The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, or AC Transit, held a virtual conference Thursday to discuss the Dana Complete Street Pilot Project, which would increase accessibility and safety along the street.
The proposed project will establish a two-way protected bike lane, traffic signal improvements and a bus boarding island on Dana Street between Bancroft and Dwight ways. To allow for emergency vehicle access and the construction of the bus boarding island and protected bikeway, on-street parking and commercial and passenger loading zones will be moved from the west to the east side of the street.
“The Dana Street project advances the city of Berkeley’s ‘Transit-First’ policy by giving priority to alternative transportation and transit over single-occupancy vehicles on transit routes,” said Mika Miyasato, a senior transportation planner at AC Transit, at the event.
To begin, the project must receive Berkeley City Council approval in July, and it is open to public input through June 7. Construction on the Dana Street project is expected to begin in the spring of 2022 and finish by the fall when the project will be evaluated, according to AC Transit traffic engineer Wil Buller.
Miyasato added that the project will create a two-way bikeway for cyclists between the UC Berkeley campus and Dana Street, which can prevent injuries and create a “low-stress bicycling environment,” potentially attracting new riders.
The project will also construct a protected corner, a safety treatment at intersections that can help reduce collisions between pedestrians and right-turning vehicles, on the northeast corner of the Haste and Dana streets intersection. Cyclists will also benefit from improved visibility, Miyasato said.
“The pilot project will improve access to and from the bus stop on Dana Street, and it will increase the comfort of people riding bicycles and walking along Dana Street,” Miyasato said at the event. “AC Transit is implementing signal improvements and providing sidewalk repair.”
The bus boarding island will include a ramp that complies with guidelines set by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Improvements will be made to the area’s traffic signals, allowing buses to request priority upon arrival at an intersection. Lights will then remain green for a few extra seconds to reduce how much time buses spend waiting at red lights.
This complements the AC Transit Rapid Corridors Project, which is improving signal lights along Telegraph Avenue from Downtown Berkeley to Downtown Oakland, according to Miyasato.
“Our service is critical to the regional economy and for the riders that rely on us,” said Ryan Lau, external affairs representative at AC Transit, at the event. “Whether you’re a rider, a business owner, an elected official or even if you drive, I guarantee you that anything that impacts AC transit, in one way or another, impacts you.”