Wave Wire Services
LOS ANGELES — A dedicated bus lane that opened June 28 on Alvarado Street between Seventh Street and the Hollywood (101) Freeway in the Westlake and Historic Filipinotown areas is expected to speed up service by as much as 15%.
Mayor and MTA Board Chair Eric Garcetti, who called the stretch of Alvarado “one of our city’s busiest transit corridors,” said the lane also will make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians by reducing speeding and unsafe lane changes.
The dedicated bus lane is part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s NextGen Bus Plan. Once completed, it will cover a 1.7-mile stretch from Seventh Street in Westlake to Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park.
“We are focused on getting people back to work, and how do you get people back to work? You make it easy for them to access jobs and public transit, and this new bus lane is going to help with that,” Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said.
The MTA is working to increase bus stop frequency and modify routes to make them more accessible through its NextGen Bus Plan. The first phase was implemented in December, and the second phase began June 27, when the transit agency added service on dozens of bus lines, particularly in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.
“We’ve basically let lines, schedules and lanes stay the way that they’ve been for three, four, five decades. And now this is the first major overhaul to our system in 25 years,” Garcetti said. “Through this dedicated bus lane, we expect bus speeds to improve up to 15%, so Angelenos, as we return to our old ways of getting back to work and in the office, you’ll find that you’ll be able to get to where you need to go more quickly.
“The idea with all of this work is to provide equitable and accessible and affordable service to create sustainable options all around us, and you don’t have to own a car to move us toward our climate goals,” Garcetti said.
Weekday rail service also will be improved with added frequency during morning and afternoon peak times on the Blue, Expo, Green and Gold lines, according to MTA officials.
“The continued implementation of NextGen … and installation of bus lanes is critical, especially as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic,” Board of Supervisors Chair and MTA Vice Chair Hilda Solis said. “These efforts will help provide more frequent and faster mobility options to our transit riders, predominantly serving communities of color. When we invest in public transit, we are making a commitment to supporting our communities.”