With the successful passage of Measure M in November, Metro is marching forward with new projects aimed at dramatically transforming Los Angeles transit, including speeding up buses on busy Vermont Avenue.
Urbanize LA has the scoop on Metro’s preparations to bring Bus Rapid Transit to 12.4 miles of Vermont: Ground breaking is expected in 2024, with an opening date of 2028. BRT is faster than traditional bus service, typically because the buses travel in dedicated bus lanes and make fewer stops.
In addition to cutting travel times for commuters, the Vermont BRT would link to four different rail lines along its route. Starting at the Sunset/Vermont Red Line station in Los Feliz, BRT service on Vermont would stretch all the way to 120th Street, near the 110 and 105 interchange, servicing Purple, Expo, and Green Line stations along the way.
Transit officials must now settle on the location and type of new bus lanes that will be added to Vermont. A Metro study has identified four approaches, and each poses a different impact on cost, ridership, parking, and passenger time savings over traditional buses.
Here are the four concepts Metro is mulling.
Converting an entire traffic lane into a BRT lane end to end
Concept No. 1 would convert the traffic lane next to parking into a dedicated BRT lane that runs the entire 12.4-mile stretch of Vermont at a total cost of $321.7 million.
- A ridership forecast of 74,050 (A 36 percent increase in ridership over a no build forecast)
- Thirteen minutes in time savings during midday travel over traditional bus service and 19 minutes in time savings during peak p.m. hours
- A loss of 446 on-street parking spaces
A combination of side and center running BRT lanes
Concept No. 2 would see both side and center lanes on Vermont split at Gage Avenue. Just over eight miles of side bus lanes would run on the north side of Gage Avenue and center bus lanes would extend roughly four miles south of Gage Avenue. The cost is expected to be $331.8 million.
This option is expected to result in:
- A ridership forecast of 74,380 (36 percent increase over a no-build forecast)
- Thirteen minutes in time savings during midday travel over traditional bus service and 20 minutes in time savings during peak p.m. hours
- Loss of 464 on-street parking spaces
Convert curbside parking lane into BRT lane
Concept No. 3 is a mixture of curbside dedicated bus lanes and buses traveling in regular traffic. Dedicated bus lanes would replace curbside parking for 7.3 miles, but right of way constraints would have buses using normal traffic lanes for the remaining 5.1 miles. Total cost would be $234.8 million.
This option would bring:
- A ridership forecast of 66,480 (22 percent ridership increase)
- Seven minutes in time savings during midday travel over traditional bus service and eight minutes in time savings during peak p.m. hours
- Loss of 1,100 on-street parking spaces
Peak Period Curbside BRT Lanes
In concept No. 4, Vermont Avenue would have 2.7 miles of curbside dedicated BRT lanes during peak traffic hours (7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.). The remaining 9.7 miles of the bus route would be a mixed flow of traffic lanes. Total cost is estimated at $144.5 million.
- A ridership forecast of 63,850 (17 percent ridership increase)
- No measurable time savings during midday travel over traditional bus service
- Six minutes in time savings during peak p.m. hours
- Loss of 83 on-street parking spaces
Metro is leaning towards concepts Nos. 1 and 2.
A second phase of study for the Vermont corridor will be focused on a potential conversion of the BRT lanes to light rail. Funding for that conversion would be available after Metro’s 2067 fiscal year.