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Wilshire Bus Lane Battle on the Horizon?

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The planned Wilshire bus-only lanes, which stretch 8.7 miles along from Westlake to West LA (but skips Beverly Hills), made a leap forward on Monday when Metro released its staff recommendations for the rush-hour lanes. Metro's board will vote on the plan on December 9th, with hopes of moving the $31 million project to a 2012 opening--it's intended to shave around 15 minutes off a crosstown commute and get 10 percent of drivers to switch to the bus. Well, like most transit projects here, this is one is not without controversy.

High-rise homeowners in Westwood paid for their own traffic study on the lanes, and their report claims traffic will increase around Condo Canyon, between Comstock and Selby. Responding to neighborhood concerns, Metro has already altered the original plan that would have removed curbside rush-hour parking on this lane to make way for makeshift busway--the parking will now remain. But homeowners say a bus-only lane in one of the regular traffic lanes will only complicate traffic and want it dropped in this area, reports The Source. Metro board member Richard Katz and County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky instructed Metro staff to look at the possibility of removing the Comstock/Selby portion of the lanes and report back December 9th. NeonTommy reports that Yaroslavsky is concerned the "tens of thousands of drivers who share the street to be enraged when the bus lane opens because the one traffic-less portion of Wilshire (Comstock/Selby area) is suddenly gridlocked." Councilman Paul Koretz is standing by Yaroslavsky's position. There's worry that removing the Westwood section would jeopardize the $23.3 million that the feds have committed to the lanes--the Bus Riders Union is especially concerned as they've been championing this project--so it should be interesting what goes down on the 9th.
· Committee Focuses on Westwood Segment of Bus Lane Project [The Source]
· Yaroslavsky, Katz Demand Changes to Wilshire Project [Neon Tommy]