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City Delays Adding Bus-Only Lanes on Lincoln Boulevard

Santa Monica delays placing dedicated bus lanes on a stretch of Lincoln Boulevard. Transit Director says the bus-only lanes should run the full length of the corridor to LAX.

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."

ayogist February 19, 2013 at 04:53 PM
interesting choice of photo, given how the big blue 10 doesn't travel down lincoln... maybe a shot of the big blue 3 stuck in traffic would be more appropriate?
Glenn E Grab February 20, 2013 at 04:47 PM
are you joking,\?.... a bus lane only makes traffic worse....
Mara T February 20, 2013 at 10:38 PM
So much for the survey that people near Lincoln south of the 10 received recently.... sounds like "they" have decided that a dedicated lane is already a done deal (except for the odd co-use of BUSES with BICYCLES).
Brenda Barnes February 20, 2013 at 11:47 PM
The 3 bus is one of the best BBB has, and also--at first blush ironically, but on second thought predictably--one of the most unreliable during high traffic times. We take the 3 to the Green Line and to LAX. It's an awesome improvement in our lives. We can go on the train to Long Beach, for $1.50 total. Far less than it would cost for gas to the Green LIne station alone.. We have done that trip to LB many times now, just b/c of the Green and Blue Lines. That community is REALLY green, and has so many advantages over SM--with its rich-only recent attitude--that going to Long Beach has really opened our eyes to lots of things we needed to know. Likewise, being able to take the 3 to LAX is amazing. We take our two carry-on bags and leave our car at home. The savings on a trip are incredible. Nonetheless, the 3 is totally unreliable on Friday afternoon, so we just forget it then. During any rush hour, it is hopeless, but especially Friday. So I have to take my husband to meetings that start in Venice at 6 or 7, many of which he goes to. Actually using this bus is what teaches us all of this. Apparently the transit manager doesn't, or he would know that any incremental improvement is more likely to convince people than waiting for some mythical, never-going-to-happen change in people's attitudes and behavior. We can't change without changing.

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