Word on Webster: A bus runs through it
By Steve Gerstle
While Alameda does not have a BART station, it does have a very good bus system. Bus service is a good transportation option for West End residents with many buses serving numerous destinations.
Most of the service is provided by AC Transit, a public transit agency. The West End is fortunate to be served by five major lines that run along Webster Street.
The workhorse of Alameda transit is the 51A line, which runs from Rockridge BART through Alameda and terminates at Fruitvale BART. It serves Webster Street and Santa Clara Avenue and travels up Broadway and over the Fruitvale Bridge to BART. The 51A runs seven days a week from 6 a.m. to midnight. Frequency varies from every 10 minutes to every 20 minutes depending on time of day. From midnight to 6 a.m., hourly service is provided by the 851 line, which begins in downtown Alameda and continues along Santa Clara Avenue before heading up Webster Street through the Posey Tube into downtown Oakland and to BART.
There are two transbay lines that serve Webster Street and terminate in downtown San Francisco. The O (letter O) bus begins at Fruitvale BART, serves the East End and then runs along Santa Clara Avenue to Webster. It then heads through the tube to 880 and then goes to downtown San Francisco. It runs frequently during commute hours but only once an hour mid-day and on weekends. The O runs from 6 a.m. to midnight. (Beginning October 31, service will end at 10 p.m.) The W bus serves the East End and South Shore and then heads up Webster Street to the tube and on to San Francisco. It only runs during commute hours.
The 20 bus line begins at Fruitvale and MacArthur in Oakland, continues across the Park Street Bridge and then on to South Shore, Washington Park and up Webster through the tube to downtown Oakland. It runs from 5 a.m. to midnight seven days a week every 30 minutes. (Beginning October 31, West End service will end at 10 p.m.)
Line 31 serves Alameda Point, the West End and Marina Village. It begins near City Hall West at Alameda Point and then heads down Pacific and Lincoln to Webster. It then heads north on Webster and east on Atlantic through Marina Village and then through the tube to downtown Oakland, terminating in Emeryville. It runs from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week every 30 minutes.
There are also some special bus lines from AC Transit that serve our schools: Lines 631 and 663.
Though the planned cuts in West End service beginning October 31 are modest, AC Transit is now planning for yet another round of cuts in December. Some of the cuts proposed would deeply affect West End bus riders. One proposal is to eliminate all weekend transbay service as well as the 31 line to Alameda Point on weekends. Another proposal is to severely restrict all weekend service on all bus lines. Yet another proposal is to eliminate all bus service in Alameda after midnight. More details here.
In addition to AC Transit, the City of Alameda runs a shuttle for seniors and the disabled. One of the shuttle lines serves the West End and takes passengers to Marina Village, Mastick Senior Center, downtown Alameda and South Shore. The shuttle runs once an hour mid-day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Additional information is available here.
The winner for the best bus stop in the West End is the northbound bus stop on Webster at Lincoln. The stop has a shelter and two benches. It is served by three bus lines to Oakland and two to San Francisco.
Local politicians are laying down roots on Webster Street. On August 22, the Alameda Democratic Club opened its campaign headquarters on the corner of Webster and Lincoln at the site of the old pharmacy. Frank Matarrese opened his mayoral campaign headquarters at 1532 Webster, next to WesCafe, and Marie Gilmore has opened her mayoral campaign office at 1509 Webster Street. Hopefully all the politicians in the neighborhood will benefit Webster Street and the West End.
The thickly encrusted accumulation of pigeon poop at the southwest corner of Webster and Lincoln has been cleaned. The pigeons do not seem deterred. Meanwhile, the sidewalks along Webster Street have been powerwashed in preparation for the Webster Street Jam on September 11 and 12.
The conditions at the parking lot at Webster and Taylor continue to decline. Many of the plants are dying and there is garbage and broken glass in the lot. Residents of the neighborhood have contacted both Code Enforcement and the West Alameda Business Association. Since Diamond pulled out, there has been no charge for parking in the lot and it appears to be getting more use than in the past.
The Frog & Fiddle is expected to open this Monday, September 6 at 1544 Webster Street. They’ll have food, drink and live entertainment.