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Eyes on the Street: New Bus Lane on Grand Avenue in Downtown L.A.

Downtown L.A.'s Grand Avenue now has bus lanes. Back in early November, Streetsblog reported on the other half of Grand's one-way couplet: a northbound bus lane on Olive Street. See that post for more details on the history of how the L.A. City Transportation Department (LADOT) and Metro came to install the couplet. In the past two years, LADOT and Metro have had a fruitful bus speed improvements collaboration, resulting in new bus lanes on Flower Street, 5th and 6th Streets, Aliso Street, and Alvarado Street. More on the way - for details see below.

The southbound Grand bus lane doesn't reach quite as far north onto Bunker Hill as the Olive lane does. The new Grand bus lane extends just over one mile - from Hope Place (a half block above 5th Street) to Pico Boulevard. All of this stretch now has a left-side protected bike lane, and a right-side bus lane.

New bus lane on Grand Avenue
New bus lane on Grand Avenue
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Metro notes that the Grand/Olive bus lane couplet serves 60 buses per hour at peak times – including the J (Silver) Line Bus Rapid Transit
Metro notes that the Grand/Olive bus lane couplet serves 60 buses per hour at peak times – including the J (Silver) Line Bus Rapid Transit
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Additional bus lanes announced as coming soon:

    • The new bus lanes on Alvarado Street were partially completed in June, with the stretch between the 101 Freeway and Sunset anticipated to be approved by Caltrans in October. In mid-November, Streetsblog contacted Caltrans District 7 Public Information Officer Michael Comeaux, who wrote back that "Caltrans anticipates Metro will submit required documentation to Caltrans within the next week or two," and "Caltrans anticipates reviewing and signing the required documents, indicating approval, by the end of November." So any day now Caltrans could approve this, at which point an implementation schedule could become clearer.
    • Last week Metro and LADOT hosted a public input meeting for new bus lanes planned for La Brea Avenue, expected to be installed in Spring 2022.
    • At Streets for All's recent City Council District 13 candidates debate [video - minute 33:45], City Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell announced that bus lanes are planned for Highland Avenue. O'Farrell stated he has welcomed bus lanes, and blamed Metro for a lack of bus lanes in CD13, stating "The problem lies with the Metro board. They're just not moving things quickly enough... I think that they haven't prioritized adequate resources to encourage riding public transit... I think that everyone listening to this should really lobby the members of the Metro [board] on how to speed up and reprioritize adequate funding so we can roll out more of these dedicated bus lines." (Note that though Metro has funded recent bus lane improvements in the city of L.A., there is nothing preventing the city from spending its own transportation funding on bus lanes - or from seeking outside grant money for bus lanes, as L.A. did on the MyFigueroa project.)
    • Metro and LADOT plan to install a "queue jump signal" on 5th Street at Flower Street in downtown Los Angeles. This would allow transit buses, proceeding up into Central City West, to quickly get past car traffic entering the four lanes of freeway on-ramps there. The queue jump is waiting on Flower Street restoration as Metro Regional Connector subway construction winds down. As of last summer, Metro spokesperson Rick Jager anticipated that the bus queue jump would be installed "early spring of 2022."

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