AC Transit Proposes Changes to 51 Line; Kills 21 Parking Spaces

Friday, November 8, 2013

AC Transit received a $10 million grant to design and implement infrastructure modifications along the entire Line 51 route to increase reliability and on-time bus performance, and improve safety for pedestrians and AC Transit riders.

According to plans presented at two recent public meetings, the modifications could delete up to 21 College Avenue parking spaces between Chabot Road and Broadway, and add additional northbound turning lanes, relocated bus stops, a right-hand dedicated bus lane between the Clifton and Broadway intersections, and substantial transit-friendly infrastructure upgrades such as transit-controlled signal lights. Detailed plans may be viewed at: http://bit.ly/line-51.

Relocating existing bus stops across the intersection - the "far side" location - generally serves to enhance pedestrian safety, reduce congestion, and correct sub-standard bus stall lengths along College Avenue, transit planners said.

While in some cases, the net parking space count is reduced by one space, in other places substantially more parking spaces will be lost.

For example, the proposal to relocate the northbound Rockridge Library bus stop to just north of Manila, and to remove the parking spaces in front of the Rockridge Branch Library in favor of a left turn lane, with a net loss of six parking spaces, is unacceptable to RCPC. We believe retaining the existing Library bus stop location and not adding the turn lane better serves the community's needs without sacrificing bus travel time. Similarly, we are not in favor of the proposed left turn lane at Lawton with the accompanying loss of seven parking spaces. RCPC believes the city agrees with the organization's position about the undesirability of these changes.

A proposed bus-only curbside lane between Clifton and Broadway removes three to five parking spots, with the current light replaced by a transit-prioritized signal.

The Broadway/College intersection is scheduled for substantial reconfiguration in 2014 as an element of the Rockridge Safeway Shopping Center project. A left turn from southbound College Avenue to northbound Broadway will be added. The reconfigured Broadway/College intersection is one element identified in the 1993 Rockridge Area Plan to reduce cut-through traffic in neighborhoods by completing roadway connections.

RCPC believes maintaining parking is critical to support College Avenue businesses, and that parking must be balanced with enhancing pedestrian safety and transit speed and reliability. RCPC wants College Avenue and the Rockridge neighborhood to be places people can come to on foot, by bike, by bus or BART and by car.

We will continue to watch this intersection, and the other proposed changes, to ensure changes occur with maximum benefit and minimal impact.

Contact the RCPC Transportation Committee with your questions and comments by e-mail: transportation@rockridge.org