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It’s Time for a Bus Lane on the Bay Bridge

During peak morning commuting hours, more than 40,000 people travel across the Bay to San Francisco each hour, with 75% of these commuters using public transit including BART, AC Transit, or a ferry. However, even with existing planned investments to improve transit service, we are not prepared to meet the rapidly increasing demand.

While there are many long term investments we can and should make to further improve service (such as a second Transbay Tube), there is at least one major infrastructure change we can make now at a relatively small expense: adding bus only lanes on the Bay Bridge.

A potential implementation of bus lanes on the Bay Bridge

A potential implementation of bus lanes on the Bay Bridge

By adding bus only lanes on the Bay Bridge, we can:

  • improve reliability and increase capacity of transbay bus service. Providing a dedicated right of way for buses on the Bay Bridge and on approaches would help improve on-time reliability of transbay buses. Speeding up buses along the bridge would also help increase capacity with the same number of buses and better take advantage of the new Salesforce Transit Center’s ability to handle 300 buses each hour.

  • combat climate change and improve air quality. According to the California Air Resources Board, private vehicles account for 28% of California’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions—the state’s single largest source of GHGs. Furthermore, cars contribute to air pollution which causes health issues such as asthma and disproportionately affects communities of color. In order to effectively combat climate change and improve air quality, we must make a shift toward a more sustainable transportation system. 

  • proactively prepare for the influx of residents on Treasure Island. The population of Treasure Island is projected to grow by 24,000 by 2035. In addition to existing plans to add new ferry service, prioritizing buses including SF Muni’s 25-Treasure Island with dedicated lanes will incentivize current and future residents to use public transit to get to and from the island.

  • restore transit priority on the Bay Bridge. In 1941, the Key System operated 6 streetcars that traveled from the East Bay to San Francisco on the lower deck of the Bay Bridge. These routes were later converted to buses and lost the dedicated right of way to make room for cars. We used to prioritize transit on the Bay Bridge and we can do it again.

  • advance and incentivize equitable and sustainable transportation. For Bay Area residents that don’t own a car and especially for those that can’t afford one, we must create viable alternatives for getting around the region. We can do that by prioritizing buses on the Bay Bridge and adding a bike lane on the western span of the bridge.

There’s so much at stake and we must act decisively to address all of these challenges. The proposal to add bus only lanes on the Bay Bridge has been studied and recommended numerous times. It’s time to make it happen.

One Comment

  1. Rick Nahass
    Rick Nahass April 5, 2021

    Would be great if you also advocate for a bus lane on CA1 from Mill Valley across the Golden Gate Bridge, BRT through the Presidio, 19th Avenue (CA1), down through Pacifica and Half Moon Bay (CA1) – This ‘forgotten’ CA1 corridor is only 37 miles long and houses 400K people within 2 miles east and west of CA1 along its length. It shouldn’t take 4 hours to commute 37 miles on public transit.

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