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Oakland - May 2013

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Oakland — Planning for Streetcar to Accelerate

May 2013

The Rockridge Patch web site reports on developments in streetcar planning in the largest East Bay city:

Planning for a possible rail-based streetcar system in Oakland – an idea that's been in the wind for several years – could be moving into a higher gear on May 14.

That's when the Community and Economic Development Committee of the City Council considers a proposed $329,200 contract for a consultant to compare a streetcar system to the alternative of extending the current Broadway Shuttle.

The city wants to increase transit options along Broadway to help promote economic development along the key downtown corridor.

City staff is asking the City Council for authorization to award the study contract to Fehr & Peers as the lead consultant on a team that would include also Nelson Nygaard, URS, Strategic Economics and Noakro Consulting. 

The "Broadway Transit Urban Circulator Study" is expected to be completed within two years, according to a staff report from Kelley Kahn, Director of the Economic & Workforce Development Department.

"The study will examine the feasibility and economic development benefits of extending the Broadway Shuttle route to serve additional destinations and neighborhoods up to Kaiser Hospital and the MacArthur BART station, and will compare the costs and potential benefits of a rubber-tire bus service (similar to existing Broadway Shuttle vehicles) versus a rail-based 'streetcar' system," according to Kahn's report.

The Broadway Shuttle is a city experiment begun in July 10 that runs free buses from Jack London Square along Broadway to Grand Avenue.

"With more than 14,500 passengers each day and $8.8 million in purchases by shuttle riders at businesses along the route, the service has proven to be successful," Kahn wrote. "This study is the next step towards the longer term goal of an expanded route, possible conversion to rail, and more sustainable funding sources that would address both the transit and economic needs of the corridor."

Funding for the contract would consist of $299,200 in Caltrans Urban Transit grant funds and "a local match of $30,000 in prior year Economic Development allocations of Community Development Block Grant funds," Kahn said.


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