Yesterday was the launch of the Estuary Crossing Shuttle which is essentially a bus with lots of interior bike racks in it to provide an alternative for pedestrians and bicyclists to using the tube to get from Oakland to Alameda and vice versa. Map from the City’s website:
Some details from the Alameda Journal article, just ignore the title because it’s not BART’s shuttle:
The new shuttle service runs every 30 minutes between 7-11:30 a.m. and from 3:30-7 p.m. on weekdays.
“AC Transit buses run through the Tube every nine minutes on a more regular schedule, but they can only take two bikes each,” said Cory LaVigne, director of service development and planning for the organization. “I can’t wait to see how this service goes, and if it should be taken further.”
The shuttle service is funded by a one-year $193,000 grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and a 10 percent matching grant from the city of Alameda. It could be eligible for a second year of funding, officials said during Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the College of Alameda.
The new shuttle is a low-emissions bus powered by natural gas. “We estimate that this service could reduce the level of greenhouse gases by 796 tons a year and the level of air pollutants by 1.5 tons a year,” said Damian Breen, director of incentives for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
Is it a perfect crossing solution? Not really. I think most people who use the tube sans car would probably prefer a fixed alternative, but given the huge cost of a bike bridge I think it’s safe to say that it probably isn’t going to happen any time soon. As mentioned in the comments section which diverted from the initial topic, the bike shuttle is a mid-range solution, not a long term one. Is the crossing shuttle a duplicate of the current route AC Transit runs? Probably. But arguably the new Downtown Oakland buses duplicate AC Transit routes as well and they are fairly well used.
Hopefully if Alameda Landing ever gets built out perhaps the Water Taxi idea can get a bit more traction, but in lieu of that the shuttle is a good way of getting a lot of people through the Tube without those uncomfortable and dangerous situations when two people intersect on that tiny little walkway. I just hope they let that little old couple who schlep those huge bags of recyclables use the shuttle as well.