Campus & community, Campus news

Getting to campus just got quicker, safer and more sustainable

New dedicated bike lanes, new bus loading zones, a new sidewalk and other features aim to improve safety and access on Hearst Avenue and Bancroft Way

Hearst Avenue bike lane ribbon cutting

New bike lane and transit stop are among the new Hearst Avenue commuter safety and access improvements.

Commuting to UC Berkeley just improved for many of the 80 percent of students, faculty and staff who arrive every day by bicycle, transit and on foot.

On the two busy streets that flank the campus’s north and south sides — Hearst Avenue and Bancroft Way, streets with historically high collision rates — new dedicated bike lanes, safer bus loading zones, a new sidewalk and other features have just been completed. Together, they are intended to improve commuter access, sustainability and safety.

The two projects — both partnerships between the campus and the City of Berkeley — were lauded with celebratory ribbon-cuttings on Friday.

ribbon-cutting on Hearst Avenue bike lane

Ceremonial ribbon-cutting opens the new Hearst Avenue bike lane, with representatives from the City of Berkeley, UC Berkeley, AC Transit and Bike East Bay.

“This is a model complete streets project, and this is what we need to doing throughout the City of Berkeley. Not just improving the surface of our roadways but really integrating multibenefit improvements,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin. “This is an example of a joint partnership between the city and the university. The funds from the Long Range Development Plan settlement agreement helped make this project happen. So I want to thank the University of California for your partnership….”

Hearst Avenue, which borders the campus on the north side, is now Berkeley’s first “complete street,” a street designed and maintained to provide safe and convenient travel opportunities for all users.

Where pedestrians, bicyclists and fast-moving cars once merged, new dedicated bike lanes protected by parked cars create a continuous bikeway extending the length of the campus and then west to the regional Ohlone Greenway Trail. Innovative bus boarding islands allow cyclists to pass by more safely, and speed up bus arrivals and departures. Pedestrians benefit from an entirely new sidewalk, a new traffic signal at Le Roy Avenue and numerous crosswalk improvements.

The Hearst Avenue project “allows our staff, as well as our faculty and students, to access the campus as efficiently as possible,” said David Sorrell, UC Berkeley transportation demand manager.

On the south side of campus along Bancroft Way, completion of the first phase of a new two-way protected bikeway and transit-only lane brings critical safety and access improvements. Future phases of the project, expected to begin next year, include a two-way bikeway and transit stop modifications at Dana Street and a bikeway on Bancroft east of Telegraph Avenue.

Managed by the City of Berkeley, the Hearst Avenue and Bancroft Way projects underscore the productivity of partnership between the city, campus, local agencies and the public.

UC Berkeley contributed key funding earmarked specifically to improve transportation for pedestrians, bicyclists and transit riders. Additional funding partners for the Hearst Avenue project include the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Alameda County Transportation Commission and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

“We are excited by this moment,” said Mayor Arreguin. “Hopefully we’ll have many more of these, and the City of Berkeley is an eager partner working with the University of California, and AC Transit, and Bike East Bay, to make our streets really ‘complete streets.’”