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Bus Lane Updates: New Red Markings – New Lanes Delayed

2:38 PM PDT on June 7, 2021

This article supported by Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney as part of a general sponsorship package. All opinions in the article are that of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of LABA. Click on the ad for more information.

There are some new bright red bus lane markings in town. The L.A. City Department of Transportation (LADOT) recently installed bright red thermoplastic paint on existing bus lanes on Wilshire Boulevard (between the Westwood VA and the city of Santa Monica) and on Figueroa Street (extending red markings on the downtown MyFigueroa project - between USC and 7th Street.)

According to LADOT spokesperson Colin Sweeney, "The two corridors on Figueroa and Wilshire are part of a pilot project to test the efficacy of these markings in promoting compliance with bus-only lanes. LADOT is interested in expanding to other corridors based on the results of the experiment on these two segments. The segments were selected for the pilot because we have observed that bus-only lane non-compliance is most frequent in areas where there is high congestion in adjacent travel lanes. The red thermoplastic is used not only for its visibility but also because it can withstand the wear and tear of buses."

Updated 6/7: David Graham-Caso, Deputy Chief of Staff for L.A. City Councilmember, Metro Boardmember, and public transit ally Mike Bonin noted that, "The new red is an official FHWA [Federal Highway Administration] experiment. We are testing the effectiveness of just having the red behind the bus lane text rather than a continuous carpet of red the entire length of the lane. If effective, it is a cheaper alternative that will allow LADOT to use it in more places, and potentially even citywide." Graham Caso added, "They wanted to try one location in DTLA and one location outside DTLA for the experiment. We were happy to be chosen as one of the two locations."

Theses bus lane markings include big red rectangles, one each block - plus stripes in shared-right-turn areas.

Red bus lane markings next to green bike lane markings give MyFigueroa a Christmas color motif
The markings give MyFigueroa a Christmas color motif
The Figueroa bus lane markings pass by Staples Center and L.A. Live
The Figueroa bus lane markings pass by Staples Center and L.A. Live
Shared right turn areas feature red and green intermittent striping
Shared right turn areas feature intermittent striping
Wilshire Boulevard bus lane markings
Wilshire Boulevard bus lane markings
Red striped areas are shared by buses and right turning vehicles
Red striped areas are shared by buses and right turning vehicles

There are more bus lanes in the works in central L.A., brought to you by a collaboration between Metro and LADOT, but the schedule has been slipping somewhat.

From Sweeney and Metro spokesperson Rick Jager:

    • Alvarado Street peak-hour bus lanes were due to open spring 2021, and are now expected to open this summer.
    • Outreach for the planned Grand Avenue and Olive Street bus lane couplet was due to start this spring but has been pushed back to summer. Grand and Olive were repaved last year, with bike lanes moved to the left side and paint striping instead of more permanent thermoplastic to allow for relatively easy implementation of the bus lanes.
    • A queue jumper signal will be located at the intersection of 5th and Flower streets in downtown L.A., right next to the downtown library. This signal needs to be installed together with the last half block of bus lane on 5th. The lane and signal work is waiting behind the Regional Connector’s final street restoration. Regional Connector crews will be un-decking and restoring Flower Street through the end of November 2021, so the queue jump is now tentatively expected early spring of 2022. This represents a year delay from an earlier announcement that estimated that the facility would debut spring 2021.
The 5th/Flower bus queue jumper is coming after Regional Connection street restoration is completed
The 5th/Flower bus queue jumper is coming after Regional Connection street restoration is completed

Metro's recently approved FY2022 budget includes $8.8 million for additional planning and installation of facilities to speed up bus travel. Where would you like to see the next bus-only lane segments?

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