Transit Plan on the Table

Transit Plan on the Table


Members of the Planning Board are scheduled to discuss the city’s Transit and Transportation Demand Management Plan at their next meeting.  

If approved the plan would focus on implementing four strategies. The first two would address improving travel to and from Oakland and San Francisco, including the commute by BART and ferry. The third strategy would affect getting around Alameda, while the fourth would focus on properly managing and monitoring these collective efforts. 

The Oakland and San Francisco strategies include grappling with commutes to BART and with “drive-alones,” people who choose to commute to Oakland, San Francisco and BART with no passengers. “More than 3,000 Alamedans travel to downtown Oakland for work, of which approximately 70 percent (2,100) drive alone,” the plan points out. 

In addition BART commuters who choose to arrive at BART after 7:30 a.m. face the dilemma of finding little to no parking in the BART parking lots.  Shifting from driving alone to carpooling could greatly reduce trips that impact the tubes and bridges that affect the Oakland-BART commute.

Many commuters drive alone, carpool and ride BART to San Francisco. The plan to improve the commute across the bay points to the increased ridership on AC Transit’s Transbay buses and San Francisco Bay ferries. However, like the overcrowded BART parking lots, ferry parking facilities are also at capacity. The plan looks forward to the ferry terminal at Seaplane Lagoon planned opening in 2020. Transit experts point out that carpooling, transit, bicycle and pedestrian access to the ferry terminals need improvement. 

The plan hopes to encourage people to travel around Alameda and Bay Farm Island by bus, bicycle or on foot. “This can be an effective strategy given Alameda’s flat topography and temperate climate,” experts point out. Taking the bus, riding a bicycle or even walking “improves mobility for those who do not have a car or who may not have the ability to drive such as youth and seniors.” These strategies can encourage trips to business districts, which can be congested or have limited available parking. 

The plan suggests implementing a cross-town express bus service between the Main Street Ferry Terminal and the Fruitvale BART station. The service would offer limited stops to local destinations along Webster and Park streets. However, the experts do not mention adding a shuttle bus service to serve the small shopping districts that grew up at the long-defunct railroad stations along Lincoln and Encinal avenues. 

The plan points to the significance of effectively managing the city’s transportation projects. The experts realize the importance of continuously seeking funding and of implementing the various stages of projects:  from plans and concepts to design, construction and monitoring progress.  

One of the plans most ambitious projects involves the creation of a West End estuary crossing with a bicycle and pedestrian bridge that would connect Alameda with Jack London Square. This plan, however, faces significant Coast Guard constraints and restrictions. 

The Planning Board meets at 7 p.m., Monday, Dec. 12, in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.