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Metro to Start Wilshire Boulevard Peak-Period, Bus-Only Lane Demonstration Project March 1

Thursday February 19, 2004

(Los Angeles) - The next generation of MTA's popular Metro Rapid bus service is set to debut March 1 with a project aimed at demonstrating the benefits of bus-only lanes to bus operations and traffic flow. The project will reserve curbside lanes for buses during morning and afternoon peak hours (7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.) on both sides of a frequently congested one-mile section of Wilshire Boulevard in West Los Angeles between Federal Avenue and the Santa Monica city line at Centinela Avenue.

  • One Mile of Curbside Lanes to be Reserved During Peak Service Hours

"Metro Rapid has reduced the travel time of passengers as much as 25 percent," said Roger Snoble, MTA chief executive officer. "This demonstration project will tell us how much more time our passengers can expect to save if their buses aren't competing for space with other vehicles in regular traffic lanes."

In addition, local service Metro buses and Line 2 buses operated by Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, a partner in the demonstration project, will also use the curbside lanes and benefit from the project.

The 13-block stretch of Wilshire Boulevard was chosen, in part, because limiting curbside lanes to buses during peak hours would not adversely impact automobiles, which currently do not operate in those lanes. In fact, Metro planners expect automobile drivers to experience a smoother and safer traffic flow because buses will operate in their own dedicated lane except when needing to pass local service buses in operation or other vehicles illegally parked in the curbside lane.

The peak-period bus-only lanes will be set off by a solid white line and by white dashed lines at approaches to intersections. Other vehicles will only be allowed to enter curbside lanes to make right turns at intersections or to turn into off-street parking lots.

Various signs, including a large overhead sign near Federal Avenue, will mark the project area and indicate restrictions to motorists. Enforcement of restrictions on parking, stopping and loading during peak periods by non-transit vehicles will be a key feature of the project. Parking will be available during off-peak periods.

The Los Angeles City Council approved the demonstration project in November 2003. MTA and Los Angeles City and County officials will closely monitor the project, which will be evaluated at the end of six months for possible future application on similarly congested streets.

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