(The Bus Rapid Transit project has been on the drawing boards for more than a decade. Think of it as a blend of trolley and bus. Project sponsor AC Transit calls it a . They've and made many changes over the years. But City Councilwoman Pauline Cutter recently called for more tweaks to in San Leandro. The Broadmoor Neighborhood Association (BNA) has also made its own objections known. But does the rest of San Leandro care? Here is the BNA's letter.)
Dear Mayor and City Council Members:
Even though AC Transit is now moving ahead with its approved plan for implementing the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project through Oakland and into San Leandro, The BNA wants to officially submit comments about our concerns with the current proposal.
We as a Board and as individuals have spent a great deal of time in the last three months learning about project specifics and listening to many different voices in The BNA on the subject of the alternative plan for BRT in San Leandro. While most people want to support a BRT concept, many of us are concerned that the potential benefits of such a short strip of BRT (4 blocks) in San Leandro don’t outweigh the many negative impacts that have been identified for this project.
Most people feel that if the BRT line were being implemented the full length of E. 14th Street in San Leandro, they would support it – because the benefits would be more likely to outweigh the impacts. However, the current plan not only brings negative impacts to the neighborhoods at the north end, it also brings huge reductions in service for ALL current bus riders – those who should be of the most concern to transit proponents are getting the least attention in this debate.
Here is a list of our major concerns:
- Bus stops will be placed much further apart, limiting access for current riders, especially seniors who live on or in proximity to E. 14th Street.
- The bus line that currently goes north and south past Davis Street will no longer exist; current riders who use the bus line to go from the north end to the San Leandro Hospital, their doctors and the new Senior Community Center, will have to disembark and transfer to another bus line just to make a trip that currently only takes one bus.
- Parking and traffic studies of the north end fail to capture the essential need for all the existing parking and they fail to recognize the many critical uses of the current center lane; eliminating the center lane in favor of the double center dedicated lane will have significant impacts on traffic and parking on E. 14th Street as well as on the residential side streets.
- The current plan does nothing to reduce traffic, get people out of their cars, or speed up rides on the BRT line versus the current buses.
- San Leandro’s portion of the BRT project includes none of the street or landscaping improvements that Oakland will reap, much less jobs or other economic gains, so there are no benefits to San Leandro or to its residents.
- The existing bus lines on E. 14th Street are not being used up to even 50% capacity, raising questions about why the AC Transit district isn’t focusing on finding ways to build current ridership through improved/increased cross town buses in San Leandro before spending millions on a short stretch of BRT that will probably reduce ridership in San Leandro given the problems stated above about forcing riders to transfer when they were able to have a direct, non-transfer ride on the current bus lines.
- Seniors who live in housing at Broadmoor and E. 14th Street are very concerned about losing the bus stops right in front of their building and across the street. Instead, because BRT stops only occur every 1/3 mile, they will have to walk blocks to get on or off a bus, creating mobility, access and safety issues.
- Businesses on E. 14th Street will lose customer street parking and their customers will no longer be able to turn into off street parking at businesses that have parking lots (like Los Pericos).
- Residents on side streets will experience significantly increased traffic because of constricted turns from E. 14th, and they will experience increased demand from customers and employees for limited residential parking; we’re told that AC Transit is now thinking about putting in metered parking on residential streets, which will push customer and employee parking even further up the side streets, negatively impacting residents.
- Under the current plan to locate the last center station just north of The Broadmoor Statue (rather than in front of Durant Square which has the highest usage), Farrelly Pond residents will be unable to use the current median cutout to get onto their street; they will be forced onto neighboring streets, thereby increasing traffic for all residents in the neighborhood.
Please accept these very real concerns about the implications of the current plan on north end residents and businesses. We hope the City Council will re-think its support of the proposed “alternative plan” for San Leandro’s part of the BRT and re-focus the AC Transit resources on building ridership and increasing access spokes of public transit to bring more people to the current bus lines.
We hope the City Council will act to protect the needs of residents, businesses and current bus line riders, either by endorsing the original plan for all of E. 14th Street, or by insisting that AC Transit end its dedicated lane before the Broadmoor intersection.
Board of Directors
The Broadmoor Neighborhood Association
The BNA Board Members: Melinda Rieboldt, Carol Kennedy, Michelle Blumstein, Mia Ousley, Gayle Hudson, Mike Brandt, Peggy Combs, Tim Holmes, Mitch Huitema, Shelley Martin, and Claudia McHenry.