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Metro Board Approves Revised Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (FEIR/EA) for the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit Project

ARCHIVE MODE

Thursday May 26, 2011

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors today approved the Revised Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (FEIR/EA) for the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project.

In approving and certifying the FEIR/EA, the Board approved staff's recommendation which proposes to implement rush hour curbside bus lanes along 7.7 miles of Wilshire Boulevard, mostly in the City of Los Angeles. The adopted preferred alternative reduces the length of the bus lanes by one mile between Comstock Avenue and Selby Avenue.

The peak-hour bus lanes will operate between the hours of 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays only between Wilshire and Centinela and Wilshire and South Park View (excluding a one mile segment between Comstock and Selby Avenues). Bicycles and private vehicles turning right can use the lanes. Buses will be restricted to the curb lane to pass when necessary. There would not be any bus lane on the portion of Wilshire Boulevard in the City of Beverly Hills.

Wilshire Boulevard is the busiest bus corridor in Los Angeles County with over 80,000 bus boardings talking place along the corridor each weekday. In addition to being the most heavily used transit corridor in the County, Wilshire Boulevard has the distinction of having some of the highest average daily traffic volumes in the City of Los Angeles. Approximately 110,000 automobiles pass through the intersections of Westwood Boulevard, Gayley Avenue and Veteran Avenue each weekday in the Westwood area.

 With implementation of the bus lanes, it is estimated that 9 to 14 minutes will be shaved off the trip along the bus lanes and that up to 10 percent of motorists could shift to bus use.

The Wilshire BRT Project will consist of a number of general improvements to Wilshire Boulevard including restriping of traffic lanes, conversion of existing curb lanes to bus lanes in each direction during peak periods, upgrade the existing transit signal priority system, street widening between Bonsall Avenue and Barrington Avenue, reconstruction/resurfacing of curb lanes in select areas and the installation of traffic/transit signage and pavement markings, as necessary, to implement dedicated peak period bus lanes.

The goals and objectives of the project are:

  • Improve bus passenger travel times by allowing buses to travel in dedicated peak-hour bus lanes for the majority of the alignment between Valencia Street to the east and Centinela Avenue to the west.
  • Improve bus service reliability by separating buses from the already high levels of corridor traffic congestion.
  • Improve traffic flow along Wilshire Boulevard.
  • Repave the curb lanes along damaged portions of Wilshire Boulevard to allow their effective use by buses during peak periods and by both buses and automobiles during non-peak periods.
  • Encourage shift from automobile use to public transit by continuing to attract new transit riders.
  • Help improve air quality in Los Angeles County with the reduction in mobile source emissions resulting from a mode shift from automobile use to bus use
  • Minimize impacts to existing on-street parking.

Total cost of the project is $31.5 million with the federal share of the project being $23.3 million. Both the Los Angeles City Council and County Board of Supervisors will also have to approve the project. The project could be completed by mid-2013.

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