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Beverly Hills News – Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit Opens Tomorrow To The East, West Of Beverly Hills

L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge takes the bus east from Wilton to Curson on Wilshire Boulevard to arrive at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the second phase opening of the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit Project.

Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2015 – 1:08 PM

By Laura Coleman

Starting Wednesday, motorists on Wilshire Boulevard will no longer be allowed to drive on five miles of newly designated concrete bus lanes during weekdays from 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m.

At a press conference outside the La Brea Tar Pits at the Page Museum held Tuesday morning to announce the opening of Phase Two of the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti said motorists who don’t abide the “Bus Only” signs now lining Wilshire would be warned for the first two weeks; after that, he said, peak-hour curb lane transgressors will be ticketed.

“For those who have been stuck on Wilshire Boulevard for too long…we’re here to say, relief is on the way,” L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Vice Chair Mark Ridley Thomas said.

BRT Phase Two, which launches tomorrow morning, adds 3.6 miles from Western Avenue to the eastern edge of Beverly Hills at San Vicente Boulevard; 0.5 miles from the western edge of Beverly Hills to Comstock Avenue; 0.5 miles from Selby Avenue to Veteran Avenue; and 0.4 miles from Bonsall Avenue to Federal Avenue. Once complete, the total three-phase project will stretch 9.9 miles from Valencia Street to the east and Centinela Avenue to the west.

The $31.5 million project is funded through a $23.3 million Very Small Starts federal grant and an $8.2 million local grant.

L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz said in the absence of a comprehensive subway system, BRT provides commuters with an excellent option to make a positive environmental choice in addition to improving shared transportation.

“We all know, subway construction moves at a somewhat glacial pace,” he said, underscoring that until the Subway to the Sea opens, the bus is a great alternative. “In the meantime….onward to Century City and Westwood; but we all know that will be a while.”

Garcetti estimated that bus commuters will save roughly 15 minutes in travel time along what he called, “the highest density corridor outside Manhattan.”

“We are now looking at an additional 12 (high-density) corridors” that could be candidates for future BRT projects, he added.

Metro will also be piloting all-door boarding at key stops along the Wilshire BRT where customers will be able to validate their fare in advance and board the bus through any door.

Cars and trucks turning right during peak hours may use the curbside lane as well as bicyclists.

“This is a big deal,” said L.A City Councilman and Metro Board Director Mike Bonin. “This isn’t just about a bus lane. This is about fast-tracking to the future.”

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