Excerpts from

MID-CITY/WESTSIDE TRANSIT CORRIDOR

DRAFT EIS/EIR

 

Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit

&

Exposition Transitway

 

April 6, 2001

     U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration

     Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Summary

1.0 History/Purpose and Need

2.0 Alternatives Considered

3.0 Environmental Analysis

3.2 Traffic and Circulation

4.0 Other Federal Requirements and CEQA Considerations

5.0 Financial Analysis and Comparison of Alternatives

6.0 Community Participation

7.0 References

8.0 List of Preparers

9.0 Distribution List

10.0 Conceptual Engineering Drawings

 

2.0 ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED

2.2.8 Alternative 2: Wilshire BRT and Exposition BRT Alternative (Full Length)

Overview

Automatic gates will be used at grade crossings where the BRT travels at speeds in excess of 35 mph along the Exposition corridor. At crossings were the BRT does not exceed 35 mph, priority will be given to the bus, as opposed to full preemption, and the grade crossing will be treated with traffic signals, not flashing lights and gates. The use of gates at BRT crossings has not been attempted to date, and may require special legislation. If a practicable solution for the detection of buses and the use of automatic gates at BRT grade crossings can not be developed, the maximum operating speed through an un-gated intersection is based on the current California regulations governing highway-LRT at grade crossings.  [page 2-28]

Service Characteristics

 

TABLE 2-6  [page 2-32]

SUMMARY OF WILSHIRE BRT AND EXPOSITION BRT BUS SERVICE

Route

BRT Entry Point

Service Frequency  (peak, base minutes)

MTA 720 (Wilshire BRT)

Downtown Santa Monica

3, 6.6

B-1 BRT (all stop)

17th Street (Santa Monica)

5, 10

B-2 BRT (skip stop)

17th Street (Santa Monica)

10, 0

MTA 436 Venice

Venice/Sepulveda

10, 20

LADOT 438

Venice/Washington

20, 0

MTA 439 Redondo Bch LAX

La Cienega

30, 60

MTA 342 Westchester LAX

Crenshaw

30, 30

MTA 340 Inglewood Hawthorne

Crenshaw

10, 30

 

Ridership estimates indicate that articulated (60-80 feet long) buses would be needed for the end-to-end Exposition BRT service (B-1 and B-2), and potentially on the Venice Boulevard route, which enters the busway at Sepulveda (MTA 436). Standard 40-foot buses can continue to manage the expected passenger loads for the other routes using the busway. [p. 2-33]

 

TABLE 2-7 [page 2-33]

WILSHIRE BRT AND EXPOSITION BRT OPERATING CHARACTERISTICS

Transit Service

Combined headways range from 3.3 minute service on the west end of the project to 1.5 minutes on the east end of the project.

Operations

Selected routes would eventually require articulated (65-70 feet long) buses to accommodate projected 2020 demand. Average dwell time of 30 seconds is assumed, which may require facilitated boarding / alighting methods such as proof of payment fare collection and boarding / alighting through both front and rear doors. Rail transit operations identical to No Action.

Max Speed:*

55 mph

Avg. Speed:*

21 mph full route (25 mph for skip stop route)

26 mph exclusive BRT facility (35 mph for skip stop route)

Signal Preemption:*

For transportation model purposes, signal priority or preemption assumed in busway (Exposition ROW); partial signal preemption assumed at major intersections and full preemption assumed at minor intersections for on-street BRT on Venice and Sepulveda; partial signal priority in street running sections outside the busway (in Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles).

Transit Running Time:*

47 minutes downtown LA (7th / Flower) to downtown Santa Monica;

39 minutes for skip stop route

*Summary characteristics relate to Expo BRT unless specified otherwise. Characteristics of the Wilshire BRT component of this alternative are summarized in Table 2.17 [2.5].

 

2.2.10 Alternative 3: Wilshire BRT and Exposition LRT (Full Length)

Service Characteristics

 

TABLE 2-8  [page 2-44]

WILSHIRE BRT AND EXPOSITION LRT OPERATING CHARACTERISTICS

Transit Service:

Wilshire BRT has slightly upgraded service from existing rapid bus (3 minute peak, 6.6 minute base). New LRT route from 7th / Flower to downtown Santa Monica added. Selected bus routes modified to connect or truncate at LRT stations. Remaining bus and rail network is same as TSM.

Operations:

Trains would run every 5 minutes in the peak period on Expo Line. Combined train frequency in common track section with LB-LA Blue Line (on Flower) would be 2.5 minutes. In the off-peak, trains would run every 12 minutes with a combined train frequency of 6 minutes in the common track section with LB-LA Blue Line.

Max. Speed:*

55 mph

Avg. Speed:*

24 mph, including stops, and delay in street-running sections.

Signal Priority / Preemption:*

For transportation model purposes, signal preemption assumed for LRT in Exposition ROW; partial preemption assumed on Venice and Sepulveda Blvds; some signal priority in street running sections outside the ROW (in Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles).

Transit Running Time:*

42 minutes downtown Los Angeles (7th / Flower) to downtown Santa Monica

*Summary characteristics relate to Expo LRT unless specified otherwise. Characteristics of the Wilshire BRT component of this alternative are summarized in Table 2.5.

 

3.2 Traffic and Circulation

3.2.3 Impact Assessment

Transportation Performance Measures

Impacts on Highway Corridors

Freeway Impacts

Alternative 2: Wilshire BRT and Exposition BRT (Full Length) [page 3.2-39]

  • Most freeways experience a slight drop in freeway traffic volumes in both peak hours except for the Santa Monica Freeway. The Santa Monica Freeway would experience as much as a 1.14% increase in traffic in the AM peak hour, which would be considered a significant impact.

Alternative 3: Wilshire BRT and Exposition LRT (Full Length) [page 3.2-40]

  • Most freeways experience a slight decrease in freeway traffic volumes in both peak hours. This alternative has the greatest relative effect on reducing traffic volumes in both peak hours. This alternative has the greatest relative effect on reducing traffic volumes on the Santa Monica Freeway, and is the only alternative which reduces traffic on that freeway west of La Cienega Boulevard. This drop is mostly attributable to auto trips removed from the freeway as drivers switch to LRT.
  • The Exposition LRT appears to be able to handle the diverted traffic from the Wilshire BRT onto the Santa Monica Freeway.
  • Overall impacts on the San Diego Freeway indicates that the Wilshire BRT affects this freeway at Sunset Boulevard.

Arterial System Impacts

Alternative 3: Wilshire BRT and Exposition LRT (Full Length) [page 3.2-41]

  • Almost all screenline volumes show significant decreases in traffic volume compared to No Action. The overall drop in both peak hours is greatest for this alternative.
  • This is the only alternative that reduces arterial traffic for all east-west and north-south traffic around the Exposition Corridor.
  • The drop in traffic can be entirely attributable to trips diverted to the LRT, since the freeway traffic also showed decreases overall as well.

Overall Highway System Impacts

Alternative 3: Wilshire BRT and Exposition LRT (Full Length) [page 3.2-43]

  • All screenlines show decreases in traffic volume except for Screenline 1 in the AM peak hour. The overall drop in both peak hours is greatest for this alternative.
  • This is the only alternative to reduce traffic for all north-south and all east-west traffic.
  • The increased magnitude of the east-west traffic volume drop compared to Alternative 1 is due to auto trips diverting to the Exposition LRT.

Impacts Associated with Loss of a Lane on Wilshire Boulevard [page 3.2-45

The corridor analyses indicate that the loss of one lane in each direction on Wilshire Boulevard, as a result of the proposed Wilshire BRT (Alternatives 1, 1A and 1B), is expected to have a significant effect on diverting traffic from Wilshire Boulevard to the broader east-west corridor area. This traffic diversion affects most major streets between Sunset Boulevard and the Santa Monica Freeway. ...

General Traffic and Circulation Effects of the Alternatives

Alternative 2: Wilshire BRT and Exposition BRT (Full Length) [page 3.2-59]

Safety Issues Resulting From Multimodal Operation of Roadway

In the Exposition BRT, some rail crossing gates may still exist. The use of gates at BRT crossings has not been attempted in the U.S. and would require special legislation in order to install such devices at locations where gates do not exist. In addition, because of the relatively short headways between buses, the use of gates may not be an appropriate solution. Current rail standards require a minimum of 20 seconds between the time flashing lights / gates is activated, and the time the train reaches the crossing. With short headways as the rapid bus approach downtown Los Angeles, the gate down time may cause high levels of delay for cross street traffic. [page 3.2-59]

[see pages 3.2-60 to 60 - LRT safety and Exposition Park events]

Alternative 3: Wilshire BRT and Exposition LRT (Full Length) [page 3.2-61]

Safety Issues Resulting From Multimodal Operation of Roadway

Light rail vehicles on the Exposition LRT alignment would travel at speeds up to 55 mph. It is expected thought hat this speed would only be achievable in the stretches on the alignment between Van Ness Avenue and Venice Boulevard where the dedicated railroad ROW with minimum cross street conflicts would permit such speeds. Other sections of the alignment where the LRT is located in the median of such streets as Venice, Sepulveda, and Olympic, the posted speeds from these adjacent streets is 35 mph, therefore, the use of full signal priority would be necessary. As part of the Exposition LRT proposal., the LRVs would preempt the traffic signal ahead at least 20 seconds prior to the train reaching the intersection - this would allow vehicles on the cross street to clear out of the trackway.

Crossings where trains travel faster than 35 mph would be equipped with gates / flashing lights along the Exposition LRT. To deter motorists from going around lowered gated, raised medians may be installed at intersections, unless in areas where the geometry of the crossing does not allow this then four-quadrant gates would be installed. At crossings where the LRT would operate in the street at reduced speeds, gates would not be provided. To reduce the likelihood of motorists turning left in front of approaching trains from behind, at all locations where left-turns by motorist would be allowed across the LRT lines, these left turns would be controlled by a protected left-turn arrow at all times.

Impacts of Special Events Street Closures on Exposition BRT and LRT Operations [page 3.2-63]

When Exposition Boulevard is closed to traffic during events, the operation of a BRT/LRT line might be impacted if it were using an at-grade alignment. Below grade BRT/LRT lines would not be impacted by any street closures at Exposition Park. There are other measures however, that could be taken to allow for at-grade operations of BRT/LRT during special events.

During major events, an at-grade LRT would cause impacts to overall event and traffic operation. Some measures have been recommended to allow the LRT to run while Exposition Boulevard is closed. One possible strategy is to create a "Bus Bridge" which would connect the two sides of the operating LRT with express buses. ... Another recommended measure would allow for the LRT to operate if Exposition Boulevard is closed. Traffic control personnel from the Department of Transportation would need to be present to stop vehicular or pedestrian traffic. This would allow columns of pedestrians to cross the streets at periodic intervals between LRT trains. ... During the LA Marathon , the race could be restricted to the north side of Exposition Boulevard allowing for trains to run during the event potentially at slower speeds.

Intersection Traffic Impacts

General Issues Related to Intersection Impacts [pages 3.2-66 - 7]

The proper placement of advance detection devices will avoid abrupt changes in a signal cycle, (e.g. the green phase not truncated prior to a minimum specified time). ... However, it may not be feasible in every instance to provide the same level of priority treatment for buses traveling in both directions, especially if bus headways become too short.

The effects of preferential bus signal on cross traffic movement / existing traffic signal system have been considered. Priority treatment of buses at intersections holds the potential to reduce a significant source of delay in bus operations. ... However, such an operational mechanism may adversely affect cross traffic movement. Also, today's traffic signal control systems are tightly inter-connected in order to provide progression of general traffic through the urban grid system. Thus, bus signal priority treatments would have to be constrained to achieve modest variations within the context of maintaining a viable synchronization program.

For the alternatives that include an Exposition BRT, the BRT proposal calls for signal priority for the busway (Exposition ROW) and signal priority - but no preemption - in the street running section outside the busway (in Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles). The partial signal prioritization that is proposed for the transit corridor may possibly increase delay for motorists crossing the corridor on the cross streets.

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