Metro, the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County are considering the feasibility of implementing a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project on Wilshire Boulevard. A joint document, consisting of a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA), has been prepared to meet State and Federal environmental requirements. The document examines the potential for dedicated curbside bus lanes during the morning and evening rush hours. The project area includes portions of Wilshire Boulevard from just west of downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica city line, excluding the City of Beverly Hills.
Why was an EIR/EA Prepared?
Metro, the City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County began evaluating the proposed Wilshire BRT Project in November 2008 as part of preparing an Initial Study/Environmental Assessment (IS/EA). In November 2008, four community meetings were held to view a presentation regarding the Wilshire BRT Project and submit questions and/or comments for the technical team to incorporate. These meetings were attended by well over 300 residents and stakeholders. In consideration of input received at those and further analysis of the proposed project, an Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA) was determined to be the more appropriate document under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
In October 2009, four public scoping meetings were conducted by Metro and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) to present the proposed project to the public. The public scoping meetings, and the associated public comment period, solicited public comment on the proposed project, project alternatives, as well as any issues that should be addressed in the Draft EIR/EA. The Draft EIR/EA for the Wilshire BRT Project is now complete.
What is the purpose of the EIR/EA?
The Draft EIR’s purpose is to evaluate the social, economic, and environmental issues associated with the Wilshire BRT Project and alternatives to the project in accordance with CEQA. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared as a joint document with the EIR. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is the lead agency for the EA. The Draft EIR/EA describes the project and its alternatives, and also evaluates the environmental effects of the project and the alternatives.
Purpose and Need for the Project
The Wilshire corridor is the most heavily used transit corridor in Los Angeles County. In addition to being a crucial transit corridor, it also has some of the highest average daily traffic volumes in the City of Los Angeles. This same congestion also slows buses, increases travel time and decreases service reliability for transit customers, while increasing operating costs for Metro.
The Wilshire BRT Project is intended to improve the passenger travel times, service reliability, and ridership of the existing bus service along Wilshire Boulevard. Once implemented, passenger travel times are expected to improve by an average of 24 percent. Based on the travel time improvements and associated ridership increases experienced with the Metro Rapid Program to-date, transit ridership along the Wilshire corridor is anticipated to grow significantly as a result of the proposed project.
A majority of the project falls within the mid-western area of the City of Los Angeles, and includes 9.7 miles of peak period curbside bus lanes. A small portion of the project, between Veteran Avenue and Federal Avenue (approximately 0.8 miles), near the Veterans Administration facilities, is within Los Angeles County jurisdiction.
A number of general improvements are required as part of the proposed project, including:
- restriping of traffic lanes, as necessary;
- conversion of existing curb lanes to peak period bus lanes in each direction;
- upgrade of the existing transit signal priority system;
- selective street widening;
- curb lane reconstruction/resurfacing in select areas; and
- installation of traffic/transit signage and pavement markings, as necessary.
No Project Alternative
Under the No Project Alternative, there would be no improvements implemented to 9.7 miles of the Wilshire corridor included under the proposed project. Specifically, the proposed restriping and widening of some existing portions of the Wilshire corridor would not occur. The No Project Alternative would not include the conversion of existing curb lanes to bus lanes in each direction during peak periods; upgrade of the existing transit signal priority system; selective street widening; street reconstruction/resurfacing in select areas; and, installation of traffic/transit signage and pavement markings, as necessary, to implement dedicated peak period bus lanes.
Alternative A: Truncated Project Without Jut-Out Removal
This alternative would include 8.7-miles of peak period curbside bus lanes from the Wilshire Boulevard/S. Park View Street intersection to the Wilshire Boulevard/Centinela Avenue intersection. This alternative would eliminate the bus lane from Sepulveda Boulevard to mid-block between Veteran Avenue and Gayley Avenue, totaling 0.3 mile. Additionally, this alternative would retain the jut-outs between Comstock Avenue and Malcolm Avenue (1.0 mile). The existing right-hand traffic lane would be converted to a peak period bus lane in each direction between Comstock Avenue and Malcolm Avenue. Under Alternative A, an additional 1.8 miles of curb lane reconstruction/resurfacing would occur between Fairfax Avenue and and Westholme Avenue within the City of Los Angeles.
The key differences between this alternative and the proposed project are summarized from east to west (and implemented in both the eastbound and westbound directions):
- Elimination of the bus lane between Valencia Street and S. Park View Street;
- Inclusion of an additional 1.8 miles of curb lane reconstruction/resurfacing between Fairfax Avenue and and Westholme Avenue within the City of Los Angeles;
- Retention of the jut-outs between Comstock Avenue and Malcolm Avenue; and
- Elimination of the bus lane from approximately 300 feet east of Veteran Avenue to the I-405 northbound ramps.
Alternative B: Truncated Project
This alternative would include 8.7 miles of peak period curbside bus lanes compared to the 9.7 miles of exclusive bus lanes included under the proposed project. Specifically, this alternative would eliminate a bus lane from Valencia Street to S. Park View Street, totaling 0.7 mile. Additionally, under this alternative, a bus lane from Sepulveda Boulevard to mid-block Veteran/Gayley in Westwood, totaling 0.3 mile, would be eliminated.
Alternative C: Mini-Bus Lanes
This alternative would include 2.5-miles of non-continuous bus lanes compared to the 9.7 miles that would be included under the proposed project. This alternative would include bus lanes in selected segments plus street improvements and engineering enhancements.
Reviewing the Draft EIR/EA and Providing Comments
The Draft EIR/EA and information about the public hearings is available online at metro.net/Wilshire
Responses and comments will be accepted between June 10, 2010 and July 26, 2010. Comments can be delivered in person at the public hearings or by phone, U.S. mail, or email.
- Phone: (213) 922.2500. Phone messages are retrieved at least once every business day.
- US Mail: LACMTA, One Gateway Plaza, Mail Stop 99-23-1, Los Angeles, CA 90012, Attention: Ms. Martha Butler, Project Manager.
- Email: email@example.com .