BRT: YEAR IN REVIEW 2018

It seems like only yesterday we were assembling dignitaries for a groundbreaking, checking for underground utilities and blanketing the International Boulevard / East 14th Street corridor with door hangers announcing the start of construction. Although time may blur, AC Transit’s much-heralded East Bay Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project made progress each day of 2018.

As a New Year begins, we invite you to take a look back at the remarkable progress made on the BRT in 2018, and hope that you are as excited as we are to begin service in 2019!

JANUARY – The Downtown San Leandro Station at Hays and Davis Streets and the Civic Center Station, outside San Leandro City Hall, begin to take shape. The concrete for the stations and the bus pad — where BRT passengers will board and exit — is meticulously poured by construction crews.

FEBRUARY – One month later, eight BRT station platforms — three in San Leandro and five in Oakland — are now in place. Station canopies, furniture and distinctive artwork will be installed later in the year and into 2019, after the repaving of International Boulevard is complete.

MARCH – By the start of spring, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant curb ramps, modernized traffic signals, and upgraded drainage systems are completed in the Hegenberger neighborhood, between 68th and 73rd Avenues.

APRIL – Before April showers, the construction of BRT’s median stations in the Hegenberger neighborhood are completed. Six BRT stations are now in place and awaiting final touches. The first of many new and technologically advanced traffic signals is activated on International Boulevard and 81st Avenue. Seniors from Allen Temple Arms Senior Apartments and youth from the East Oakland Youth Development Center can now cross International Boulevard more safely.

MAY – As moms prepared for their special day, BRT in San Leandro reaches the milestone of 80 percent construction completion. San Leandro residents now enjoy all-new ADA-compliant curb ramps, modernized traffic signals and upgraded drainage systems.

JUNE – As the school year closes, BRT’s Outreach Team collaborates with Allen Temple Baptist Church and local high school students to connect local residents with construction-related careers. The students conduct outreach at malls, transit stops, and community centers to share job information with hundreds of Oakland residents. Construction in the Elmhurst neighborhood is now 80 percent complete.

JULY – Before Independence Day fireworks bedazzle the skies, the BRT Outreach Team welcomes an intern from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) High School Internship Program to our staff. The program provides high school students, with an interest in transportation, the opportunity to work on major transportation projects throughout the region. The addition of the MTC intern amplifies BRT’s outreach efforts over the summer, helping the team better share information about the BRT project with the community.

AUGUST – The project gains steam, along with the summer heat, as construction gets underway in the Eastlake, San Antonio and Fruitvale neighborhoods. Construction crews install new traffic signal foundations, ADA-compliant curb ramps, and upgraded drainage systems.

SEPTEMBER – The start of fall placed our Outreach Team on the road to the Santa Rita County Jail, where we spoke with over 400 people scheduled for release about careers in construction. AC Transit is committed to hiring local residents from Oakland and San Leandro to work on the BRT and other construction projects throughout the region. Several of the people we spoke with were card-carrying union members who were ready and eager to return to work. Since BRT’s groundbreaking, we have partnered with the Cypress Mandela Training Center, Rising Sun Energy Center, and the West Oakland Jobs Resource Center to connect residents with good-paying construction jobs.

OCTOBER – As thoughts of candy corn and costumes neared, AC Transit began testing the new BRT buses at station platforms along International Boulevard / East 14th Street! For many, this was their first glimpse of the train-inspired doors and how BRT’s level flooring will make boarding and exiting easier for riders with mobility devices.

NOVEMBER – The repaving of International Boulevard begins! The plan is to repave nearly all of International Boulevard between 42nd and Durant Avenues before the end of 2018. By the time BRT service begins in December 2019, nearly 10 miles of the BRT corridor will be repaved curb-to-curb with new asphalt that will last as long as 20 years.

Fall also marks the end of festival season for the BRT Outreach Team. Between May and November, the Team participated in numerous festivals, including the Oakland Pride Parade & Festival, the San Leandro Cherry Festival, and the Chinatown Street Fest. This year, the Outreach Team participated in nearly 100 festivals, community and civic meetings, job fairs, and neighborhood events. Since the project began, the team has participated in almost 250 events, sharing BRT information with thousands of people.

DECEMBER – As candy canes and visions of sugar plums dance in our heads, the BRT project celebrates yet another major milestone with the completion of paving on International Boulevard between 42nd and Durant Avenues. Additionally, 16 station canopies have been installed, including all canopies in San Leandro. Major construction is mostly complete in San Leandro and East Oakland, and a total of 19 stations are now in place. Overall, the BRT is 51 percent complete and the project continues to gain momentum in the Eastlake, San Antonio, and Fruitvale neighborhoods, as well as downtown Oakland.

In 2019, residents will continue to see the BRT stations take shape, including the installation of passenger seating, security cameras, lighting, real-time arrival information, artistic enhancements, beautiful landscaping and more. International Boulevard from 42nd Avenue north to downtown Oakland will be repaved, along with the installation of new traffic signals, safer pedestrian crossings, and dozens more ADA-compliant curb ramps.

The 9.5-mile BRT system is not only on budget but on schedule to begin service to riders in December 2019! Yet the community is already enjoying many of its benefits including new pavement and sidewalks, ADA-compliant curb ramps, safer street crossings and more! An even greater number of people will begin enjoying safer, more pedestrian-friendly streets as the project nears completion.

AC Transit and our BRT staff wishes to thank residents, businesses, and our community partners for your continued support and patience as we work to deliver the first-ever BRT to Oakland and San Leandro later this year!