Can the richest neighborhoods be exempt from bus lanes? Richer cities Santa Monica and Beverly Hills are already not participating in the bus-only lane. Now, Metro and LA DOT must decide whether the richest section of the City of Los Angeles that the bus lane passes through will also be exempt.
Here's a look at median household income (2004) around the Wilshire Corridor. Blue = highest incomes, yellow = lowest incomes.
Note that UCLA students are poor... Wilshire Blvd is in red.
And here's a look at traffic along the Westwood to Beverly Glenn segment in question:
Note that there is substantial traffic east of Manning
Residents are worried that subtracting a general purpose traffic lane will lead to more traffic. However, if residents are worried about neighborhood traffic rather than transit riders, they are misdirecting their concern. I argue that the majority of PM peak traffic congestion in Westwood and Brentwood is a direct result of the current metering system which restricts access to the 405. Vehicles arrive at the 405 onramps a rate faster than the meter allows access to the freeway. This backs up vehicles seeking to enter the freeway, essentially turning Wilshire Blvd into a waiting area, which creates congested traffic through on side streets Westwood and Brentwood even when there is little congestion on the 405. There is a real trade-off between congestion in these neighborhoods and on the 405 that residents in these areas do not seem to be aware of. More on this in a future blog entry.