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Bus-Only Lanes Now Open On Wilshire Boulevard

Wilshire Boulevard Bus (Photo by LA Wad via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Wilshire Boulevard might be a bit less clogged now that bus-only lanes are open between MacArthur Park and Western Avenue.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the project, which extends 1.8 miles, cost $31.5 million. It's just part of a larger transit plan that will also make improvements between downtown and Westwood by next year.

Once the entire project is finished, metro officials expect commute times along Wilshire to drop by 12 to 15 minutes. Since about 53,000 people board buses on the popular street every day, that's a lot of stops. Statistics show that more people are (gasp!) riding buses than traveling by car during peak hours. (Pat yourself on the back, Angelenos!)

"For the foreseeable future, and perhaps forever, buses will the backbone of our transit system," Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Deputy CEO Paul Taylor told the Times.

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Here's how the lanes work: On weekdays from 7 to 9 am and 4 to 7 pm, only buses and bikes will be able to use the lanes. Drivers will be allowed to enter the lanes to make right-hand turns, but can be ticketed if they stay in the lanes beyond a turn.

Bus lanes are not planned for the upcoming Westwood and Beverly Hills portion of the project, but that stretch of Wilshire will have "other improvements," metro officials say.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed the improvements in 2011. The bulk of the money for the project comes from from federal grants, while $8.2 million in local funds were applied to the new lanes.

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