Planning, Transportation Panels To Consider BRT Alternatives

By Richard Brenneman
Monday June 09, 2008 - 04:35:00 PM

Berkeley's planning and transportation commissioners will meet jointly Wednesday night for the first of two sessions devoted to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). 

Their goal is to give the City Council some alternatives to the Telegraph Avenue-constricting AC Transit proposal to be considered in the project's environmental review. 

The regional bus agency wants to develop a program that would speed bus traffic along an urban street corridor stretching from the downtown Berkeley BART station to the San Leandro BART station. 

The plan calls for cutting Telegraph Avenue down from two lanes to one in each direction and eliminating street parking to make way for a bus-only lane running down the center of the roadway. 

The San Leandro City Council has opted out of the bus lane, and Berkeley foes of the concept—who say it would cut business for Telegraph Avenue and flood parallel neighborhood streets with traffic—are floating an opposition ballot initiative for the November general election. 

According to the agenda for the 7 p.m. session, no action is to be taken. The document notes that city staff received 443 identical postcards in support of the AC Transit proposal, as well as one letter from BRT critic Gale Garcia. 

The session begins at 7 p.m. in the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. 

Once the joint session is over and the transportation commissioners have departed, Planning Commission Chair James Samuels will gavel his own panel to order for the first of their two regular monthly meetings. 

The session will feature an update on staff action on the City Council-mandated project to ease development restrictions in West Berkeley.