Tuesday’s City Council meeting has an agenda item that I’ve been meaning to write about but have completely dropped the ball on and, unfortunately, comes at the last minute when the City Council is asked to make recommendation and take a vote.
So yeah, I’m one of those people who show up at the nth hour and say “wait a minute this is what I think!” Except I’m not showing up anywhere, I’m just typing it out here.
Anyway, the nutshell is that AC Transit has some money but only enough to restore or add one bus route to Alameda. Which is really sad that we can’t encourage alternatives to driving because there’s just not enough money to spread around to public transit. It’s hard to say that any of the three alternatives are bad or more superior than the others, it’s simply a matter of trade offs and which staff believes will be most successful.
In this particular case though, the decision of the City Council will comes down to public and written comments and their own previous opinions on the role of public transportation and what areas should be served next.
So here are the three options:
Fruitvale BART along Shoreline to Main Street Ferry
Fruitvale BART along Encinal to Main Street Ferry
Revived line 19 Fruitvale BART along Buena Vista to 12th Street BART
Here’s the comparisons of the three alternatives:
From a West End parents’ perspective I’m highly supportive of the Shoreline alternative. Knowing that Wood Middle school is the only public school option (non magnet, non charter) for a significant portion of the West End middle school population, having a bus line that services those students is very appealing. Add to that the service to the Ferry building — if the headways can be coordinated with the Ferry schedule — then this makes the line very appealing.
Similarly the Encinal alternative gives options to both Alameda high schools, particularly for a segment of the population who is just learning to drive and has that option. Also Ferry building terminus.
The argument against these two lines is that if the Central Avenue protected bikeway is approved then there is the option for these students to use the protected bikeway as an alternate mode of transportation. Unfortunately nothing can change the realities of the tube and the hostile environment for anything not completely enclosed in metal which is why the revived 19 is appealing as well to help provide yet another alternative for folks attempting to cross the estuary in something other than a single occupant vehicle.
Essentially there are two priorities at battle here: one is the reduction of car trips across the estuary and the other is providing alternatives to car trips on Island. I think both are laudable goals and it’s a shame that it comes down to pitting one priority against the other.