Berkeley Rapid Transit Dreams Fizzle

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Salim Virji
    An AC Transit bus was the stage for what has become a piece of modern epic poem spoken in the age of the Internet -- Photoshop, YouTube, Facebook and now a promotional hip-hop single.

    Towns of the East Bay had high hopes for Bus Rapid Transit, but as time goes by, it looks like the "Rapid" portion is getting weaker and weaker.

    Initially, the plan was for AC Transit to get dedicated lanes for rapid connections throughout several towns. From North to South, the participating towns of the East Bay were to be Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro.

    But now Berkeley's been cut completely out of the plan by its own City Council. Last year, the Council balked at the plan, which would reduce the amount of lanes available for cars.

    The plan is still going forward in Oakland and San Leandro, but it's expected to meet with extensive fiscal challenges, according to the EBX. The upgrades won't be cheap, as they include new shelters, paving, and bike lanes.

    And San Leandro is expected to partially-sabotage its transit as well, slowing the buses as they approach downtown. At this rate, it's unclear when the project will be finished, or even what "finished" means with such half-hearted improvements.

    Meanwhile, San Francisco's Bus Rapid Transit projects are on track on Geary and Van Ness. Still just in the preliminary phases, the lanes are expected to be completed around the middle of the decade.