New bus lane debuts on Aliso Street in DTLA to speed up bus trips

As any bus rider knows, there can be places along many routes that are well known for gumming up traffic and time munching delays.

One of those bottlenecks is getting a fix courtesy of the city of Los Angeles, which is partnering with Metro on a new bus lane on a quarter-mile stretch of Aliso Street in downtown L.A.

The bus lane should be especially helpful for riders headed from downtown L.A. to the San Gabriel Valley and Cal State L.A. Among the many bus lines that use Aliso Street are some heavyweights including Metro’s J Line (Silver), the 487 and 489 Lines and Foothill Transit’s popular Silver Streak. At peak times, up to 61 buses an hour use this stretch of Aliso Street.

City work crews install rubber bus curbs that help keep regular traffic out of the bus lane.

Aliso Street runs along the south side of the 101 freeway and is used by buses heading toward Union Station and the 10 freeway. With a bus lane already on Spring Street and a bus-only left turn lane from Aliso to Alameda Street, the new lane will improve travel time and reliability by creating continuous bus priority lanes from the DTLA Civic Center to El Monte Bus Station. 

The new bus lane — which will be in operation around-the-clock every day of the year — will replace the existing curb lane. Cyclists can use the bus lane as well as motorists who are making right turns from Aliso.

From a bigger picture perspective, this project is a key step by Mayor Eric Garcetti, key city departments and Metro to build a better transit network in DTLA. The city of L.A. opened bus lanes on 5th and 6th Streets between Flower Street and Central Avenue this past summer and also made permanent the bus lane on Flower Street in the southern part of DTLA.

The city and Metro are continuing to work together to identify other locations for bus lanes and other infrastructure to help buses avoid getting stuck in traffic. Such upgrades are also part of Metro’s NextGen Bus Plan to restructure our vast bus system, greatly increase the frequency of most routes and shave travel times. During the NextGen Bus Study, we heard from both riders and bus operators alike that this short segment on Aliso resulted in significant bus delay. 

The Metro Board of Directors is scheduled to consider NextGen this fall.