Assemblymember Rob Bonta introduced Assembly Bill 2824 Thursday which, loosely paraphrased, could help usher the construction of a bus lane on the Bay Bridge, theoretically easing traffic along the motorway and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
As reported by the SF Examiner’s Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, the intent language bill created by Bonta (D-Oakland) ultimately aims to lay the legislative groundwork to create a bus lane or some semblance of one on the Bay Bridge; the yet-approved piece of authority, too, could lead to bus-only lanes on “East Bay approaches to the Bay Bridge,” helping further decongest motorway traffic.
“This bill would state the intent of the legislature to enact future legislation pertaining to the issue of high carbon emissions and inefficient public transit across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in order to create a more environmentally sustainable, equitable, and efficient approach to transportation,” the placeholder bill reads.
The idea of a bus and bus-only lanes across the Bay Bridge are long in the tooth; these are ideas that have circulated in various political and communal circles for years. And, per the SF Examiner, it was published that Bonta was working on this bill as early as January. Now, local officials and transit agencies appear to be warming up to the idea — if for no other reason than the fact that it’s a “really great idea” on many fronts.
“The reason I think it could still be a really great idea is it will still save time for the buses when they’re on the bridge, and it will help people consider using it as an alternative,” said San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Hillary Ronen — who, like Bonta, also sits on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) — to Rodriquez. “It will create, hopefully, a culture change that will make it more likely for people to ride transit rather than individual cars.”
Bonta says, however, that while his bill is still in the works it’s progression could be rolled out in various stages. He noted that the Bay Bridge being tweaked for faster bus travel would come first, though creating a bus-only lane on the bridge is still the main goal.
Bonta is expected to write the bills “full language” within a month, empathizing that the process is more difficult than meets the eye — “just striping (paint) alone will not get it done” — but remains optimistic about the bill’s later adoption.
The Chronicle early in the month said that Andrew Fremier, the MTC's deputy executive director for operations, believes 20 percent of Bay Bridge transients would need to adopt bus travel in order to avoid “massive traffic complications" on the metropolitan nexus. But a successful rollout of a Bay Bridge bus lane would greatly reduce transport-related carbon emissions, all while creating a safer commute.