Oakland and the East Bay in general are getting serious about making biking, walking, and transit riding much better ways to get around. This recent article
on Oakland Insider highlights the big plans coming down the pipe. Here at PCL, we're in probably the most central spot in the East Bay in terms of ability to jump on the freeway and get anywhere. As Jerry Brown put it, we're closer to San Francisco than a lot of San Francisco. But one of the best things about PCL is the great options we have. The AC Transit 26 bus goes by about every 10 minutes during commute hours, so when its raining I can hop on and its a few short minutes to West Oakland BART. When its nice out, the bike ride is easy in any direction, so I can shoot up to Berkeley or North Oakland in about 20 minutes, east to Downtown in about 10, or down to BART in a matter of a few minutes. With these improvements, this all looks to get better. Improvements around BART stations, more money for AC Transit, better bike and pedestrian access on bridges, more bike lanes, and a lot of focus on bike and pedestrian safety are all benefits that will make those alternatives to the car even better.
Oakland approves $7.7 billion transportation plan
Oakland Local edi... Thu, 15 Mar at 12:48am
Oakland morning, by Thomas Hawk, http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/42973035/in/photostream/
From City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan's office:
The Oakland City Council joined several other East Bay cities and the Alameda County Transportation Commission this week in moving forward a $7.7 billion transportation investment plan that could create unprecedented enhancements to area infrastructure, public transit and road quality.
The ATC finalized the plan in late January, which outlines how Measure B funding will be spent if re-authorized in November. Since the commission’s passage, cities including Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro – and now Oakland – also have signed on.
“This plan represents a generation’s worth of job creation, major improvements to the way we get around and a profound improvement to both our infrastructure and our environment,” Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who represents Oakland on the county transportation commission, said. “Thanks to hard work from many leaders and organizations in our community, we’ll be able to fix potholes, support BART and AC Transit, significantly improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and create transit-oriented development projects of the future.”
Kaplan said she thanks the many community members, organizations and other officials across the county for a major victory of collaboration between community advocacy groups and elected officials. She noted that the plan’s development, improvement and passage at the commission was the result of more than 40 meetings with community members and organizations who helped craft and improve the plan to ensure response to community needs, fiscal responsibility and improvement to quality of life and mobility in our communities – including environmental, labor, business, neighborhood organizations, advocates for seniors, youth, bicyclists, pedestrians and more.
The plan includes funding for:
- Public Transit - $3.7 billion / 48 percent (BART, AC Transit, regional rail, etc.)
- Local Road Repair - $2.3 billion / 30 percent (Paving, Pothole Repair, Seismic Retrofits)
- Freeway Repair and Enhancements - $677 million / 9 percent
- Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Improvements - $651 million / 8 percent
- Transit-Oriented Development Projects - $300 million / 4 percent
- Technology and Innovation - $77 million / 1 percent
Funding for AC Transit, for example, would increase from $18.6 million per year to $40 million initially and again to $63 million by 2023. Enhancements to rail would receive $355 million. Key bridges and roads in need of repair and maintenance also will receive vital support.
The plan includes funding for innovative programs like the Broadway “Streetcar” project, a program to fund free youth bus passes, and a significant increase in support for transit-oriented development – funding that Kaplan noted could significantly mitigate the loss of city redevelopment funding by supporting key projects at the Coliseum BART station, the area surrounding the Lake Merritt BART station and more.
Oakland City Council President Larry Reid, who represents Dist. 7 and serves as Oakland’s other voting representative, also hailed the plan.
“This will create a profound investment to public infrastructure that will create jobs and keep people moving,” Reid said. “Building a coalition to approve this much-needed funding was a dynamic process – and I’m really appreciative of being able to work with Councilmember Kaplan in negotiating on Oakland’s behalf.”
Measure B, first passed in 1986, created a half-cent sales tax to fund transportation and was re-authorized in 2000 with more than 81 percent of the vote. If passed by a two-thirds vote in November, it would re-authorize the tax and extend it to one cent to provide full funding for the plan.
The plan includes comprehensive accountability measures, including the creation of an independent watchdog and requires the commission to regularly review expenditures.