Thursday, December 17, 2009

Transportation Commission Action on BRT

Thanks to Len Conly for writing this report.

On November 19, 2009 the City of Berkeley took a first step towards the selection of a route – also known as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) - for the Berkeley segment of the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line proposed by AC Transit by holding an informational session and a public hearing on a Draft LPA prepared by Berkeley transportation staff.

The choice of an LPA for BRT in Berkeley is known as the “full-build” option to distinguish it from a “no-build” option which essentially means the preservation of existing 1R bus service between downtown Berkeley and Oakland. There is also an option called “Rapid Bus Plus” which has been proposed by a Berkeley group known as BBTOP which AC Transit will study – after meeting with BBTOP to understand the proposal. A representative of Nelson/Nygaard (consultants to the city on the BRT project) said that - based on what she had seen of the Rapid Bus Plus “option” - there is little to distinguish it from the “no-build” option. The term “Rapid Bus Plus” is not familiar to most transit professionals.

The details of the route chosen by staff can be downloaded from

After public comment and a detailed presentation of the plan by Nelson/Nygaard - and city staff - the commission moved that the staff rewrite the Draft LPA – reformatting it to include a matrix to lay out the criteria that guided the selection of the route.
The Commission also moved to recommend that an alternative be included for study by AC Transit of a 2-way Bancroft option that would include a dedicated westbound BRT lane on Bancroft and a mixed flow eastbound land for BRT. Removal of westbound automobile traffic from Bancroft would necessitate the conversion of Durant to a two way street to increase the capacity for westbound auto traffic from Telegraph to Shattuck, and the study should look at this as well.

While the staff Draft LPA envisions mixed flow traffic for BRT on Shattuck Avenue, the commission also asked that AC Transit study an option for BRT running in dedicated center lanes on Shattuck in the downtown.

The resolution also included a request that a study of additional pedestrian/sidewalk space be included at Telegraph and Bancroft, and a left turn capability onto Channing for the garage.

During the public comment period, support for BRT was expressed by the Sierra Club, TransForm, the Friends of BRT, and others.

The Transportation Commission recommendations were forwarded to the Planning Commission for their December 9, 2009 hearing on the Draft LPA.
A complete podcast of this meeting is available at Thanks to Scott Mace for providing this podcast.