Several proposed bus improvements could come to Durant Avenue bus stops in the future, funded through the recently approved fiscal year 2023 Berkeley City Council budget.
Some of the proposed improvements include bus canopies and bulb-outs on Durant Avenue between Ellsworth Street and College Avenue, according to a press release from Councilmember Rigel Robinson. The more than $330,000 in funding comes from Measure GG, which taxes companies like Uber and Lyft, the press release added.
“These bus improvements we are funding for Durant Ave are a huge opportunity to keep the 51B on schedule, make public transit more reliable, improve the pedestrian experience, and address the double-parking chaos between Telegraph and Bowditch,” Robinson said in an email.
According to Telegraph for People President Sam Greenberg, bus bulb-outs improve bus speeds by removing the need for buses to merge back into traffic. He added that bus canopies “massively improve” the experience of riders, especially those waiting for buses with low frequencies.
Greenberg also said Telegraph for People is excited about the proposed improvements.
“Improving facilities for transit riders is an important step towards making Durant a better street,” Greenberg said in an email. “This is the kind of infrastructure that makes bus service dignified and reliable, which is what makes people choose to ride transit.”
The bus improvements also supplement existing AC Transit plans for a quick-build bus-only lane on Durant Avenue, according to the press release. The press release added that the stakeholder outreach and community engagement process for the project is expected to begin in late 2022.
AC Transit did not respond as of press time.
Greenberg recounted experiences of buses “packed” with riders on Durant Avenue that were delayed by drivers, adding that a bus-only lane would solve these issues.
“Improved bus stops and a continuous bus lane are a crucial part of making Durant a people-centered street, as some of AC Transit’s busiest lines travel up Durant,” Greenberg said in the email. “We need to recognize that much of Berkeley—including the core of Southside—were built before the car. So when we say that we need to give street space ‘back to people,’ we really mean ‘back.’”