Bus Rapid Transit Hitting Speed Bumps in the Silicon Valley
"A proposal to create bus-only lanes on El Camino Real between Palo Alto and San Jose has hit a political speed bump," reports Gennady Sheyner, "with a committee of elected officials from all the Santa Clara County cities along the corridor coming out against the controversial reconfiguration and requesting an analysis of new alternatives."
The El Camino Rapid Transit Policy Advisory Board, comprised of city council members from three cities on the Peninsula in the Bay Area, meets with staff from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA). The draft Environmental Impact Report has produced no shortage of controversy during the board's hearings. Of particular concern to critics of the EIR is plan alternative that would "transform the left lanes of El Camino into bus-only lanes," according to Sheyner. "This alternative, according to the draft environmental analysis, would shrink the time it takes to ride the bus from Palo Alto to San Jose from the current 85 minutes to 48 minutes."
At the end of October, the board sent VTA staff back to the drawing board, requesting two new alternatives for environmental analysis. The article goes into more detail about the politics surrounding the proposal and the most recent actions of the board.
Sheyner also notes that the difficult process for the El Camino BRT route mirrors another BRT project, further along in the process in San Jose. The route along Santa Clara Street, Alum Rock Avenue, Capitol Avenue and Capitol Expressway, "is now facing significant delays after construction was halted in July for a 'safety shutdown' relating to utilities, according to the VTA."