The First Dedicated Busway In The US

Is Los Angeles' new Metro Orange Line -- a dedicated busway -- a 'revolution' for the city? Running the width of the Valley, LA County Supervisor Zez Yaroslavsky calls the line a true innovation in American transit.
November 8, 2005, 11am PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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The Metro Orange Line, running the width of the Valley, represents a true innovation in American transit. It is the first dedicated busway in the United States, and L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky says that a dedicated busway â€" featuring articulated buses and rail-style stations â€" might, becuase of lower cost and greater flexibility, be superior to rail in some areas.

Supervisor Yaroslavsky recounts the political and technical vision that led to the Orange Line. Furthermore, he predicts that the Orange Line may not only make a significant contribution to mobility in the Valley, but also provide a model for future rapid transit projects throughout the region:

"The beauty of this system is that it’s flexible. We can change it, we can add more buses, we can take buses off â€" I don’t think we’ll ever take buses off, but we can certainly add them if the ridership justifies it â€" and we’ll see how it operates, and then we’ll fine-tune it. One thing we’ve learned from Curitiba and other places is don’t be afraid to say, “We didn’t think of that” or “this isn’t working the way we thought it would.”

We need to improve on our successes and junk our failures. This is going to be the genius of this system. It was an elementary solution, and we saw it through, despite tremendous opposition. It’s a lesson especially to term-limited politicians, who don’t have the perspective of time to know that there’s life after making a controversial decision, and that you can integrate communities into the planning process; integrate their legitimate concerns into everything along the way; and have confidence at the end of the day that when they see the final product they will be satisfied that the public agency kept its word."

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Published on Monday, November 7, 2005 in The Metro Investment Report
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