BART To Hear Resolutions Supporting Bay Bridge Bus-Only Lane

January 19, 2020 10:00 am · 23 comments

Resolutions supporting a bus-only lane on the Bay Bridge will be considered by two Bay Area transit agencies next week.

East Bay bus carrier AC Transit will hear its resolution when it meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday in the district’s second floor board room at 1600 Franklin St. in Oakland.

A similar resolution by Bay Area Rapid Transit Director Rebecca Saltzman will be heard when the BART board meets at 9 a.m. Thursday in its board room at 2640 Webster St. in Oakland.

“I’ve been working on this for years with AC Transit, and we’ve never been able to get traction,” Saltzman tweeted on Friday. “Caltrans has opposed and MTC hasn’t prioritized this. It’s super exciting to see so much support for this now! It feels like this is the time to make a bus-only lane happen!”

A staff report on the resolution by AC Transit board Vice President Elsa Ortiz concludes that “A bus-only lane on the Bay Bridge could greatly increase the reliability of AC Transit transbay service. It will allow more frequent, reliable and faster service, contributing substantially to the quality of transbay service.”

The idea has been floated repeatedly since AC Transit was formed 60 years ago, but “Concern about the effect of bus-only lanes on auto traffic have made it impossible to go forward to date,” according to the staff report.

The report notes that the political climate around such an idea has recently created “a new wave of support” for a bus-only lane on bridge as motor traffic congestion increases and agencies such as BART operate over capacity.

The staff report credits Assemblyman Rob Bonta for resurrecting the idea after it was recently proposed by one of his constituents.

Elected officials supporting the lane include Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, the Berkeley City Council, Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, Emeryville council members Ally Medina and John Bauters, East Bay Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks, and State Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco.

The resolution to be considered by the BART board notes that “the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) consistently ranks the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (Bay Bridge) corridor as the most congested corridor in the region.”

It states that congestion is projected to worsen during peak conditions “even with all planned improvements in the corridor,” reaching 152 percent of capacity by 2040.

Peak BART transbay service is already at approximately 110 percent of capacity, according to the resolution, and “capacity improvements for riders will not be realized until at least 2027.”

The AC Transit staff report cautions that “in the absence of a design for the lane, its effects cannot be completely projected and, therefore, staff cannot identify any disadvantages at this time.”

Grumpy January 19, 2020 at 10:14 AM

Because the bridge needs fewer commuter lanes

Kirkwood January 19, 2020 at 11:25 AM

I don’t see a practical way of increasing the number of people that can cross the bridge at a given time. Buses returning with the counter commute would be empty, and commuters would need a place to park.

Doh January 19, 2020 at 11:34 AM

Because traffic isn’t backed up enough?
It could work if everybody worked in the financial district but they don’t.
Once again the politicians over estimate the usefullness and capability of the mas transit system of SF.

Joe January 19, 2020 at 1:31 PM

Bus only lane…. that is a really stupid idea.
Let’s take one of the already too few lanes and render it empty.

Here’s a better idea. Enforce the laws you already have!
Get the cheaters out of the carpool lanes.

Here’s a better idea. Make public transport (BART in particular) affordable.
I have to own and insure a car anyway, so let’s look at fuel…..
$4 to drive….. $13 on BART…. and I get to “sit down” in my car, my car is clean, my car is QUIET.

BARTs mission statement
More money for deminishing and noisy service.


Mika January 20, 2020 at 8:53 AM

Joe, you forgot bridge toll. Add another $5

Silva January 20, 2020 at 9:32 AM

I’m not disagreeing, but it looks like parking cost in SF is missing from the equation.

Dawg January 19, 2020 at 1:44 PM

I can remember a time when the lower deck was for buses, big rigs, and the Key System. That’s when the upper and lower decks had two way traffic and the toll was a quarter each way. It ended in the early 60’s.

Kirkwood January 20, 2020 at 8:47 AM

Me too!

Simple math January 19, 2020 at 2:18 PM

“AC Transit staff report cautions that, ‘in the absence of a design for the lane, its effects cannot be completely projected and, therefore, staff cannot identify any disadvantages at this time.'”

It’s a 5 lane bridge. Closing off one lane to private and commercial vehicles means around a 20% increase in congestion for the remaining 4 lanes.

Rush hour would be a delightful experience.

chuckie the troll January 20, 2020 at 10:00 AM

The ‘logic’ of AC Transit staff… we don’t have enough information to identify disadvantages… and therefore the project should proceed… makes as much sense as anything coming out of Sacramento today. The AC Transit headquarters must be a logic-free zone!

WC Resident January 20, 2020 at 11:07 AM

The impact will be worse than 20% increase because I’d imagine there will be a barrier between the bus-only lane and the remaining traffic lanes. People are not comfortable driving immediately adjacent to a wall or barrier and will either slow down or move over.

Mass transit and even HOV transit has always fought an uphill battle as it’s based on groups of people wanting to get from point A to B at the same time and that none of them need to carry a significant amount of personal belongings or tools.

Shared use vehicles are also messy as we like to leave things in our personal vehicles to be used if needed. For example, I have an umbrella, sunscreen for the front windshield, and extra tote bags in the back of the car. The tote bags are used regularly when shopping but remain in the car for other errands. Most people leave driving sunglasses and charger cables for their phones/devices in their car. If you have children then there’s likely half a cubic yard of stuff that would have to be toted while also trying to keep an eye on one or more children.

chuckie the troll January 19, 2020 at 3:06 PM

So glad I don’t have to commute into the city! This hair-brained idea (no offence to rabbits) will back traffic up all the way to Sacramento and Stockton! This lunacy (no offence to the moon) is coming from the same Left-Field nuts who claim that eliminating lanes for autos in order to add bike lanes will improve commute times.

This is what you get under single-party rule by the far-Left!

Anonymous January 19, 2020 at 3:10 PM

We recall Director Saltzman supporting the Black Lives Matter people when they took it upon themselves to tie up BART. Putting that aside Saltzman and the usual crew of villains need to stay in their ( left) lane. The Bay Bridge traffic situation has very little to do with BART.

This may be one of the goofiest ideas to come out of BART.

Bob January 19, 2020 at 4:27 PM

It’s a contra-flow lane in the counter commute direction, folks. The initial idea is that the bus-only lane would only be in effect on the lower deck of the bay bridge in the morning commute. That means SF-bound buses would have one reverse direction lane via the lower deck (a counter commute right now). There’s no change to lanes on either deck in the evening commute. The upper deck would see no change.

tashaj January 20, 2020 at 9:29 AM

Doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. The gridlock isn’t so much on the bridge itself, as on the approaches, both westbound and eastbound. And reengineering the approaches to put in bus-only counter-flow lanes would probably cost almost as much as building another bridge or the second Transbay BART Tube.

Snickerdad January 19, 2020 at 7:40 PM

This would be great, less lanes on the BB
This is just another way for the environmentalist
to get you out of your car….NOT

Ricardoh January 19, 2020 at 8:50 PM

How about they run more Bart Trains. They could double them safely.

mev January 19, 2020 at 11:48 PM

bart can’t keep itself dependable and in good operation now. how will it manage more trains? it is really bad and has been taken over by psychos, many from Concord.

No Excuses January 19, 2020 at 8:56 PM

How hard would it be to just RE-DO the Bus Only plan that worked fine for many years … 50 years ago. Worked then,

mev January 19, 2020 at 11:44 PM

i am for that. the bart experience is beyond undependable and just nasty. bart has no one capable of running bart. let’s go back to the bus system of 50 years ago that worked. I would feel a whole lot safer not having to ride bart anywhere ever again.

walter January 19, 2020 at 9:33 PM

Better idea- ban all diamond carpool and bus-only lanes in the bay area. Less full capacity lanes= more traffic jams, so none of these help, they actually hurt traffic flow

Gittyup January 19, 2020 at 10:00 PM

The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (SB1) provides for repair of roads, highways and bridges throughout the State of California. Some of the work has been completed as shown on this website and some projects are quite ambitious. What is Contra Costa getting out of it? If I read the information correctly, Contra Costs is getting some minor road repair and 58 new busses. In other words, the roads will remain a mess while the bus transport will improve. So this proposal to devote a lane on the bridge to bus traffic is a step in moving commuters out of their cars and into transport by bus, instead. That appears to be the plan.

Newellian January 20, 2020 at 3:10 PM

I swear, these people have to FAIL an intelligence test to get on these boards….

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