The rush-hour bus-and-bike lanes on Wilshire work quite well, after all. I rode the eastbound on my way home from a medical appointment yesterday, and it was clear sailing along a normally turgid street. Most (but by no means all) of the cars stayed in their designated lanes, which accommodated them handily despite road construction that roughened things up a bit. The buses rolled by with priority, as they should—Metro’s buses move 25% more people along the Wilshire corridor at rush hour than all the private cars put together, helping clear the air and the roads both—and my own pedal down the lane was far more peaceful than it usually is in the barroom brawl that the Miracle Mile resembles when it’s the usual free-for-all. Traffic was more orderly, and everyone kept moving at a reasonable pace, instead of jackrabbiting from jam to jam.
Of course, there were scofflaw drivers—I’d guess about one out of twenty-five. But most of the motorists behaved, which was surprising.
However, during this morning‘s rush hour, when I was out snapping pictures of the scene, I saw a lot more delinquency among the steering-wheel set. What I saw very little of either time was police presence. A black-and-white motorcycle or two would be very nice to help ensure rush-hour civility.
Bicyclists still aren’t quite used to the idea, though bus/bike lanes have proven safe in Germany, in congested London, and in our own downtown. Still, I logged a number of them, but (because in my laziness I was depending on a phone camera, which just doesn’t work for really fluid situations), the relaxed young man in the snap above is the only one I actually managed to pixelize.
So I say that, if you’re having to roll along Wilshire anywhere between Beverly Hills and downtown at rush hour, try the bus lanes. It’s something Metro’s gotten right, and something bold at that. A rare thing for Los Angeles!