For Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, it was a moment that he had been waiting for since he joined the council five years ago.
“This is a great day for Venice and Mar Vista,” said Rosendahl, a Mar Vista resident, before he proudly stepped aboard a rapid bus traveling down Venice Boulevard Tuesday morning, June 29th.
The Rapid Bus 733 is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) latest effort to provide public transportation to and from the Westside to alleviate congestion and traffic. It is also one of Rosendahl’s pet projects and among his most satisfying initiatives that has come to fruition to date, he said.
“This is the 27th rapid bus in the city and I’ve been talking about this one for four years,” said the councilman, who is on the council’s transportation committee. “I’m thrilled, because Venice Boulevard is the perfect place for a rapid bus.”
The councilman said he worked with Metro’s Intergovernmental Affairs Director Art Henry for three years to bring his dream of a Venice Boulevard rapid bus to fruition.
Rosendahl boarded the bus at the corner of Venice and Centinela Avenue to head downtown to City Hall. He was joined by a number of constituents and bicycle enthusiasts, including Damien Newton, who writes Streetblog Los Angeles, an online transportation site.
The 733 made its debut Sunday, June 27th and has stops in Santa Monica, Venice and Mar Vista. It begins at Ocean and Arizona avenues in Santa Monica and has Venice boarding points at Venice Way and Pacific Avenue, Venice and Lincoln boulevards, Venice and Walgrove Avenue and Venice and Beethoven Street, as well as Mar Vista stops at Venice and Centinela and Venice and Inglewood boulevards.
Unlike the Santa Monica 10 Big Blue Bus, the 733 does not take the freeway downtown.
David Ewing, who boarded at Venice and Inglewood for the June 29th ride, said he enjoyed the approximately 50-minute trip to downtown Los Angeles.
“We got there in plenty of time,” said Ewing, a Venice resident who, like Rosendahl, was headed to City Hall.
Rosendahl said he is excited about the possibility of having fewer cars on the road and less congestion as residents of Venice, Mar Vista and Santa Monica learn more about the rapid bus.
“This is just a first step,” he said. “What this does is it says that a rapid bus will work here. This cuts off a good half an hour on a person’s commute.”
Ewing, who lives near Lincoln and Venice, took the bus downtown for a hearing on an oversized vehicle ordinance and was accompanied by Venice residents Sue Kaplan and Karen Wolfe.
“It’s a fun trip when you take the bus with a group of people,” said Ewing, who was taking his first ride on the rapid bus. “It’s like having a party.”
The significance of the location where Rosendahl boarded the Rapid 733 was not lost on him. Six years earlier, he announced his candidacy for City Council at the same corner in Mar Vista.
“That was a special day for me, and it’s a new day for Venice and Mar Vista,” he said.