The East Bay Bus Rapid Transit Line Breaks Ground
On Friday, August 26th, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, joined leaders of the Metropolitan Transportation, Caltrans, and AC Transit to break ground on the $108 million East Bay Bus Rapid Transit line. The BRT line will stretch 9.5 miles from downtown Oakland to the San Leandro BART station, travelling along International Blvd, East 14th St, and Davis St. Buses will travel in a bus-only lane and have green light priority, providing service every seven minutes during peak hours.
Mile for mile, BRT systems cost only a fraction of their rail counterparts, and with their frequent service, they hope to lure commuters out of their cars and into zero-emission buses, significantly contributing to reducing the carbon footprint of every day commuting. BRT stations will be artistically enhanced, well-lit for safety, sheltered for weather, and ADA compliant. The project will also bring infrastructure improvements, including fiber optic cables, and landscape updates to the area.
The project is also expected to bring economic benefits along the route in San Leandro and Oakland. AC Transit estimates the project will create 150-200 construction jobs and has implemented a targeted hiring strategy for the project, calling for 50% of the work to be done by Oakland and San Leandro residents, 20% to be done by apprentices learning a trade, and 25% of apprentice hours to be committed to disadvantaged workers. Other cities where BRT projects have been implemented also have seen a boost in large private investments in residential and commercial development projects along the route.
Construction on the project has begun and will continue throughout 2016 and 2017. AC Transit hopes to run the first buses in the spring of 2018. To learn more about the project, visit the AC Transit Bus Rapid Transit website, visit their information center at 3322A International Blvd. in Oakland, or visit the Engineering & Transportation Department’s non-City projects page to see how the project will look in San Leandro. You can also read Chris Rauber’s article on the project in the San Francisco Business Times, or KQED’s news report HERE.