Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Marsh Creek Road closed from Clayton city limits to Morgan Territory Road

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

By Steve Padilla, Director Contra Costa County Public Works Department

March 6, 2019, Clayton, CA – Marsh Creek Road is closed in both directions, between the Clayton city limits and Morgan Territory Road due to rock and mud slides.  We anticipate re-opening the road by early afternoon. Please take alternative routes to avoid this area.

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Frazier supports Gov. Newsom’s announcements on high speed rail, Delta Tunnels

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Assemblyman Jim Frazier

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay), chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, released the following statements on Tuesday after California Gov. Gavin Newsom delivered his first State of the State Address before a joint session of the Legislature.

“Governor Newsom inherited a high-speed rail project that is a mess. He showed he is ready to step up and take the reins as a leader, recognizing there needs to be wholesale changes. I appreciate his realistic and common-sense approach to this project.

The governor also has a soft spot in his heart for the intellectually and developmentally disabled and recognizes that we need to step up our game to better support the special needs community.”

The governor also announced he will appoint a new member to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors, with the expectation the new appointee will become chair. Frazier responded with the following statement:

“I applaud the decision to appoint Lenny Mendonca to the High-Speed Rail Authority Board with the governor’s intention that Mendonca become chairman. An investigation by State Auditor Elaine Howle revealed a pattern of repeated failures at the Authority, under the direction of current Chairman Dan Richard, with hundreds of millions in cost overruns and a lack of honesty and transparency. That is just one reason I have been advocating for a change in leadership. I have high hopes for Mr. Mendonca to lead the High-Speed Rail Authority to complete the scaled down project the governor outlined in his State of the State Address today. A change of leadership at the HSRA was long overdue.”

Regarding Newsom’s announcement on scaling back the twin Delta tunnels to a single tunnel project, Frazier, whose district encompasses a large portion of the Delta, issued the following statement:

“I’m grateful Governor Newsom has been willing to listen to local stakeholders in the battle for the future of the Delta. His unequivocal denunciation of the twin tunnels project is a step in the right direction. I look forward to working with the governor to convince him there are alternative water delivery solutions that are economical and can be delivered in a timely manner, nullifying the need for even a single tunnel.”

Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

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New Year means higher tolls on seven Bay Area bridges beginning Tuesday

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Bay Bridge Toll Plaza photos taken 9 /16 & 18/13. Karl Nielsen Photography, www.karlnielsenphotography.com, (805) 570-3395

First of three voter-approved increases

The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) reminds drivers that several important changes take effect Jan. 1, 2019, at the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges. These include the first of the $1 toll increases approved last year through state Senate Bill 595 and confirmed by voters through Regional Measure 3 in June 2018. This will mark the first toll hike at the state-owned toll bridges since 2010. Additional $1 increases will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, and on Jan. 1, 2025.

Regular tolls for two-axle cars and trucks (as well as for motorcycles) at the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges will rise to $6 from the current $5 on Jan. 1, 2019.

At the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, regular tolls will climb to $7 from the current $6 on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. During weekday off-peak hours from 12 midnight to 5 a.m., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and from 7 p.m. to midnight, Bay Bridge tolls will rise from $4 to $5; and on Saturdays and Sundays, Bay Bridge tolls will increase to $6 from the current $5.

Tolls for vehicles with three or more axles also will rise by $1 on Jan. 1, 2019, at all seven of the state-owned toll bridges: to $16 for three axles, $21 for four-axles, $26 for five axles, $31 for six axles, and $36 for combinations with seven or more axles.

Senate Bill 595 continues the peak-period toll discount for motorcycles, carpools and qualifying clean-air vehicles crossing any of the state-owned toll bridges on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The discounted toll is scheduled to increase to $3 on Jan. 1, 2019, from the current $2.50. To qualify for this discount, carpoolers, motorcyclists and drivers of qualifying clean-air vehicles must use FasTrak to pay their tolls electronically and must use a designated carpool lane at each toll plaza.

Senate Bill 595 also established a 50-cent toll discount for two-axle vehicles crossing more than one of the state-owned toll bridges during weekday commute hours of 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. To be eligible for the toll discount, which is to be applied to the second toll crossing of the day, motorists must pay their tolls electronically with FasTrak. Carpools, motorcycles and qualifying clean-air vehicles making a second peak-period toll crossing in a single day will qualify for an additional 25-cent discount off the already-discounted carpool toll. The two-bridge discount will not be available to drivers who use cash to pay their tolls.

New FasTrak customers can obtain toll tags at hundreds of Walgreens and Costco stores around the Bay Area. A complete list of participating locations — as well as an online enrollment and registration feature — is available on the FasTrak Web site at bayareafastrak.org. Customers also may enroll in the FasTrak program by phone at 1-877-229-8655; by calling 511 and asking for “FasTrak” at the first prompt; or in person at the FasTrak customer service center at 375 Beale Street in San Francisco. Operating hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. FasTrak can be used in all lanes at all Bay Area toll plazas.

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018 BATA formally approved the new toll schedule through adoption of BATA Resolution No. 128 at its regular December meeting. The Authority today also adopted BATA Resolution No. 129, which authorizes arrangements for the escrow of Regional Measure 3 funds pending the resolution of two lawsuits challenging state Senate Bill 595 and Regional Measure 3. Both lawsuits are pending in Superior Court in the City and County of San Francisco. Under BATA Resolution No. 129, the Regional Measure 3 toll increases, when collected, will be placed into an escrow account managed by an independent trustee. Following a process similar to voter-approved sales tax measures that face legal challenge, these funds will be transferred at least once each week from BATA to a Union Bank (Mitsubishi United Financial Group – MUFG) trust account, where the funds will be managed by a bank trust officer until final resolution of all litigation. Once the BATA legal team certifies there is a final resolution, the Authority will be asked to release the escrow. If BATA prevails in the litigation, the funds will be applied to BATA-approved programs. If BATA should lose the litigation, the funds will be reimbursed to tollpayers.

BATA, which is directed by the same policy board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), administers toll revenues from the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges. Toll revenues from the Golden Gate Bridge are administered by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which joined with BATA to operate a single regional FasTrak customer service center in San Francisco. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

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Frazier reappointed as Chair of Assembly Transportation Committee

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

Also continues on Insurance and Veterans Affairs Committees

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D–Discovery Bay) made the following statement after Speaker Anthony Rendon (D – Paramount) reappointed him as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee:

“I am honored that Speaker Rendon has given me the privilege to continue as Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee.  Serving as chair of this Committee has given me the opportunity to help lead California into a golden age of transportation infrastructure repair.”

“A strong economy depends on roads and highways that are safe and efficient and California is now a leader in the nation on finding transportation solutions that keep the residents of our cities, counties and state moving.  This historic infrastructure investment will put tens of thousands of Californians to work throughout the state.”

In addition to Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Assemblymember Frazier was also reappointed to the Committees on Insurance, and Veterans Affairs, and was newly appointed to the Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services.

Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

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BART identifies funding to add over 800 parking spaces at the Antioch Station

Sunday, October 28th, 2018

eBART train at the Antioch BART Station. Photo by BART.

Construction would begin in fall of 2019 with the new lot opening in fall of 2020

With full funding identified, BART is moving ahead with plans to nearly double the amount of parking at the Antioch Station.

The station has been a tremendous success since opening in late May and that has pushed the demand for parking in Antioch far beyond the space available.

Antioch Station currently has 1006 parking stalls. Another 800-plus spaces will be added under this plan.

“The response to the extension has been overwhelmingly positive, except for criticism about the lack of parking,” says BART Director Joel Keller, who represents East Contra Costa County. “We’ve made it a priority to ensure that every rider has access to the new service which takes drivers off the congested Highway 4 corridor.”

The plan calls for converting a plot of BART-owned land just east of the current lot into more than 800 additional parking spaces. 

The current daily ridership for the Antioch Station is 3,050 while the forecasted ridership before its opening was 2,270 trips.

The proposed parking lot cost is $16.4 million. Funding sources include the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, BART, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the East Contra Costa Regional Fee and Financing Authority.

BART will now work on the environmental impact and design.

Approval by the BART Board is required with the plan expected to go before Directors in late 2018 or early 2019.

Construction would begin in fall of 2019 with the new lot opening in fall of 2020.

 

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Supervisors cut hangar, tie-down rates at Buchanan, Byron Airports to compete

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Photos courtesy of Contra Costa County.

Approve spending $41,000 for sideshow deterrence project

By Daniel Borsuk

Airplane tenants at the county’s two airports – Buchanan Field Airport and Byron Airport – will see hangar and tie-down rental rates decline as a result of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors concurring with an airports staff analysis that the rates charged at the two airports are non-competitive. The lower rates go into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

Supervisors voted 5-0 in approving the rate reductions at a meeting on Tuesday in Martinez.

Overall, the lower rates will mean the county will receive $65,514 less annual revenue for the Airport Enterprise Fund, the fund that financially operates the two airports.  Unlike other county departments or operations, the two airports are run as financially self-sustaining public use facilities in accordance with the Federal Aviation Administration.

A market survey County Director of Airports Keith Freitas and his staff conducted on the county airports’ regional competitors including Livermore, Hayward, Napa, Sonoma, Stockton, and Nut Tree showed that rates at the two Contra Costa County airports were “on the high end of the rate range.”

“To best position Buchanan Field and Byron Airports to be regionally competitive, the new hangar and tie-down rates have been lowered and they will adjust every three years instead of annually,” Freitas wrote in his report to the supervisors.  This will permit the Airports Division to “react and behave more like a business in order to successfully compete for marketplace in the region.”

There is currently a six-month wait for a hangar at the two airports, the airports director said and he would like to see that wait period decline even more over time.

The county’s tie-down rates are less than 40 percent occupied, the airports director’s report stated.

Pleasant Hill resident Tom Weber, who is not a pilot, supported the lower airport rates because “We need to be competitive. Our rates have been too high.”

Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood, who serves on the Airports Commission, foresees how the lower hangar and tie-down rates at the airports could potentially spark “so many opportunities” in the county.  She cited how the airports could be catalysts for “really good jobs for the Northern Waterfront,” an area currently undergoing an extensive county planning study for future development.

$41,000 Sideshow Deterrence Project OK’d

Without out any comment, supervisors approved a $41,000 anti-sideshow project at the intersection of Alhambra Valley Road and Bear Creek Road.  The supervisors approved the item on their consent agenda.

At the request of District 1 Supervisor John Gioia, who has received complaints from citizens about illegal sideshow activities (spinning circles and other illegal vehicular stunts) at the intersection, the county Public Works Department plans to take preventive action.

“The project consists of installing a series of 6-inch and/or 8-inch raised ceramic domes at the four approaches to the intersection,” Brian M. Balbas, Public Work Director/Chief Engineer wrote in this report to the board.

“The ceramic domes will be strategically placed along the centerline striping and in the shoulder areas.  The intent of the raised features is to provide a visual, auditory, and sensory deterrence, while minimizing the impact to most road users who follow the vehicle code.  The project will test if raised ceramic domes have intended deterrent effect on sideshow activities.”

But when the Contra Costa Herald contacted Balbas, the county public works chief wasn’t too optimistic that the ceramic domes will spoil the enthusiasm of the sideshow participants.  “They’ll find a way to either scrape them off or demolish the ceramic domes in order continue their sideshows,” he said.

Supervisors also heard Arthur Road resident Jonathan Katayanagi describe how sideshows and speeding cars have made his neighborhood dangerous for children and anyone living in the area.  Recently there was an auto accident on Arthur Road, sparking increased concerns about sideshows and dangerous auto stunts.  Katayanagi told the Herald perhaps his neighborhood should also get the ceramic dome street treatment like what Public Works will soon install at Alhambra Valley Road and Bear Creek Road.

Proclaim October Diaper Need Awareness Month

Supervisors unanimously proclaimed October as Diaper Need Awareness Month in Contra Costa County as part of a countywide effort to raise public awareness and action to donate diapers to diaper banks, diaper drives, and organizations that distribute diapers to families in need.

Supervisors acknowledged the works of Sweet Beginnings Family Resource Center for its work to be recognized as the 20th Diaper Bank in California and the work of SupplyBank.Org’s Diaper Kit Assistance that distributes 18,000 TalkReadSign branded diapers and 36,000 baby wipes per month through the Concord Women and Children (WIC) Program.

Citing how the high cost of diapers imposes a financial strain, especially on low income families, can account for 14 percent of a monthly budget.  Diapers can be purchased with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, but only 27 percent of families with children in poverty receive TANF benefits.

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Bus Service Goes to the Dogs – Guide Dog Training on Tri Delta Transit

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

The Eastern Contra Costa County Transit Authority (Tri Delta Transit) recently gave rides to more than a dozen furry-footed passengers learning to ride the bus. One by one, a procession of soon-to-be Guide Dogs boarded a 40-foot long Tri Delta Transit bus, to acclimate to a new surrounding. With tails eagerly wagging, they boarded ready for a new adventure. By the end of the trip, a valuable lesson was learned.

For several years, Tri Delta Transit CEO, Jeanne Krieg has opened her bus doors to assist Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc. “For years, this is a relationship we’ve fostered and something all of our staff embrace,” said Krieg. “Our drivers enthusiastically volunteer to drive the bus for this event and we usually have staff stick around to watch the dogs in action. We look forward to assisting Guide Dogs for the Blind for a long time to come.”

Getting used to the sights and sounds of the real world is a key part in Guide Dogs’ training. Inexperienced dogs might be intimidated by the size, noises and smell of the bus. However, acclimating the dogs to buses and trains is important because the blind depend so heavily on public transportation.

To train a Guide Dog, volunteers spend about 18 weeks teaching everything from obedience to acquainting them with the human world. From there it’s back to the Guide Dogs campus where professionals take over for another five to nine months, training the dogs to see for someone else. “These are truly amazing animals,” continued Ms. Krieg. “If we can play a small part in fulfilling their mission, we will continue to offer our vehicles and service for years to come.”

Tri Delta Transit provides over 3,000,000 trips each year to a population of over 250,000 residents in the 225 square miles of Eastern Contra Costa County. They currently operate 15 local bus routes Monday – Friday, 4 local bus routes on weekends, door-to-door bus service for senior citizens and people with disabilities, and shuttle services to community events.

For additional information about Tri Delta Transit, please visit www.trideltatransit.com.

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Final two lanes of Highway 4 (Bypass), Balfour Road interchange completed, now open

Saturday, July 21st, 2018

The two new southbound lanes of Highway 4 between Sand Creek and Balfour Roads in Brentwood opened today, Saturday, July 21, 2018.

Brentwood, CA – The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) has completed the first stage of construction on the Balfour Road Interchange Project, and has opened newly constructed lanes to the public as of Saturday morning. This major project milestone is part of a $42.7 million-dollar construction project to improve safety and efficiency at this busy intersection in Brentwood.

A traffic switch will occur this weekend that will move eastbound Highway 4 drivers onto the newly built, elevated alignment over Balfour Road. Additionally, eastbound Highway 4 motorists will be able to use newly constructed on and off-ramps. A new signal will be activated at the intersection of Balfour Road and the new off-ramp, and directional signage will be in place to help inform motorists.

“This is a big deal for Brentwood”, said Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor. “Balfour Road is a major intersection, and the opening of these new lanes bring us one step closer to making this a better, safer intersection for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.”

“Our goal is to help keep Contra Costa moving”, stated CCTA Executive Director Randy Iwasaki. “The Balfour Road Interchange Project is the final piece in the modernization of Highway 4 that our agency has led over the past eight years – and we are excited to be delivering on our promise to the public by bringing improved mobility to eastern Contra Costa County.”

The new Balfour Road on- and off-ramps from and to southbound Highway 4 opened today, Saturday, July 21, 2018.

“We purchased the right-of-way for the four lanes of traffic and two lines of transit down the center, 20 years ago, this year,” said Allen Payton, Chairman of the State Route 4 Bypass Authority in 1998. “Half of that section, of what was known as the Highway 4 Bypass, was paid for with local developer fees. The other half was to be paid for with state funds. But that commitment took years to be fulfilled. Special thanks go to Randy Iwasaki for helping secure the money from the state and to the CCTA for getting the project completed.”

A portion of the funds to complete the project were from Measure J, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation which is allocated by the CCTA. The effort for the project began in the early 1990’s and took until 1998 to get approval from the CCTA Board of Directors, without any financial commitment at that time.

Visualizations of the new eastbound on and off-ramps, as well as eastbound through traffic can be viewed online at:

https://youtu.be/2RU5o3CjcIs

https://youtu.be/2acw46W4AdI

https://youtu.be/saN5QOS9A4E

Traffic on westbound Highway 4 towards Antioch will remain on the same alignment and continue to operate without any changes at this time. The entire project is expected to be complete in late 2018 or early 2019.

About the Highway 4 Projects

The Highway 4 projects include improvements that will help modernize eastern Contra Costa County. The projects expand Highway 4 from four to eight lanes between Loveridge Road in Pittsburg to just west of State Route 160 in Antioch, from two to four lanes from Lone Tree Way to Balfour Road in Brentwood, add missing connector ramps at the State Route 160/Highway 4 interchange, and add a BART extension from Pittsburg to Antioch with a new stop in Pittsburg and Antioch. This will greatly improve transit accessibility for the region, help reduce traffic congestion, and enhance the quality of life for the more than 250,000 residents of eastern Contra Costa County. The projects have been carefully staged to keep 130,000 vehicles per day moving as major construction and demolition work continue. These projects, plus previously constructed projects in the region, bring the total investment in East County to $1.3 billion, including State, Federal, Contra Costa Transportation Authority Measures C and J, regional bridge tolls, and other funds. View the story of Highway 4 at http://4eastcounty.org/stories/

About the Contra Costa Transportation Authority

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is a public agency formed by Contra Costa voters in 1988 to manage the county’s transportation sales tax program and oversee countywide transportation planning efforts. With a staff of twenty people managing a multi-billion dollar suite of projects and programs, CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs that connect our communities, foster a strong economy, increase sustainability, and safely and efficiently get people where they need to go. CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to keep traffic levels manageable. More information about CCTA is available at ccta.net.

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