A special session of the City Council meets tonight to consider what proposals for the contentious Bus Rapid Transit should be pursued in the final Environmental Impact Study/Report. Because a large crowd is expected, the session will be held at Longfellow Middle School, starting at 7 p.m.

The meeting will open with a staff presentation on BRT, followed by five-minute presentations by Berkeleyans for Better Transportation Options and Rapid Bus Plus. Mayor Tom Bates will then present his proposal, which argues for a study of three options: build, a modified staff proposal (see drawing, above — click for full size image); reduced impact, which includes most of the BRT features (diagram here); and no build.

Both of the first two options include NextBus, the real-time schedule signage, a standardized proof of payment system, security features and minimized parking loss, according to the mayor’s proposal. If technically or financially feasible, they will include elevated and/or level board platforms and far-side bus stations with queue jump lanes when needed.

After many delays, the Council plans to decide on the study tonight.

Lance Knobel (Berkeleyside co-founder) has been a journalist for nearly 40 years. Much of his career was in business journalism. He was editor-in-chief of both Management Today, the leading business magazine...