Mass transit, and especially electric mass transit, are top solutions for a variety of transportation challenges. It provides solutions to traffic congestion, pollution, and inequity. Many people who choose buses, walking, subways, and mass transit, do so — to avoid the stress of traffic. They are an antidote to some of the biggest negative side effects of car culture.
Streetfilms visually examines an urban innovation for the transport option in one of its wonderful urban visions, “Bus Lane in Bloom: Flower Street and the Urgency of Speeding Up LA Bus Service.” The Flower Street bus-only lane is a pilot project replacing a temporarily closed light-rail service. It has jumped into the spotlight, showing how smooth transit can be. The results show flowing transit that works like it should, like it can work.
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is leading a global coalition of “climate mayors” working to make bus lanes much more extensive.
If we want to get rid of traffic congestion in cities, we have to move people more efficiently. By definition, cities are relatively small geographic spaces for the large number of people living (and traveling) there. Moving each individual in a large vehicle of their own is space inefficient and leads to congestion. The wiser choice for all is to get cars off the roads, and buses are a good way to do so with a compromise between personal space and efficiency. The bus-only lane on Flower Street in Los Angeles shows that this works particularly well when you prioritize the more efficient option.
A bird's eye view of a dedicated bus lane in action. We're moving nearly 70 buses an hour through the Flower Street bus lane each evening! pic.twitter.com/funsVVdX81
— LA Metro (@metrolosangeles) July 23, 2019
This bus only lane got us like 🥰 Today the @metrolosangeles bus only lane opened on Flower #betterbusesforla #GoMetro @CurrenDPriceJr @josehuizar @MayorOfLA @LADOTofficial @metrolosangeles pic.twitter.com/DEkR2UnMIH
— Investing in Place (@InvestinPlace) June 4, 2019
No one wants to ride a slow-moving bus. It’s not a good thing if ridership falls. That just leads to more cars. Streetfilms points out that sluggish and unreliable bus service is a major problem for transit riders in Los Angeles. “Since 1994, average LA Metro bus speeds have dropped more than 12 percent. Bus riders account for nearly three-quarters of all LA Metro fixed-route transit trips, but bus ridership is steadily falling.
“While LA has a few bus lanes, they are sparse, and implementation has typically proceeded at a snail’s pace. For a city where so many residents ride buses bogged down in traffic — and whose mayor, Eric Garcetti, now leads the global coalition of ‘climate mayors’ — bus lanes should be much more extensive.”
Absolutely. Perhaps now that LA transit riders experienced the breeze of what a more intelligent approach to prioritizing bus service can do, there will be a shift.