Monday, January 13, 2020

How Metro's Proposed Frequent Bus "NextGen Transit First Service Plan" Could Affect West Hollywood

Metro is undergoing a redesign of its bus network called the NextGen Bus Study.  After a series of community meetings, a draft frequency-enhanced "Transit First Service Plan" has been released.

The basic strategy as I understand it is to fold all but three rapid lines into corresponding local service, but increase the stop spacing on these new combined lines to create a core network where "83% of Metro's riders" will be walking distance from a bus that has 5, 7, or 10 minute frequency all day.  This sort of transformation to bus service has proven successful in other regions.

There are tradeoffs to any overhaul of course.  Metro is trading losing speed on individual rapid trips for the gain of frequency of service on many lines.  However, when one includes the time spent waiting for a bus as part of overall travel time, this may be a trade off that balances out for many people.  Check out all of the proposed changes by clicking here.

Here is how West Hollywood is likely to affected by the bus service changes according to the draft:

Santa Monica Blvd:  The Rapid 704 would fold into the a more frequent Local 4, with unproductive stops removed.  (Note: this may end West Hollywood's one-seat ride to Union Station.)

Sunset Blvd:  The Limited 302 would fold into the Local 2, with unproductive stops removed.  At Alvarado, the 2 would run north-south.  (Note: this would create a one-seat ride between UCLA and USC.)

Fairfax Avenue:  The Rapid 780 would be combined with the Local 180 and Local 217, for one new 180 line that runs from Pasadena City College to Hollywood Blvd., and then down Fairfax to the La Cienega "E (Expo) Line" Station.

La Cienega Blvd:   The Rapid 705 would fold into the Local 105, with unproductive stops removed.

San VicenteLine 30 would no longer run up San Vicente to West Hollywood, but Line 14 would.

La BreaThe Limited 312 would be folded into the Local 212, with unproductive stops removed.

Crescent Heights:  Once proposed change I do not agree with is the elimination of Line 218 which currently runs over-the-hill between Laurel Canyon & Ventura Blvd. and Cedar Sinai Hospital via Laurel Canyon, Crescent Heights, Fairfax, and 3rd Street.  Elimination of this service would require new time consuming forced transfers for current Line 218 passengers on both sides of the mountain.  I suggest that Metro try redesigning the service first.  One proposal would cut out the 3rd Street portion, but extend the line north to the Orange Line, and run Line 218 between the Laurel Canyon Orange Line Station and The Grove, and see if feeding to/from the Orange Line improves overall performance.  Another possibility would be to extend the 230 south over the hill to Santa Monica Blvd.  I hope Metro considers these alternatives before scrapping a valuable, direct over-the-hill service entirely.

One thing that will be needed to make this bus network overhaul work:  BUS LANES!  Southern California needs a comprehensive network of color-painted and enforced bus lanes to compliment our (thankfully) growing and expanding Metrorail and Metrolink networks.

There are another series of upcoming community workshops on this frequent "NextGen Transit First Service Plan" all over the County over the next several weeks, including one in West Hollywood, on Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 4 – 7 PM, at Plummer Park, 7377 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046 (Accessible via Metro Lines 4/704; and Weho Cityline).

Click here to find an upcoming community workshop near you.  You may send in your comments and suggestions about this plan to Metro at