Bus-only lanes should run the entire length of the Lincoln Boulevard corridor, from downtown Santa Monica to the Los Angeles International Airport, says Santa Monica's Transit Director Ed King.
The lanes would ease congestion more effectively than on a 1.2-mile segment from the 10 Freeway south to the city's limit, a project supported by the City Council in 2005, King wrote in a recent memo.
King says staffers will delay adding the lanes on the shorter segment "until such time that a more comprehensive regional planning approach for the entire corridor is studied with regional partners."
See also: How Would You Improve Lincoln Boulevard?
City officials are trying to convince the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to include Lincoln in a countywide study evaluating the best ways to improve bus travel times and schedule reliability on Los Angeles' major corridors. Lincoln was one of 43 corridors originally identified in the study, but was not named among the final 18.
According to King:
Lincoln Boulevard will eventually be anchored by Los Angeles International Airport and the Metro Green Line Light Rail Station on the south and Metro Expo Light Rail and downtown Santa Monica on the north, which would dictate that the corridor will become even more congested by 2016. A solution is a bus only lane along the entire corridor rather than only one small segment.
A 2005 analysis that found dedicated bus lanes from the 10 freeway to Grant Street would reduce trip times by more than eight minutes is flawed, King said, because it doesn't factor in "dwell" times for boardings and an uptick in ridership. The actual trip reductions would be about two to three minutes, he said.
During rush hour, the lanes would be restricted to public buses. Cars would not be able to park at on-street metered spaces.
"The overall public benefit of a very short bus-only travel lane does not significantly reduce the travel time for customers riding the service compared to the impact of traffic delays created in the segment," King wrote Feb. 7 in a report to the City Council. "The solution to faster travel times, reducing congestion and providing better service to the riding public and potential riders is to provide [Bus Rapid Transit] peak bus only travel lanes along the entire Lincoln Boulevard corridor."