May 19: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

1974:  The Spring Street Contraflow Bus Lane opens.

Spring Street contraflow map


The lane was originally scheduled to open June 3, but was moved up.  It runs north on Spring Street from 9th Street to Macy (now Cesar Chavez) Street against the normal southbound one-way flow.

Buses normally running north on Main Street are rerouted onto Spring Street to travel the 12-block stretch through the downtown area.

This experiment is studied to determine its effectiveness and potential applicability as a means of providing expedited bus service on other downtown surface streets.

A progress report on the project demonstrating its success is released six weeks later.

The lane operates until December 2005 when conversion of historic core buildings to residential use and pedestrian-friendly improvements change the character of the street and bus service is moved a block east to Main.

More information can be found in the May 15, 1974 issue of Headway, the Southern California Rapid Transit District employee news magazine.