly Hills and Downtown, with the crappy fake-news program on the bus PA blaring through my in-ear buds, and my bones rattling on the broken boulevard, all I could think about was how soon would the ride end. And now we’ll wait until 2015 for dedicated lanes? Ugh.

  2. The 2015 date for the busway station was based on the original staff report. The revised report reflecting the recent FTA grant and the new timeline for completition in 2014 wasn’t posted online until recently.

  3. Yeah, I agree that the timeline is ludicrous for such a simple project as far as infrastructure is concerned. I think one of the reasons for this is because the workable hours on this project will be limited in order to avoid impacting traffic. Also I think the bus lanes should always be active and not just for rush our. It’s not like that’s the only time of day there is gridlock on Wilshire, I mean c’mon now.

  4. What is the reasoning behind the two year increase to the estimated completion date? I thought the federal money was a done deal.

  5. I think one of the biggest problems that people have with transportation project is that they take way too long to complete, and the Wilshire Rush Hour Bus Lane project is just the latest example. I wouldn’t bet a dime on the 2015 finish date or the 2014 Silver Line Union Station stop, either.