The Oakland City Council voted unanimously – again – to enter into agreements with AC Transit to advance Bus Rapid Transit along International Boulevard. There are still some details to be worked out, but we are hopeful that the project will soon be cleared to receive funding awarded through the Federal Transit Administration's Small Starts program. Read our blog post from August 1, 2013, for the details.
In July of 2012, the Oakland City Council adopted BRT for International Boulevard. Since then, AC Transit has been working to address concerns that were raised around access for people with disabilities, mitigating impacts of construction on businesses, and the loss of some public parking for small businesses and services along the boulevard. While the issues of ensuring better access for people with disabilities have been or are well on the way to being worked out, the issue of assisting businesses that will be impacted by the project remains unresolved. Part of the challenge is the uncertainty of which businesses will need assistance after BRT is in place. It is also unclear what specific dollar amount will suffice to meet those potential needs. While some businesses will almost certainly need entirely new business models, others will not be impacted at all, or will even benefit from the investment of new infrastructure along the corridor.
TransForm has been monitoring this process closely, and we have been providing assistance in this dialogue wherever possible. We value the existing businesses and services as key pieces of the social and community fabric that make up the communities along International Boulevard. Thankfully, AC Transit and City staff have demonstrated their willingness to work in partnership with existing businesses and services along the corridor, ensuring BRT has a minimal impact to the parts of the community we would all like to see preserved.