In a decision that could drastically impact commuter traffic, Mountain View city leaders on Tuesday will consider a Santa Clara County proposal to dedicate roadway lanes of El Camino Real to be used solely for bus traffic.
The Valley Transportation Authority's proposed Bus Rapid Transit plan would enhance mass transit service by providing a streamlined route running from Palo Alto down to San Jose. The plan calls for two lanes of traffic one in each direction to be closed off to all motorists except buses.
Cities along the thoroughfare have reacted with some trepidation and skepticism to the plan. For example, Mountain View staff balked at the VTA finding that the plan would cause no "significant" traffic impacts along El Camino Real.
City officials have expressed concern that creating bus lanes would cause a logjam for other traffic and push drivers onto other crowded streets. Other cities, including Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and Los Altos, have already expressed opposition to the plan.
VTA planners have also proposed seven alternatives that city officials will consider on Tuesday night. To varying degrees, those plans each call for a mix of smaller dedicated lanes and new bus stops located along the curbside or road median.
VTA has no obligation to follow the recommendations of Mountain View or other cities in making its final decision on the bus lanes. Transit officials have indicated their final choice would take into account the cities' input.
Any final decision on changes to El Camino Real would need to be approved by the state agency Caltrans, which has formal authority over the roadway.
The City Council will meet to discuss the Bus Rapid Transit plan at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Council Chambers at 500 Castro St.