Skip to content

Oakland seeks feedback on Bus Rapid Transit line

on January 27, 2010

This week, the City of Oakland started a series of public meetings on a proposed Bus Rapid Transit line that would run through Berkeley, San Leandro and Oakland. Tuesday’s meeting in the Temescal underscored the difficulties of making a 17-mile transit system that can strike a balance among the needs of transit users, bicyclers and drivers.

This week’s meetings are designed to ask for public comments to identify what effects the transit system might have on local neighborhoods, especially those effects that are not addressed in the Draft Environmental Impact Report submitted by the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District in 2007.

According to the proposal, transit users will benefit from faster and more reliable bus services with its dedicated lines. For example, the BRT would run every five minutes; currently the 1R line runs every 12 minutes. The proposed project intends to reduce the waiting time at bus stations with its wheel chair-friendly design and pre-payment ticket machines. It would also add bike lanes.

But as Robert Rees, a principal at Fehr & Peers, a transportation consulting company for the BRT project, reminded the crowd, “The BRT is not a done deal. The final decision whether or not to build BRT will not be made for another two years.”

The biggest concern voiced by Temescal neighbors at Tuesday’s meeting was the possible negative impact on parking spaces. More than 370 parking spaces will be lost to build bike lanes. “It would destroy my business,” said Randy Reed, the owner of the Reed Brothers Security at 4432 Telegraph Ave. Reed says he would lose all nine of his parking spaces to bike lanes. “My business went down by 90 percent when they repaved Telegraph Avenue because my customer couldn’t park their cars,” he said.

The project has been touted as a way to reduce travel time within Oakland by 29 percent for riders who use its dedicated lanes, but some say this projection ignores the reality of busy Telegraph Avenue. According to the City of Oakland, approximately 30,000 cars use Telegraph Avenue daily, while there are about 23,000 transit users and 1,900 bicyclers. If current two car lanes were to be reduced to only one, there could be significant traffic congestion. “This proposal hurts the vibrant nature of the Temescal,” said 81-year-old property owner Carl Martin to audience applause.

Another concern for the community is elimination of local lines. BRT will replace all of the local and rapid services on Telegraph and International Boulevard, removing 25 bus stops. According to the city, this would increase distances between bus stops by approximately 600 to 800 feet. “Mobility issues for disabled people should definitely be addressed in further study,” said Wladimir Wlassowsky, manager of the Transportation Services Division at the City of Oakland.

City officials encouraged the participants to submit comments for the projects so that council members can review them and approve further issues to study. However, no council members were present to hear the comments at the meeting.

Other meetings will be held on Thursday at the Oakland City Hall and at St. Louse Bertrand Church on Friday.


  1. Bruce Williams on January 28, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Great article, but I’d like to clarify one statement. The impact of parking on Telegraph is very significant, but it is due to both BRT AND bike lanes. There are currently 711 parking spaces along Telegraph. With BRT only the number would decline to 457. With BRT and full bike lanes, the number would decline to 324. AC Transit must mitigate this loss if the project goes forward, and the City of Oakland is particularly interested in hearing about what kind of mitigations would be acceptable to area merchants and residents.

    Thanks for reporting. Full info on this proposal can be found at Any comments, particularly about specific aspects of the plan, should be directed to


    Bruce Williams
    Transportation Services Division
    City of Oakland

  2. len raphael on January 30, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Would hope that city staff has come up with ways to reduce the effect of lost parking for the telegraph merchants who don’t have off street lots.

    i spoke to a few young temescal merchants the other day, and was surprised to find absolute agreement among them that their businesses would not survive the loss of most of the nearby parking spots.

    when i pointed out them how it would eventually make Telegraph much more attractive to pedistrians, cyclists, and eventually higher density residences, their reaction was “that’s great, but I’ll go broke before all that happens”

    -len raphael
    desmond st

Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
Oakland North

Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to:

Latest Posts

Scroll To Top