Elected officials from Berkeley and Oakland have expressed their support for the creation of dedicated bus and carpool lanes on the Bay Bridge and sections of Interstate 580 and 880 leading up to the Bay Bridge in a Jan. 30 press release.
The push for the creation of public transit and carpool oriented lanes comes at a time of increased traffic over the Bay Bridge in recent years and vehicles being the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in California, according to the press release.
“A dedicated lane on the Bay Bridge saves our climate and serves our residents,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan in a joint statement in the press release. “We are unified in our support of critical infrastructure projects that improve transit in our region and improve the quality of life for all residents in our beloved Bay Area.”
A resolution proposed in the Oakland City Council Rules Committee on Jan. 30 asks state agencies to make improvements that would allow more efficient bus access to the Bay Bridge.
The Berkeley City Council also sent a letter on Jan. 28 to Caltrans expressing their support for a dedicated bus lane on the Bay Bridge. The letter called upon Caltrans to implement the infrastructure needed to make buses “the more efficient and reliable option.”
Ridership on AC Transit’s Transbay routes increased 25% from 2013-2018, according to AC Transit’s 2018 annual report. The press release also cited data from the Metropolitical Transportation Commission, which found that traffic over the bridge and the approaches to the bridge are the two most congested corridors in the region.
“Improving public transit access is a win-win situation for our commuters and the environment,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín in the press release. “I am pleased to be part of a growing coalition that is advocating for infrastructure that reflects the growing demand for green transportation.”
BART’s Transbay Tube has also been facing increasing congestion issues.
Jim Allison, manager of Media Relations at BART, said that the rail system is “pretty much maxed out in terms of how many people we can carry.” BART is in the process of modernizing its control systems to enable the number of trains that can traverse the Bay Area.
Allison added that the BART Board of Directors has passed a resolution in support of creating a bus-only lane on the Bay Bridge.
“The Bay Bridge serves a critical function in uniting our region,” said Berkeley City Councilmember Rigel Robinson and the primary author of the Berkeley City Council letter in the press release. “We need to do everything we can to make sure that it is serving commuters, the climate, and the public.”