Southside Pilot Data Collection Continues

AC Transit is proposing a 3-6 month pilot, or test, of transit improvements on Telegraph Avenue northbound above Dwight Way and on Bancroft Way westbound, and green protected bike lanes on Bancroft Way and Dana Street, both as part of needed southside area improvements. The Bancroft Way protected bike lanes will connect with Fulton Street’s new protected bike lane. Transit improvements to Telegraph Avenue in particular should keep buses moving along, delivering thousands of students to Cal every day.

The pilot would help demonstrate efficiency of improving bus service in the congested area and creating a network of attractive bikeways connecting to Cal and connecting Telegraph Avenue to Downtown Berkeley. The cumulative result will be a more connected neighborhood with good reliable travel options, and a welcoming, attractive, vibrant neighborhood and commercial district. The project is long overdue and we need your support to make it happen.

Bike East Bay is helping AC Transit and the Telegraph Avenue Business Improvement District work out details of the proposed plan. We expect the proposal to go to Berkeley City Council for approval in September.

What you can do

The Southside Pilot

“Southside” is the area roughly bounded by Bancroft Way, Fulton Street, Dwight Way, and Piedmont Ave/Gayley Rd. Although this area has been the subject of much analysis and planning, the Southside still exhibits several challenges to multi-modal safety, access, and mobility. These challenges include unpredictable transit speeds, gaps in the bicycle network, unprotected bicycle facilities, and difficult pedestrian crossings at some intersections. Several events and milestones are approaching which present a unique opportunity to test new roadway configurations to address these challenges by improving safety, comfort, and convenience for people riding transit or bicycles.

The Southside Pilot is a 3 – 6 month pilot employing low-cost, low-impact materials to create dedicated bicycle and transit lanes and place-making elements. The materials would be similar to those used to build Fulton Street’s protected bike lane, and include paint, signage, flex posts and a lot of community outreach. Cal’s IN-CITY Summer design program is ready to help with design and outreach in July and August. UC Berkeley’s Long Range Development Plan mitigation monies have been identified to cover the cost of the pilot. Measure BB transportation sales tax dollars are available to construct a permanent project after the pilot ends.

Timeline

  • Transportation Commission approval in June (done)
  • Data collection in early July
  • Community outreach July-August
  • Berkeley City Council approval July 12
  • Pilot initial phase October 1 thru December 31 (tentative)
  • Community Workshop at end of Phase 1
  • Pilot followon phase January 1, 2017 - March 31, 2017
  • Bancroft Way repaved between Dana and Fulton, Spring 2017 with community’s preferred design

Dana Street Two-Way Protected Bike Lane Concept (Cycle Track)

Between Dwight Way and Bancroft Way, the Southside Pilot will stripe a two-way protected bike lane, or cycle track, on the west side of Dana Street. A bus boarding island would be provided at Durant Way.

Bancroft Way West of Dana Street Two-Way Protected Bike Lane Concept (Cycle Track)

On Bancroft Way west of Dana Street, a red bus only lane would be striped on the north side of Bancroft Way and a two-way protected bike lane would be striped on the southside. Bancroft’s two-way bikeway would connect with Dana Street’s new protected bike lanes and with the existing protected bike lane on Fulton Street.

Bancroft Way East of Telegraph Avenue Two-Way Protected Bike Lane Concept (Cycle Track)

On Bancroft Way east of Telegraph Avenue, the main priority would be to stripe a bus only lane and a short two-way protected bike lane between Telegraph Avenue and Bowditch Bicycle Boulevard, with an option to extend the bikeway east to Piedmont Avenue.

 

Telegraph Avenue Bus Only Lane North of Dwight Way (Cycle Track)

On Telegraph Avenue, a red bus only lane is striped in one of the two travel lanes, preserving loading zones for local business delivery. AC Transit has also designed a combination bus stop/parklet wooden bulbout, which will improved bus operations and add street furniture to the street.

 

Discussion

Existing Conditions

Although this area has been the subject of much analysis and planning, the Southside still exhibits several challenges to multi-modal safety, access, and mobility.  These challenges include:

  • Transit: Each hour, 40 buses enter the Southside area.  Each weekday, more than 8,600 people begin or end their trips to or from the Southside by transit.  Although automobile volumes are relatively low, traffic and loading is diffuse, creating a slow, congested street.  For AC Transit and our customers, this means travel is wildly unpredictable.  At irregular intervals throughout the day, buses travel as slow as 4.5 MPH.  The sporadic nature of this delay makes it impossible for AC Transit to effectively or efficiently schedule bus service.  As a result, buses are often “bunching” (traveling in pairs) and “gapping” (missing scheduled trips).

 

  • Biking: People on bicycles face their own challenges.  There are many locations where the bicycle network stops short of a major destination or a connection to another bicycle facility.  With the exception of the new parking-protected bike lane on Fulton Street, people on bicycles are not physically separated from passing automobiles.  These facilities fail to provide safe, comfortable access that can attract new users.

Proposal

AC Transit presents a Southside Pilot Proposal, a 3 – 6 month pilot project to demonstrate and evaluate dedicated bicycle and transit lanes in the Southside area.  This proposal ties together concepts from previous planning documents, City policies, and best practices.  This pilot will greatly improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, improve convenience and reliability of transit, and bring much positive attention to the Southside.  The cumulative result will be a more welcoming, attractive, vibrant neighborhood and commercial district.

Scope

The Southside Pilot addresses the needs and desires for multimodal access and mobility to, from, within, and through the Southside area.  The Pilot is specifically geared toward improving safety, reliability, and travel-time for people riding bicycles and transit, while being sensitive to the need for more vibrant pedestrian space, loading zones, and on-street parking.

The primary elements of the Pilot are:

  • Two-way cycle tracks:
    • South side of Bancroft Way (between Fulton Street and Dana Street);
    • West side of Dana Street (between Bancroft Way and Dwight Way);
    • South side of Bancroft Way (between Telegraph Ave and Piedmont Way);
  • Dedicated transit lanes:
    • East side of Telegraph Ave (between approach of Dwight Way to Bancroft Way); and
    • North side of Bancroft Way (between Piedmont Way and Fulton Street).

Additional place-making and marketing elements may include:

  • Retrofitting bus stops into parklets, bulb outs, or island stops;
  • Bicycle parking corrals;
  • Assistance with branding and marketing the Southside area; and/or
  • Wayfinding and location designation signage.

The Southside Pilot Proposal includes alternative cross-sections that maintain on-street parking where possible.

Timeline

Several events and milestones are approaching which present a unique opportunity to test new roadway configurations to address these challenges by improving safety, comfort, and convenience for people riding transit or bicycles.  AC Transit proposes an expedited timeline for the pilot in order to gather data, inform design decisions, and bolster grant applications in a timely fashion.  A list of key events is shown below.

 
File attachment: PDF icon UC Transit Fair Boards (DRAFT 20160419).pdf