First part of Wilshire peak hour bus lanes to begin on June 5

WBRT with Text Bubbles_2013-02-08 (1)

This is a Metro project that the city of Los Angeles is building. The Metro Board approved the 7.7 miles of peak hour bus lanes on parts of Wilshire within the city of L.A. back in May 2011. The first part to be built will be the easternmost section, shown above in pink between South Park View and Western.

Here’s the news release from Metro:

A comprehensive plan to shorten bus trips between downtown and Santa Monica on one of the busiest traffic corridors in Los Angeles County starts Monday, May 13 as the first phase of work begins on new, bus lanes along Wilshire Boulevard from MacArthur Park to Western Avenue.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) bus lanes have been initially designated for a 1.8-mile stretch in both directions along Wilshire. Contractors will remove lane striping next week, mark and install long-line striping May 20-24, mark pavement with “Bus Only” messages and install “Bus Lane” signs May 29-June 1.

The new bus lanes become effective 7 a.m. Wednesday, June 5. Only transit buses will be permitted to use the lanes during peak hours of 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. weekdays. Drivers of cars and trucks are subject to a citation if driving in BRT lanes during those hours.  All vehicles are permitted to use bus lanes during off-peak hours and on weekends. To acquaint motorists with the new lanes, a short period will be observed when warnings may be issued.

When the entire Wilshire Boulevard BRT project is completed in late 2014, it is designed to cut bus commute times by 15 minutes on 12.5 miles between downtown and Centinela Avenue in Santa Monica. Street improvements and selective street widening will be made along 9.9 miles of Wilshire Boulevard with BRT lanes on 7.7 miles.

BRT bus lanes are used in New York, Chicago and Boston to improve travel times and service reliability, encourage automobile drivers to shift to public transit and improve air quality.

During peak hours, Metro operates buses every two minutes on Wilshire Boulevard west of downtown. There are 53,000 daily boardings with 44 percent of those during rush hours.

The Wilshire Boulevard BRT is funded by a $23.3 federal grant combined with an $8.2 million local match from the city of Los Angeles.

13 replies

  1. @ Warren and @ Steve —
    It is much faster to take the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Rapid 10 (45-50 minutes) from downtown to Bundy, according to Google Maps transit. No transfer required.

  2. How much time does it take now to go from Downtown to Centinela Avenue in Santa Monica?

    • Hi Warren;

      Depends on the route. But if you take Purple Line from downtown and transfer to 720 and exit Bundy (closest to Centinela), about 75 minutes on average. The Purple Line Extension to Westwood/VA will shorten that considerably — it will be about 25 minute train ride to VA and then transfer to bus there.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. BTW, LA already bus-only lanes in several locations, such as Broadway in downtown.

    • Hi Malcolm;

      You are correct – curb lanes frequently have parking in many cities, although are often used as extra traffic lanes during rush hour (especially in L.A.). One chronic issue involving the creation of more bus lanes — especially full-time ones — is whether to convert a traffic lane or a parking lane to the new bus lane.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. I’ll believe it when I see it. This has been dangled by Metro in front of the transit using public for far far too long to still have any credibility. And like the Wilbur Bike Lanes, this will only last as long as the local city councillor ascents to it. Moving cars is still the percieved priority of the City of Los Angeles.

    • Hi David;

      Good question — another cyclists asked us on our Twitter account. I’ll try to find out the rules of the road from the city of L.A. and get a post up well before the lane opens.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. Wow this is great news!! Westwood is painful from 5pm-7pm.

    Of course Beverly Hills isn’t participating. Big surprise.

    • Hi Oren;

      Under the current schedule, which is subject to change, the entire 7.7 miles of bus lanes would open in late 2014.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source