Location: 

Los Angeles County, within the Veterans Administrative Center unincorporated community

City or County Responsible for Project: 

Los Angeles County

Award Category: 

Efficient and Sustainable Road and Bridge Preservation, Maintenance and Construction and Reconstruction Projects

Narrative Description Of Your Entry: 

The Wilshire Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project was completed in February 2015, and is located in the Los Angeles County unincorporated community of Veterans Administration (VA) Center, near the University of California, Los Angeles campus. The Wilshire Boulevard transit corridor is a 12.5-mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard that has an average daily traffic volume of 80,000 vehicles and serves highly significant origin and destination points for southern Californian trips. Over 41% of all transit trips begin or end in the corridor and over 50% of them occur solely within the corridor. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) has a goal for the corridor to improve transit travel times, reliability, and ridership; repave damaged areas; and improve traffic flow. With funding provided by LACMTA, this project improved traffic flow along 0.38 mile of the corridor between Federal Avenue/San Vicente Boulevard and Bonsall Avenue by adding a peak period bus lane in the eastbound direction to provide more efficient bus service; adding an auxiliary lane in the westbound direction to reduce abrupt weaving movements between westbound Wilshire Boulevard traffic and motorists merging into Wilshire Boulevard from the Bonsall Avenue on-ramp; and extending the westbound left-turn pocket at the Federal Avenue intersection to eliminate left-turn traffic queuing into the thru-traffic lane. The project also rehabilitated the roadway pavement with concrete in some places and recycled tire rubber modified asphalt concrete in others to sustainably extend the roadway’s pavement useful life; upgraded curb ramps and sidewalks to enhance pedestrian access; constructed a storm drain system to address localized drainage issues; relocated and/or upgraded street lights and traffic signals with longer-lasting Light Emitting Diode lights to provide higher visibility while consuming less energy; and replaced existing hardscape areas with drought-tolerant landscaping to enhance the streetscape and percolate more street runoff into the ground. In order to minimize impacts to the pedestrian, motorists, and transit users of Wilshire Boulevard, a special bidding process was applied that considered the construction bid amount and construction duration. Financial incentives were provided to promote a reduced timeline to complete construction, and traffic control information for the different construction phases was shared with the local commuters and the community. Extensive communication and coordination occurred with the County’s Board of Supervisors, Caltrans, City of Los Angeles, LACMTA, United States Army Corps of Engineers, and the VA. The Wilshire Boulevard BRT project extended the roadway’s useful life; enhanced access for pedestrians, motorists, and transit users; utilized sustainable materials; and improved air quality by increasing traffic mobility.

Submitted by: 

Elaine Kunitake

Title: 

Senior Civil Engineer

Organization: 

Los Angeles County Department of Public Works

Address: 

900 South Fremont Avenue, Alhambra, CA 91803

Phone: 

(626) 458-7983

Fax: 

(626) 458-7827

Email: 

EKUNITAKE@dpw.lacounty.gov

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