MTA approves bus-only lane for Wilshire Blvd.

LOS ANGELES The plan is projected to cost $31.5 million and was unanimously approved on Thursday by the /*MTA*/ Board.

Wilshire Boulevard is the most heavily traveled transportation corridor in all of L.A. County.

"It's a really exciting project," said MTA official Brad McAllister. "It's not just a matter of moving cars anymore, it's a matter of moving people, increasing the number of people moving through the corridor."

The plan would take the right-hand lane and turn it into a bus lane during rush-hour traffic. The lane would go from Centinela Avenue on the Westside to South Park View Street just south of downtown.

The bus lane would only be active on weekdays from 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. During those times, cars can enter the lane only to turn right. During non rush-hour times, cars can use the lane as usual.

But residents on a 1-mile stretch between Comstock Avenue and Selby Avenue have fought the plan, claiming the loss of two lanes of traffic during rush hours would make an already untenable commute even worse.

The route also does not go through Beverly Hills.

The environmental impact report said the plan will reduce run times for buses by about 12 minutes, while increasing drivers commutes by six minutes.

Activists of the bus lane had argued that it would help take passengers between subway stations on the proposed Subway to the Sea, which would extend the Purple Line subway to Santa Monica on a route similar to the 10 Freeway.

There's one final environmental impact report that has to be done before the plan can move forward, but construction is expected to begin in 2012, and the bus lane should be open by 2013.

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