My vision for Grand Avenue
From bike and coffee shops to social media, lately, there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the future roadway changes to Oakland's renowned Grand Avenue.
The crucial information to note is that the City of Oakland is planning significant road enhancements on Grand, set to commence in 2025-26.
Importantly, I am in full support of both transit-only lanes and protected bike lanes.
Bus lanes deliver greater benefits for people who ride the bus and allow AC Transit to deliver transit service you can rely on. A recent analysis showed that Bay Area residents can reach nine times as many jobs within 45 minutes using a car compared to transit in the Bay Area. A network of bus lanes with frequent, reliable transit service is the best way to address the disparities that bus riders experience. We are already witnessing the positive impact of bus-only lanes aboard Tempo-BRT for people who ride transit, as it offers improved access to employment opportunities and a reduction in social and income disparities.
A two-way cycle track has greater benefits for people who bicycle. It also requires less right-of-way than other options. AC Transit supports the two-way cycle track and has shared our preference with the City of Oakland that the cycle track be included in the design.
Thankfully, we don’t have to choose between bus and bike ways on Grand Avenue. The City’s Grand Avenue Mobility Plan recommends both dedicated bus and bicycle ways be included on Grand Avenue.
Regrettably, the City of Oakland made the unilateral decision to remove the two-way cycle track and exclude bus lanes from the Grand Avenue design. The most recent 35% design could have accommodated the two-way cycle track by not proposing parking on the south-side between Bellevue and El Embarcadero. AC Transit believes that reducing the number of vehicular lanes without adding transit lanes is not a good condition. I support Oakland updating the current design to include separated transit lanes and the two-way cycle track to deliver a safer, more livable Grand Avenue with more reliable transit service.
Those who argue that there is not enough time to implement bus lanes now and that only new bicycle lanes deserve priority are mistaken. With a quick build approach, San Francisco installed 13 miles of transit lanes in 18 months. San Francisco’s quick build program has shown great results and several corridors were made permanent in 2021. There is still time for the City of Oakland to update the Grand Avenue design to include both bus lanes and protected bicycle ways. Oakland could help speed the construction of the transit elements by moving the project through its own city approval process.
Most people who ride the bus lack the privilege to fight for better bus service and safer streets. By designing streets, sidewalks, and transit services that prioritize the needs of those who require them the most, our government can effectively reduce disparities experienced by racialized people and those with low incomes. This approach enhances health outcomes and improves access for the East Bay's marginalized communities.
AC Transit continues its 60-year commitment to work with our communities, whether you walk, cycle, or ride transit. As a Board Director, I also encourage other concerned and impacted stakeholders to actively advocate for the transformation of Grand Avenue into a corridor that fosters reliable transit service, reduces stressful experiences, and creates a more livable neighborhood for pedestrians, cyclists, and bus riders. Let’s get to work!
Endorsed by the East Bay Times
Proud to have received the endorsement for AC Transit Ward 3 from the East Bay Times.