El Camino Real Bus Rapid Transit

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has a new video about the proposed El Camino Real (ECR) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which ties into the regional Grand Boulevard Initiative.

VTA plans to add BRT to segments of the South Bay’s most popular bus routes — the #22 and #522 — from the HP Pavilion in San Jose to the Palo Alto Transit Center. This video explains the concept of BRT and how it relates to the regional Grand Boulevard Initiative, which seeks to transform the historic corridor into a walkable, bikeable, and livable byway using Complete Streets principles.

VTA plans to remove parallel parking and, in some locations, traffic lanes from portions of El Camino Real (ECR) to make room for bicycle lanes and segregated BRT bus lanes. BRT lanes running down the middle of ECR are planned for the segments with the worse traffic: Santa Clara Caltrain north to Kiely; Lawrence Expressway to Bernardo; and from Embarcadero to Palo Alto University Avenue.

Construction is expected to begin in 2013, with service start in 2016.

Right now, I can bike the 20 mile distance between downtown San Jose and Palo Alto faster than the #22 bus; the #522 bus can beat me by about 10 minutes. Caltrain is, of course, the fastest option by far between those two points.

This ECR BRT will extend the Alum Rock BRT, which is expected to begin service in 2014 with about a mile of special BRT lanes on Alum Rock east of 34th Street in San Jose. Another BRT line for San Carlos Street / Stevens Creek Boulevard is a twinkle in the eyes of VTA planners right now.

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