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Wilshire Bus Lane is Commuter's Bane

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Wilshire Boulevard commuters are up in arms over the MTA's decision to extend their Westside dedicated bus lane experiment, a program that has led to even more teeth-grinding traffic than usual along the heavily congested Federal to Centinela corridor.

Commute times along the one-mile test route have doubled. Businesses say they are losing money due to the loss of on-street parking. There are no indications that anyone is giving up their car to take advantage of the shorter bus commute, which has been shaved by a whopping 30 seconds.

And yet, Metro officials say to expect more of these bus lanes.

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News flash to Metro: people are never, ever going to give up their cars for the bus in numbers large enough to positively affect traffic flow. If the thinking is that some guy who lives in Beverly Hills and commutes to MGM is going to take the bus, that thinking is seriously flawed.

But they probably realize that. This is really just another unintended consequence of the consent decree that put the Bus Riders Union in the driver's seat of Metro's bus system. That decree, which forced Metro into addressing critical shortcomings in LA's bus system, has nevertheless led to a bus-centric vision of city transit that often gives short shrift to projects that would actually decrease traffic congestion.

Busways like the Orange Line, which will run on a separate roadway, are one thing. But flooding crowded city streets with more busses will, ironically, lead to longer commute times, more congestion, and more engine emissions: in short, more of what we already have, only worse.