Changes are afoot at the Big Blue Bus in the month of February.

BBB has been revising service in anticipation of the Expo Light Rail in 2016. The second phase of these changes will begin in February with the goal of providing better connectivity to the train.

“As a way to mitigate traffic, Expo Phase II stands the best chance of attracting new riders if it is connected to as many locations as possible in as many ways as possible,” said Suja Lowenthal, Planning & Community Engagement Manager with BBB. “In terms of walk distance, that ends around a half mile from each station. For bicycling, transit, and TNC (Uber, Lyft, etc), that sphere of influence extends much farther, in some cases up to ten miles depending on the destination and its regional importance. What we need to create good transit connections is to have north – south bus connectors to the east west rail line approximately every half mile, especially to high density areas, or areas with a lot of jobs.”

Significant changes in February will impact riders going into or out of Marina Del Rey.

Route 1 will now extend south from Main Street and Winward Avenue to Marina Del Rey. Service from Marina Del Rey to downtown Santa Monica and UCLA departs from Marquesas Way and Via Marina.

The revisions will discontinue service between Main Street and Windward Avenue, and Venice Boulevard and Walgrove Avenue. Officials said new Routes 16 and 18 would partially replace the lost service from Route 1.

Route 1 will no longer serve Broadway or Santa Monica Boulevard between Ocean Avenue and 4th Street or Ocean Avenue between downtown and Pico Boulevard. The changes to downtown are related to new Metro Rail service and the need to service the new hub at 4th and Colorado.

“The marina is medium density and will get higher in density as development continues.  It is a regional destination and it also has a fairly large number of jobs,” said Lowenthal. “The pathway to the Marina is through Venice which is extremely high density and also a jobs-rich area.  Both of these areas will work very well with transit.”

According to Lowenthal, public input from residents, community groups and elected officials supported the idea of increasing connections to the marina area.

“There was near universal agreement that the stagnating traffic on the west side was suffocating everyone, and transit had to be part of how we could fix that,” she said. “While the Marina had some transit service, the west side of the Marina did not have a connection to a future Expo Station. As such, we suggested that possibility and received a warm reception from County supervisors.”

The trip from Via Marina/Marquesa Way to downtown Santa Monica will take about 24 minutes depending on the time of day. Marina residents that live in the unincorporated area of the county can get at $14 discount on a monthly EZ transit pass.

“We also expect workers at Marina businesses who live elsewhere to use the service in the other directions,” said Lowenthal. “The total travel time from downtown Los Angeles to the Marina via this connection will be about one hour and fifteen minutes which will be very competitive with the car at certain times of the day.”

A complete list of changes including new and removed stops can be found online at

http://bigbluebus.com.

editor@www.smdp.com