Time to Make Bus Rapid Transit Bike-Friendly Transit

Help make Bus Rapid Transit bike-friendly rapid transit by attending a November workshop to see the latest designs for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations, maps showing dedicated bus lanes and bike lanes, bike parking at stations and designs for the interior bus cars with bike racks.

Upcoming Community Meetings:

  • Wednesday, Nov 7, 6:00-8:00pm Lincoln Recreation Center, 250 10th Street, Oakland
  • Thursday, Nov 8, 6:00-8:00pm San Leandro City Hall South Offices, 835 E. 14th Street, San Leandro
  • Tuesday, Nov 13, 6:00-8:00pm St. Anthony’s School, 1535 16th Ave, Club Room, Oakland
  • Thursday, Nov 15, 6:00-8:00pm Rainbow Recreation Center, 5800 International Blvd, Oakland
  • Saturday, Nov 17, 11:30am-1:30pm 81st Avenue Library, 1021 81st Ave, Oakland

This is the best opportunity for you to make sure the new Bus Rapid Transit system in Oakland and San Leandro works for you and your bike. See you there! For more information, visit www.ACTransit.org or call 510.891.7175 or email brt@actransit.org.

Summer 2012 Update:
With Councilmembers Schaaf, De La Fuente and Nadel leading the charge, Oakland City Council unanimously approved Bus Rapid Transit Tuesday night. This means world-class bus service is coming to the ‘Town. It also means we get a continuous bike lane from Lake Merritt to Downtown San Leandro, largely as part of the BRT project. Thanks go out to all our members who attended meetings and sent emails of support and extra special thanks go out to all the community groups in Central and East Oakland for supporting BRT. While the vote was 7-0, there were several councilmembers ready to vote no. And major cudos to our partners at Transform and their leader on the Bus Rapid Transit campaign Joel Ramos, for all of his team’s tremendous work to make this wonderful project a reality!

On Monday night, the San Leandro City Council unanimously supported bringing Bus Rapid Transit to the East Bay, a 7-0 vote. Take that Berkeley! AC Transit will finalize designs in the next 6-9 months and hope to start construction in 2014.

Cudos to San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy for insisting that Bus Rapid Transit include bike lanes all along the BRT route, which it will. However we are working with San Leandro city staff to improve the shoddy “door-zone” lanes that currently exist on E.14th St.

The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is proud that our members were strong voices in support and that the broad community of support for this project appreciates how important good bike access is to better bus service. Thank you to everyone who helped us show how buses and bikes go together.

The plan is for the bus rapid transit service to start along segments in late 2014 and to have full operations by 2016, with bike lanes along much of the route.

AC Transit Board approves Bus Rapid Transit Project with bike lanes from Downtown Oakland to San Leandro

Specifically, bike lanes are proposed as part of bus rapid transit from 2nd Ave to 14th Ave, in the East Lake District, and in East Oakland, along International Blvd, from 55 Ave all the way into San Leandro, connecting to Davis Street. The East Bay Bicycle Coalition is continuing to work with AC Transit to ensure that the design of the bike lanes is optimized and works well with the new rapid bus service. In addition, the new buses for BRT will be bike-friendly.

Ultimately, this DOSL bus rapid transit project will allow for the completion of the major bikeway corridor from Downtown Oakland to Fruitvale. The bikeway will go along 14th St, connect to E. 12th St where the BRT buses will run, and south beyond 14th Ave the bike lanes will continue as part of a separate bikeway project currently going before City Council in May. These bike lanes will connect to the existing bike lanes on E. 12th St at Fruitvale Village and continuing south to 40th Ave. Once completed, this will be one of Oakland’s longest, continuous bikeways and we are delighted that AC Transit is helping us make it happen.

In support of the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit Project, we have joined TransForm, Walk Oakland Bike Oakland, Urban Habitat, The Alameda County Building Trades, Amalgamated Transit-Workers Union Local 192 (the bus drivers), The Asian Pacific Environmental Network, The Northern Alameda County Chapter of the Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, Bay Localize, Youth Uprising, Movement Generation, Street Level (a day laborers service provider) and more. However, there is still plenty of opposition and concerns from businesses along these transit corridors. So, we need your help.
The Environmental Report for the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit Project

You may certainly help by contacting your City Council member and letting them know that you support Bus Rapid Transit and bike lanes.

The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project extends from Berkeley to San Leandro and has been scaled back from it’s original proposal, due to business’ concerns about loss of parking and neighborhood concerns about traffic diversion. Still, there is much to praise in the Report. Bike lanes are included on Telegraph Ave in Oakland and on E. 12th St from Lake Merritt to 14th Ave. In Berkeley, BRT buses will share existing lanes with traffic and thus no additional bike lanes are proposed with BRT. In Oakland and San Leandro, BRT will have dedicated travel lanes in the center of the roadway, with bike lanes along the curb in some stretches and along parked cars in others, with sufficient space from the door zone. All BRT buses will be bike-friendly and have dedicated space inside the cars for bikes. Boarding platforms will be level, so it will be easy to move your bike on and off of the cars.

There are many additional benefits for cyclists. 1) there will be only one lane of travel in each direction on Telegraph, E 12th St and International Blvd and several left turn movements will be prevented. This benefits bicyclists by reducing turning conflicts and overall traffic volumes. Of course, where parking is removed for the boarding stations, cyclists travel in a curbside bike lane.

There are still some bikeway design issues to be worked out, mainly at the intersections where AC Transit is proposing to drop the bike lane and use sharrows. The Report also includes proposed mitigation measures that could reintroduce turning pockets, which will squeeze out cyclists. In additional, one alternative proposal is to run BRT only from downtown Oakland to San Leandro, when it is needed all the way between Berkeley and San Leandro.

Organizations who have signed on in support of Bus Rapid Transit
TransForm, WOBO, the EBBC, Urban Habitat, The Alameda County Building Trades, Amalgamated Transit-workers Union Local 192 (the bus drivers), The Asian Pacific Environmental Network, The Northern Alameda County Chapter of the Sierra Club, Greenbelt Alliance, Bay Localize, Youth Uprising, Movement Generation, Street Level (a day laborers service provider) and more every day….

Additional Benefits of Bus Rapid Transit

Safety from Crime:

  • Increased lighting at stations makes waiting for transit much safer;
  • Emergency phones at stations provide direct links to police or sheriff;
  • Cameras at stations act as crime deterrents;
  • Fare Inspection officers also increase presence of authority, and can act as “eyes and ears” of police or sheriff;
  • Higher concentrations of passengers at stations (rather than scattered along at stops) increase overall “eyes on the street” and decrease isolation of potential victims waiting for a bus alone on the side of the road, in the dark;
  • Higher frequency of bus arrival times (every 5 minutes during peak hours), and improved reliability significantly decrease time spent waiting for the bus, and exposing one’s self as a potential target for crime.

Safety from Traffic:

  • Dedicated lanes calm car traffic to safer speeds
  • Bike lanes calm car traffic to safer speeds, and get bikes off of sidewalks;
  • New traffic signals make it safer to cross the street;
  • Improved crosswalks and bulb-outs increase visibility of pedestrians;
  • Increased street lighting increases visibility of pedestrians;

Health Benefits

  • Improved ambulance and fire response times by giving emergency vehicles access to a traffic-free dedicated bus lane (as buses do now, the BRT would pull over to block traffic, and allow emergency vehicles to safely and quickly pass);
  • Creates bike lanes, which encourage biking which has been proven to improve health;
    By offering greener choices for transportation, BRT reduces asthma and other respiratory problems by reducing air pollution;
  • Reduces obesity and health problems by creating safe, accessible and walkable communities. BRT would create pleasant transit stops and safer streets and sidewalks;
  • Provides more accessible, reliable transit to health and medical centers along the corridor.

Economic Benefits

  • Turns a 30 minute bus ride into a 20 minute bus ride, saving time and money for riders.
  • Creates hundreds of local jobs (300 Construction jobs, and hundreds more support jobs);
  • Invests $180M into Alameda County from Federal and State funds;
  • Acts as a catalyst for the implementation of the International Blvd. TOD Plan
  • Attracts private investment (BRT in Cleveland attracted some $4.3B of investment into it’s struggling economy);
  • Reduces the cost of transit operations (in Boston, BRT is actually profitable to the agency!)!


New Milestone For Bus Rapid Transit:
Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report
Ready For Public Review

Community Meetings Planned, Too

The East Bay Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project moved a step closer to reality today with AC Transit’s announcement that the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report for the project is now available for public review and comment.

The publication of the FEIS/R provides the public and other interested parties an opportunity to learn about a project that promises to improve the speed and reliability of bus service in the 14-mile corridor from downtown Berkeley to the San Leandro BART station.

The BRT FEIS/R will be available for public review from February 3, 2012 to March 19, 2012. The document can be viewed at AC Transit headquarters, 1600 Franklin Street, Oakland; online at FEIR Bus Rapid Transit East Bay; and at public libraries in Berkeley, Oakland and San Leandro.

A copy of the report can also be requested by calling (510) 891- 7175.

Along with this review process, AC Transit will also hold a series of community meetings to further inform the public about the project and elicit comments first-hand. The locations, dates and times for the meetings are listed below.

“This is a fantastic project that dramatically improves transit in a tightly congested corridor while stirring significant economic development in an area where it is most needed, ’’ said AC Transit Interim General Manager Mary King. “It will create many employment opportunities during its initial construction phase and beyond. With the new jobs—and the reductions in traffic congestion, commute times and ozone emissions– this is a wonderful project. We are eager to showcase it and hear what the public thinks.”

The FTA has given AC Transit’s BRT the highest overall rating of any of the transit projects under consideration across the United States. Construction is expected to begin in 2014, and the system fully operational in 2016.

About Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

AC Transit’s vision is to provide a truly world-class transit service that is convenient, reliable and safe; one that increases mobility, enhances the quality of life, and improves the health of the environment throughout the communities it serves. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will link one of the busiest traffic corridors in the country with a fast, economical and environmentally-friendly means of transportation. BRT will be a high-capacity rapid transit system that reduces passenger travel times. With dedicated lanes and signal priority, and prominent stations with convenient boarding of buses, BRT will offer residents a viable alternative to driving on congested city streets. It will reduce traffic levels, significantly cutting emissions and pollutants. BRT is essentially light rail without the tracks. It combines the express service and capacity of light rail with the convenience and affordability of riding the bus. It can be planned and built at much less expense, and more quickly, than traditional light rail systems.

File attachment: planning_focus.jpg brtGraphic.jpg Bus Rapid Transit Workshop Flyer brtBikes.jpg Why bus rapid transit is good for bikes