September 7, 2011

Monterey, Calif., partners with music festival to launch BRT

Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) is partnering with the Monterey Jazz Festival to launch its bus rapid transit (BRT) service in Monterey County in the fall of 2012.

This new service will not only decrease travel times by as much as 25 percent along one of the busiest traffic corridors on the Monterey Peninsula, but also will provide an entertaining and educational history of the Monterey Jazz Festival at the same time.

Aptly named “JAZZ,” the new 6.75-mile BRT service will start at Sand City Station located at the Edgewater Shopping Center in Sand City, run along Fremont in Seaside and North Monterey, continue through downtown Monterey and along the visitor-intensive Lighthouse Avenue corridor in New Monterey, and turn around for a return trip near the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The BRT service will introduce new technologies that include queue jump lanes, transit signal priority (TSP) and increased stop spacing to streamline bus traffic along the corridor and significantly reduce travel times. The new shelters will offer global positioning system (GPS)-enabled electronic passenger information signage and other enhanced amenities as well as minimal curb and sidewalk improvements to ensure that all stop locations meet federally-mandated Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Pavement at stops and at the new queue jump locations will be upgraded to accommodate BRT operations and redesigned to provide a unique, decorative flair to match the new JAZZ design and color scheme. The low-floor buses that MST will operate on the BRT corridor are already TSP-enabled and will be repainted to reflect the JAZZ brand image of the new service.

A sample shelter will be on display within the Monterey County Fairgrounds at this year’s Monterey Jazz Festival, which takes place Sept. 16 to 18. The full system is slated for completion in time for the 55th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival in September of 2012.

In late 2009, MST received approximately $2.7 million in Small Starts program funds from the Federal Transit Administration to fully fund the project, along with $700,000 in state transportation bonds.

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