After months of relative quiet on the status of bus-rapid-transit planning, the city announced this afternoon
it will hold two public meetings next week that will include discussion of a revamped bus system in the East End corridor.
The city is seeking public comment on "the purpose and need for transit improvements, as well as environmental issues that should be considered" and "possible station locations in Downtown, Uptown and Oakland for proposed [bus rapid transit] alignments." An overview of transit planning/projects in that corridor will also be presented, according to a press release.
Converting the Downtown-East End corridor to a bus rapid transit (BRT) system (in which buses typically get their own lanes, traffic signals and more prominent stations) would cost an estimated $200 million. And that plan has been somewhat controversial: Its proponents see it as a way of spurring development, while its detractors argue that after years of cuts, Port Authority should be paying more attention to restoring service than building fancier bus infrastructure along well-served routes. (For more context on the local debate about bus rapid transit, check out this primer
The concept of transit-as-community-development-mechanism echoed in the city's announcement. The press release, for instance, includes language about an "EcoInnovation District" which refers to "a revitalized Uptown community, which is both environmentally and financially sustainable while promoting equity, and public and private sector innovation."
So if the intersection of local politics, community development and transit is your thing — these meetings might be worth a peek:
Noon–2 p.m. Tue., May 5. Duquesne University, Power Center Ballroom, 1015 Forbes Ave., Uptown
6-8 p.m. Wed., May 6. William Pitt Student Union, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland