West Grand Avenue HOV/Bus Lane Extension Phase II

At the April 1st, 2021 BPAC Infrastructure Committee meeting, Cathy Chea gave a presentation on the West Grand Avenue HOV/Bus lane extension Phase II project. The project is part of Bay Bridge Forward.

Notes from the presentation and discussion are below.
Related article by SPUR, March 30, 2021: “Giving Buses Priority on the Bay Bridge Will Improve Access and Equity.”

Project Description

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is undertaking the West Grand Avenue Bus/HOV Lane Project in the City of Oakland to provide operational improvements and increase person throughput on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB).

Construction for Phase 1 was completed in January 2019, which converted the existing right shoulder along the on-ramp to the SFOBB to a Bus/HOV lane.

Phase 2 is expected to open mid-2021 and will provide additional access and operational improvements for carpools and buses by converting the existing westbound right shoulder on West Grand Ave between the I-580 eastbound on-ramp and the intersection of West Grand Ave with Frontage Road. In addition, a multi-use path for bicyclists and pedestrians will be constructed on eastbound West Grand Ave between Maritime Street and Mandela Parkway.

Draft Project Schematic

Draft Project Schematic (March 30, 2021)
Draft Design, March 30, 2021. [PDF]

Presentation Notes

  • Phase 1 project opened January 2019 added 1300’ of bus/HOV-only lane 
    • Travel time savings of up to 20 minutes for buses
    • But still excessive queueing leading up to the bus lane, especially around Maritime Street
    • Crashes on the bridge can increase bus travel time up to a half hour to travel only a half mile—Usually only 1 minute in non-peak traffic
  • Phase 2 project proposes the following:
    • Bus/HOV lane westbound by converting existing shoulder from Frontage Road to Maritime Street
    • Multi-use 2-way path on south side of West Grand between Mandela and Maritime by extending existing sidewalk. It would be 8’ wide with a 2’ barrier.
    • Construction expected in 2nd half of 2021.

Discussion

  • Path will open up access to a lot more people in West Oakland.
  • Protected intersection proposed at Mandela/West Grand—design still in the works. May use existing median along Mandela to help bike riders make turns on and off the cycletrack. The next draft should be available within a few weeks.
  • How will pedestrians access the path?
    • Overpass touches down at West Grand/Campbell. Pedestrians can access it from there or to the east.
  • Is the path off the side of the existing overpass or part of the existing structure?
    • Path will be on-street, by widening the existing sidewalk.
  • The long term West Oakland Link project proposes to build a separated bike/walk overpass at this location, so this project is a short term interim upgrade.
  • The project is a part of the Bay Bridge Forward initiative to improve transit time and access for multiple modes.
  • Project will be going to city council in coordination with West Grand paving & road diet project, which will add buffered bike lanes from Mandela to Market Street.
  • MTC is working with Caltrans and Oakland city council to get design approval.

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