Metro has finished and released their environmental impact report for the Wilshire bus lane, which would provide an exclusive lane for the 20s, 720s, and 920s for about 10 miles of Wilshire during rush-hour, reports The Source. Nope, the exclusive lane wouldn't extend to Santa Monica nor would it exist through Beverly Hills and its numerous traffic lights. Apparently, there wasn't time to consult with Beverly Hills before applying for federal money--a lane could be added in the future though (it's not clear why Santa Monica isn't part of the scenario).
The EIR says the lane would improve bus travel times by 24% and improve bus speed by 32%. It sounds like Metro believes they can snag 10% more bus riders, as well. Right now, taking the 720 Rapid bus at 6:03 p.m. in Santa Monica gets you to the Old Bank District at 7:29 p.m--our calculations have that bus, with the new lane, getting to downtown at a little after 7 p.m. The bad news is that nine intersections that the buses cross would see traffic increases--the vast majority, 74, wouldn't be impacted. Mid to late-2012 looks to be the goal for implementation, though there's community meetings to get through before that happens. Image of the 720 arriving downtown from rllayman via Flickr
· Wilshire Bus Line EIR Now Online [The Source]