The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) is currently re-examining its transit system and looking to improve the City’s bus service with the help of the public under an initiative called “Moving Forward…Together.” In Northeast LA, the most prominent LADOT transit service is the Eagle Rock/Highland Park DASH line. This line does something peculiar when traveling between Avenue 54 and Avenue 58 that the LADOT may want to consider changing.
If heading toward San Pascual Park, currently the DASH travels south on Avenue 54, turns left onto Figueroa, makes 2 stops on Figueroa (at Avenue 55 and Avenue 56), turns left onto Avenue 57, stops at Highland Park Gold Line Station on Marmion Way, turns right on Avenue 58, then makes a left onto Figueroa again and heads northeast on Figueroa. It makes the same motion in reverse if heading toward the Eagle Rock Plaza. On Tuesdays, the DASH does not stop at the Highland Park Gold Line Station due to the weekly farmer’s market.This portion of the route is very inefficient and is needlessly complicated with the weekly farmer’s market throwing the route off four times a month.
However, this situation could be simplified through a minor adjustment. Rather than making a left onto Figueroa from Avenue 54, the DASH should instead make a left onto Monte Vista St, make two stops on Monte Vista St (at Avenue 54 and Avenue 56), turn right on Avenue 57 with a stop at Marmion Way, then continue south and make a left onto Figueroa from Avenue 57. This would:
- Speed up service by eliminating the unnecessary looping and zig-zag the route currently makes.
- Eliminate the route’s conflict with the weekly farmer’s market and the re-routing that occurs every Tuesday.
- Improve the DASH as a means of reaching the Highland Park Gold Line Station.
- Provide a more direct and predictable path of travel for DASH users.
When heading toward the Eagle Rock Plaza, the DASH route can make the same proposed motion in reverse. The bus would make a right onto Avenue 57 from Figueroa, stop at Marmion Way to let passengers off the bus to hop on the Gold Line (or visit the farmer’s market, if on a Tuesday), then make a left onto Monte Vista St followed by a right onto Avenue 54. An alternative would be to simply run the DASH on Figueroa rather than Monte Vista but doing so would remove the possibility for a stop directly in front of the Gold Line Station.
The Eagle Rock/Highland Park DASH route is far from efficient, after all it is primarily intended as a local circulator than a speedy connection. Even if the route made the change proposed in this post it would still be relatively inefficient for most trips but service would be improved considerably. The loop the DASH makes in this area exists solely to drop people off at the Highland Park Gold Line Station is likely a result of a route revision made after the Gold Line station opened without much thought given to the impact on the quality and speed of the DASH service. If several such modifications are made over time, a bus line can become near useless and a pain for those that depend on it. The proposed modification in this post eliminates the loop altogether while still serving the Gold Line (and dropping riders off even closer to the station’s entrance if the DASH stops at the same bus stop as the 256), creating a seemingly “win-win” situation. There are other parts of this local DASH route that may warrant re-evaluation, in particular the portion between Figueroa and San Pascual Park, but any potential changes there will not be as simple or inconsequential.
(For more information about LADOT’s “Moving Forward…Together” initiative, click here. To take an LADOT survey or to participate in the Department’s forum on improving DASH (or creating a new DASH line), click here. And for more information about the Eagle Rock/Highland Park DASH line, click here. If you have any suggestions for improvements to DASH service in Northeast LA, be sure to let the LADOT know via their forum and contact information on their website.)