Santa Monica Dedicates A Bus Lane On Lincoln Blvd

In the past couple of years, Santa Monica has seen significant improvement in the way of public transportation. Less than two years ago, Metro’s Expo Line provided a long anticipated extension of the Los Angeles rail system that runs as far as the Promenade. This year the city of Santa Monica, in partnership with Big Blue Bus, has begun to implement numerous changes to the city's infrastructure. The city of Santa Monica hopes to streamline transportation, increase commuter safety, and revitalize the pedestrian experience on many city streets and boulevards.

Among the more recent and significant changes to commuting in Santa Monica are those that are occurring on a stretch of Lincoln Boulevard, between the I-10 freeway and the city limits at Ozone Avenue. Over the next several months, the City will be implementing a series of changes to one of its busiest streets in hopes of creating a safer, more efficient, and friendlier environment for its customers. Most notable among these changes is the addition of a new Bus-Only lane implemented at peak rush-hour times, from 7am - 9am and 4pm-7pm every weekday.

“It is critical to improve service quality through faster trip times for our customers,” says Edward F. King, Director of Transit Services for the Big Blue Bus. “One of [our] goals is to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips to and from the City by making travel time faster and more convenient by riding Big Blue Bus. We anticipate that new customers will try this and leave their cars at home. “

With an estimated 50,000 commuters taking Lincoln Boulevard every day, the city has been keen on finding new solutions to reducing congestion and improving safety on the Boulevard for several years. Starting in 2012, when ownership of the boulevard was officially transferred to the City of Santa Monica from Caltrans, Santa Monica began to undertake steps to improve infrastructure and transit efficiency.

With the new lane now devoted to public transportation, the city now hopes it will see greater throughput and an overall increase in satisfaction with commuting on the Boulevard. Though public transportation users account for a minority of commuters on Lincoln, the city does not anticipate an adverse effect on transportation efficiency. King insists the city will measure this during the lane’s first year of operation.

When asked about future of such developments throughout Santa Monica, King expressed an interest in creating and extending similar bus lanes throughout the city, particularly on Wilshire Boulevard, where he hinted at the possibility of extending the bus-only lane westward, as well as on 4th St. and Pico Boulevard. He was quick, however, to note the importance of community outreach and feedback required for viable operational models. For now, it appears the community can only wait and see just how efficient these changes to Lincoln Boulevard really are.