Crews in Santa Monica are re-striping Lincoln Boulevard [this week? today?] so that it will soon boast the city’s first bus-only lane.
The bus lanes will replace parking along the thoroughfare during designated periods of peak traffic. The northbound lane will close to parked cars between 7 and 9 a.m. on weekdays, while the southbound lane will be available only to buses between 4 and 7 p.m.
The changes are part of a major overhaul for Lincoln Boulevard in the works for more than 10 years. Approved by the City Council in April, the changes affect a stretch of the thoroughfare extending from Olympic Boulevard to Ozone Street.
In addition to the bus lanes, the makeover includes pedestrian-friendly improvements like curb extensions, sidewalk ramps, new crosswalks, and newly planted trees.
As Santa Monica Next points out, one thing the project will not include is bike lanes. Unlike bus-only lanes in Los Angeles, the lanes on Lincoln Boulevard will be closed to all other vehicles, including bicycles, during the designated hours.
The new bus-only lanes should be in operation by the end of the month.
The lanes will help cut down ride times by as much as 8 minutes, according to the city’s Big Blue Bus operators. A February report from the city’s planning commission suggested that, if the lanes were eventually extended beyond Lincoln Boulevard to the Aviation/LAX Green Line station, rides on the route could be trimmed by 25 minutes.