Support for Wilshire BRT Proposal From Cyclists Needed!

December 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Bike News | 12 Comments

photo courtesy la.streetsblog.org

On December 9, the Metro Board of Directors will be considering the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project along Wilshire Boulevard from MacArthur Park to the Santa Monica City Line at Centinela Avenue. The project, which is a proposal by Metro, the City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County, is intended to improve transit reliability, increase ridership, and significantly shorten the commute times of bus riders along 8.7 miles of one of LA’s most heavily used streets during rush hour. It will also provide cyclists with improved access to Wilshire Blvd, as the lane will be shared bus-bike lane. Unfortunately, the project has recently come up against vocal opposition from residents in the area along Wilshire Blvd known as “Condo Canyon.”

The project already excludes portions of Wilshire that run through the City of Beverly Hills. Condo Canyon residents are asking that the portion of Wilshire where they live, from Selby to Comstock Avenues also be excluded from the project.

The removal of this section of Wilshire from the proposal would jeopardize the $23 million being funded by the Federal Transit Administration. This would risk the entire Wilshire BRT project, which is currently estimated at $31.5 million. This would be an incredible loss to transit users and cyclists who travel along this busy corridor. For transit users this project will provide a 15-to-20-minute decrease in their commute time during peak traffic hours. The bus-only lanes would also benefit cyclists, who will be entitled to use the lanes and benefit from the repaving of these lanes, greatly increasing cyclists safety on Wilshire Blvd. Therefore, support needs to come from the thousands of residents, students, and businesspeople who rely on more environmentally-friendly modes of transportation for their daily commutes.

Do you commute by bus or bike along this route? If so, contact your local District Supervisor and Mayor Villaraigosa to urge them to support the Wilshire BRT proposal at the Metro Board meeting next Thursday. You can download and email this letter (WilshireBRTSupportLetter) to your Supervisor and/or the Mayor to voice your support for the project. If you don’t know who your local Supervisor is, you can find out at this link: http://www.lavote.net/onlinedistrictmapapp/

If you’d like to voice your support in person, you can attend the Board meeting and give them your opinion and share your experiences riding that route. The meeting will take place at 9:30am on Thursday, December 9, at Metro Headquarters, located at 1 Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, CA, 90012.

For more information and news on this project, check out these links:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-wilshire-bus-20101128,0,7679183.story

http://la.streetsblog.org/2010/11/18/nimbys-in-westwood-threaten-wilshire-brt-project-west-of-beverly-hills/

http://www.lasubwayblog.com/2010/11/can-rich-be-exempt-from-bus-lanes.html

http://www.metro.net/projects/wilshire/

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12 Comments »

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  1. if LA cyclists want to support having buses ride up their backsides, that’s their prerogative, but it’s not something i’d be particularly excited about.

    • Wouldn’t it be great if you could ride the bus downtown or to Santa Monica for $1.50, and instead of taking you 2 hours it would take you 45 minutes? People would begin riding the bus more often, and all those car emissions that you breathe daily by living in Condo Canyon would lessen. Wow! What a great idea!!! (logic used in functional cities like Chicago, San Fran, DC, Philly, etc…)

  2. @Peter Do you live in Condo Canyon?

    As a cyclist, I support the Wilshire BRT because riding a bike in the bus-only lane is going to be better than riding a bike in mixed traffic.

    As a car-free cyclist, I support the Wilshire BRT because I want faster and more reliable transportation, and bus-lanes can be a core part of a car-free transportation network. These would provide a true alternative to congestion, and they are easy to replicate on major boulevards around the city.

    As a citizen, I support the Wilshire BRT because I want to move forward into a future where more people ride transit, bike, and walk, and we don’t need cars to really get around.

  3. Ok, but seriously Peter, I’d actually be happy to sit down and have coffee and talk further about this, if you’re interested. The bus-only lanes on Wilshire are an incredibly important project.

    On another note, here are County Supervisors email addresses. Use the link provided above – http://www.lavote.net/onlinedistrictmapapp/ – to find out which district you live in.

    District 1, Gloria Molina, molina@bos.lacounty.gov

    District 2, Mark Ridley-Thomas, markridley-thomas@bos.lacounty.gov

    District 3, Zev Yaroslavsky, zev@bos.lacounty.gov

    District 4, Don Knabe – he doesn’t have an email posted on his website, which is strange and opaque, but umm, you can email his chief of staff at cpedersen@lacbos.org, or make your case here http://knabe.com/ask-don/ . That link also has a number you can call.

    District 5, Michael Antonovich, fifthdistrict@lacbos.org

  4. Go Herbie!

  5. […] (aka Condo Canyon) have organized to oppose the Wilshire BRT going through their area. Herbie, LACBC, BRU, and the two student transportation advocacy groups organized to oppose the opposition. Metro […]

  6. Can’t we just sign petitions and/or donate per cause? Sending letters is so antiquated.

    I’d rather have a bus on by backside then cars trying to kill me which is what used to happen when I tried riding Wilshire a couple of times. I rode the sidewalk after those couple of incidents.

    • @ LA Rider, we certain would love to accept donations for our work pushing hard for these BRTs amongst other campaigns. Please click here to do so: http://la-bike.org/support/support.html Thank you!

      Letters are also important, because when elected and appointed officials hear specific verbiage from dozens, if not hundreds of people, it resonates.

  7. la rider – there’s a quicker way you can do this, posted yesterday by LA Subway Blog:

    http://www.lasubwayblog.com/2010/12/email-metro-board-of-directors-to.html

    Two clicks and you can write all the County Supervisors and the Mayor.

    (One reason for letters as opposed to petitions, just fyi, is that usually electronic petitions don’t collect contact information or follow-up with the people who signed. Since this is a political battle, we need to wield political power, and that means matching constituents with their representatives, and following up with them after the vote. That’s why the procedure I laid out for emailing your supervisor on my blog asks you to cc: WilshireBRT@gmail.com – so that we can get in touch with everyone after the vote, and let politicians know that these constituents are really watching.

    Ideally we’d have an electronic petition that collected everyone’s email for follow-up and zipcode for proof-of-constituency, but most of the online petition tools aren’t designed that way.

    If you know how to design this quickly and care about this issue enough to do it, please hit me up! you can DM me on twitter @meekadjustments.)

  8. As a cyclist I think it is dangerous to have busses pulling in and out of bike lanes. My brother had a cyclist friend that was killed by a bus on Wilshire blvd. when he was in college at UCLA.
    Perhaps another option to be explored is to have an adjacent parallel road close to Wishire, and have a bike lane on it, one that is less used by busses. There may be more cyclists maimed or killed, by the illusion of a “safe bike lane,” when it fact Wilshire blvd. is a major artery in central L.A. with heavy bus traffic.

  9. True the bus/bike lane is not the ideal bike facility, but it does create dedicated space for bikes that would not otherwise be there. In cities like Paris, bike/bus lanes are common and have proven to be effective on roads with both bus and bike traffic. Incorporating the bike element with signage and on street marking also sends a signal to bus drivers that cyclists belong in that lane as well, which hopefully will help to create better bike/bus relations.
    Yes, bike lanes on adjacent streets are also important and needed for cyclists wanting to travel on less busy streets, but the reality is that many cyclists do travel on Wilshire and we need to make it safer for them as well.

  10. […] for me, I gained first-hand knowledge of why Wilshire Boulevard so desperately needs a Bus Rapid Transit […]


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