Berkeley is poised to become even more bicycle friendly under major new funding approved by a key Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) committee on April 9.
The funding will enable the city to roll out bike sharing in a pilot expansion of the Bay Area Bike Share program now operating in San Francisco and four other cities.
The MTC’s Programming and Allocations Committee also approved funding to fill in missing parts of the Bay Trail at the Berkeley Marina and at the Berkeley border with Albany.
“Making it easier for our residents to use bicycles is essential if we want to increase alternative transportation,” said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, who represents Alameda County mayors on the MTC. “And alternative transportation is a vital part of Berkeley’s efforts to cut greenhouse gases under its Climate Action Plan. Bringing Bike Share to the East Bay and filling gaps in the Bay Trail mean a healthier future for all of us.”
The committee voted to allocate $8.7 million in Bike Share funding that would include roughly 300 bikes in Berkeley and 450 in Oakland, with an undetermined number in Emeryville. The allotment would more than double the approximately 700 bikes now operating as part of the initial Bay Area Bike Share deployment, inaugurated last August, in San Francisco, San Jose, Mountain View, Palo Alto and Redwood City. Part of the new funding would go also to continuing the existing 5-city program, which is slated to expand to 1,000 bikes.
Upon approval of the East Bay Bike Share pilot program by the full MTC at its regular meeting on April 23, MTC staff would work with representatives of the participating cities and other partners, including UC Berkeley and BART, to plan the deployment of the bikes in approximately 60 stations in an 8.5-mile service area. The lead management of Bay Area Bike Share would also shift to the MTC from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The Air District currently takes the lead role in the program, which is jointly managed by the two agencies.
The MTC spending plan also includes two projects to improve Bay Trail segments inBerkeley.
Berkeley would receive $1 million for the third segment of the Bay Trail Extension, a spur of the Bay Trail running through the Berkeley Marina. The first two segments of the extension have been completed, and the new funding would also add a public restroom,bike racks, access improvements, parking lot upgrades and other enhancements near the two sailing clubs and windsurf rigging area.
At the same time, the East Bay Regional Parks District would receive $750,000 to fill the gap in the Bay Trail between Gilman Street in North Berkeley and Buchanan Street near the Albany Bulb in Albany. The new segment would run on the shoreline side of the Golden Gate Fields racetrack.
—Information provided by the Office of the Mayor