Today: City of San Jose considers Transit First policy

How often have you sat in a bus or light rail vehicle waiting at a stoplight while a long stream of drivers flow by?

At today’s San Jose City Council meeting, as part of Council Priority Setting, Council Member Foley is introducing a proposal to develop and adopt a city-wide Transit First policy framework. This isn’t purely a feel-good resolution – it has language directing the city to consider transit priority improvements and to incorporating decisions to speed transit into city plans.

This is important because cities are in charge of many roadways and the decisions that can speed or slow down transit.

If anyone reading this is in San Jose and would have the ability to speak in favor, the item will likely come up around 1:45- 2:00 pm.  If you’re near City Hall you can have the meeting video up and stop by when Council are nearing the agenda item. 

The memo describing the policy says:

The city should adopt a transit first policy that is applied in two ways. First, whenever a street where transit operates is part of a planning effort, the effort should incorporate how to make transit faster, more useful, and a more viable option. Secondly, any streets that operates large amounts of buses per hour or where speeds are below an ideal threshold should be considered for transit priority improvements. 

Within this policy framework, the city should set a minimum transit speed goal. To work toward implementation, staff should convene a working group consisting of various stakeholders. That working group should develop an action plan that includes corridor identification and it should review transit signal priority levels. Staff should include in this policy a framework that achieves our mobility goals, transit accessibility, efficiency, and affordability. These are all key to creating a more successful and more equitable transportation future. This transit first policy framework should consider, but not limit itself to bus-only lanes, queue jumpers, signal coordination, signal priority, and other efforts that aim to improve travel speeds on critical transit corridors. By developing a city-wide transit first policy, we can create a more efficient San José that runs fast buses and trains more frequently and on time.