Last year, Metro held a lengthy series of community workshops to gather input and information for its big “NextGen” re-vamp of the city’s bus system. Last month, the agency debuted a draft of its plan for that big makeover, based on information collected last year, and is now publicizing the new plan and seeking comments and input for the approval process.
Details of the NextGen plan’s elements and recommendations are available at the links above. But for those who prefer to receive information from live, in-person representatives, who can answer questions on the spot, Metro is also holding another big series of community workshops to present the new information. We caught up with one of these sessions last week at West Hollywood’s Plummer Park, but there are still more coming up (see below for dates, times and locations), so there’s plenty of time to join in.
According to Metro, last year’s outreach efforts collected input from more than 20,000 transit riders, and reached more than 10 million people overall. And the big takeaway from that work was that the current bus system just isn’t competitive with other modes of transit for the places most people want and need to go.
Another thing Metro learned, as outlined in an introductory video for the current draft plan (a more detailed background video is available here), was that 80% of all riders travel on just a couple dozen major bus routes…so that’s where Metro focused its attention for improvements. The overall goal of the revisions is to make our buses more directly competitive with other modes of transport – in other words, a bus system that is more “fast, frequent and reliable.” Specific proposed improvements include:
- Double the number of frequent Metro bus lines
- Provide more than 80% of current bus riders with 10 minute or better frequency
- Improve and expand midday, evening and weekend service, creating an all-day, 7-day-a-week service
- Ensure a ¼-mile (or shorter) walk to a bus stop for 99% of current riders
- Redesign bus stops and shelters to create a more comfortable and safer waiting environment
How commute times will be improved will vary slightly from route to route, but one big technique will be to combine many existing local and express routes to create shorter, and more uniform, wait times along major lines. For example, here’s how our Wilshire Blvd. routes 20 and 720 would be combined and adjusted, to create wait times comfortably under 10 minutes for most of the day and evening :
According to Metro, the current public workshop and comment phase for the draft NextGen plan will run through March, and then there will be public hearings in June. Then, if all goes well with the approval phase after that, improvements could start rolling out as soon as December of this year. (According to Metro representative Conan Cheung, at last week’s workshop, Metro regularly rolls out service improvements in June and December of each year, and the NextGen changes would be fully implemented over 2-3 such periods. The first set of improvements (likely focusing on the LA metro area and downtown) would happen in December, 2020. The second round (focusing on the San Fernando Valley) would happen in June of 2021…and the third round (in the San Gabriel Valley) would be completed in December, 2021.)
Metro’s full report on the plan details is available online, and the detailed specifics are available in graphic form including maps, schedules, trip planners and other tools at https://arellano.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html.
But if you’d prefer to explore the plan with the help of Metro staff, ask questions about specific details or routes, or provide in-person feedback, there are still several more community workshops scheduled:
Saturday, February 22, 2020
10am – 1pm
Los Angeles Metro Headquarters
1 Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
4 – 7pm
Bell Community Center
6250 Pine Av
Bell, CA 90201
San Fernando Valley
Thursday, February 27, 2020
4 – 7pm
Rose Goldwater Community Center
21710 Vanowen St
Canoga Park, CA 91303
San Gabriel Valley
Thursday, February 20, 2020
4 – 7pm
Pasadena Senior Center
85 E Holly St
Pasadena, CA 91103
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
4 – 7pm
The Foundation Center
11633 S Western Av
Los Angeles, CA 90047
Also, in addition to extensive information on the NextGen plan, the workshops include information and representatives for other current Metro projects, including the planned northern extension of the Crenshaw light rail line…and the big Regional Connector project now under construction in downtown LA. It’s a great way to catch up with many of Metro’s ongoing system improvements.