With buses, ferries and travel lanes all clogged along the Bay Bridge corridor, Bay Area transportation officials are hoping a $40 million suite of programs, approved Wednesday, can offer commuters some short-term relief.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission's (MTC) plan focuses on solutions that can begin serving commuters within the next several years—everything from double-decker buses and designated carpool pickup areas, to more ferry service and bus and high-occupany vehicle-only lanes approaching the bridge, to better HOV enforcement technology and more commuter parking lots.
But regional transportation planners say significant increases in capacity won't come without serious investments in additional infrastructure—the largest and most complicated of which could be a second Transbay rail crossing.
Every weekday, more than a quarter of a million people cross the Bay Bridge, what regional leaders call the single most important transportation artery in the region, pumping hundreds of thousands of people straight into the heart of the Bay Area's economy.
Transit ridership, which includes Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), bus and ferry service, increased 42% between 2010 and 2014, though bus and ferry officials say they have yet to satisfy demand.
The MTC will contribute $7 million to convert the shoulder of West Grand Avenue in Oakland to a high-occupancy vehicle and bus-only lane as it approaches the Bay Bridge. Another $9 million will fund an HOV enforcement pilot program at Sterling Street and convert an HOV lane into an express lane.