Dana Street redesign to add protected bike track, cut car lane near UC Berkeley

It could be the first of several street changes in the Southside neighborhood to benefit pedestrians, bicyclists and public transit riders.

Planners want to redesign four blocks of Dana Street, from Bancroft Way to Dwight Way, reducing the number of car lanes from two to one while adding new improvements for bike and bus riders. Credit: Nico Savidge

A planned redesign of Dana Street calls for adding a new protected bike track to four busy blocks near the UC Berkeley campus — while cutting space for car traffic from two lanes to one.

The project, which Berkeley’s City Council is expected to approve at a meeting Tuesday, could mark the start of a wider reworking of streets in the bustling Southside neighborhood, with the goal of improving access for those on foot, bicycle and public transportation.

Led by AC Transit, the pilot project would affect the blocks of Dana Street between Bancroft Way and Dwight Way, where the street passes churches, apartment buildings and Cal residence halls. Those blocks now feature one unprotected southbound bike lane, two lanes of southbound car traffic and a lane for parked cars.

The proposed redesign of Dana Street would add a new two-way bicycle track and bus boarding island meant to speed up AC Transit’s line 6. Credit: AC Transit

Under the project proposal, the parking lane would flip from the west side of the street to the east. In its former place, crews would build a new buffered and protected bikeway accommodating both north- and south-bound riders.


AC Transit would replace a simple curbside stop for line 6 bus riders at Dana and Haste streets with a new boarding island meant to speed up stops and improve access for passengers with mobility impairments. Upgraded traffic signals would also give buses priority for longer or earlier green lights.

To make room for those changes, car traffic would be reduced to a single southbound lane. The number of metered parking spots on the four blocks covered by the project would be cut from 20 to 10, though it would add two new residential parking spaces, four passenger loading zone spaces and one commercial loading spot.

The project is set to break ground next spring and be completed by the fall.

While car drivers might groan at losing a lane, AC Transit and other transportation officials say the goal of “complete streets” projects like the one planned for Dana Street is to make roads safer and more accessible for all users.

Councilmember Rigel Robinson, who represents the Southside neighborhood, said Dana Street could become “the first piece of a broader overhaul.” A neighborhood complete streets plan is expected later this year, he said, which could reshape other major roads in the area — including its main thoroughfare, Telegraph Avenue.

“With the dense student population, almost none of which is driving a private automobile in the area, this is the perfect environment to try new things,” Robinson said.

Nico Savidge is Berkeleyside's senior reporter covering city hall. Email: nico@berkeleyside.org. Twitter: NSavidge.