Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Antioch Council votes to support 2020 county transportation half-cent sales tax ballot measure, expenditure plan

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

$3.6 billion plan will provide $1 billion to East County, including an additional $1.6 million per year for local roads in Antioch

By Allen Payton

At their meeting on Tuesday night, Oct. 22, 2019, the Antioch City Council voted unanimously to support placing a second countywide, half-cent sales tax for transportation on the March 2020 ballot, as well as the associated expenditure plan. The measure is expected to generate $3.6 billion in revenue over the next 35 years. If passed, it will go into effect July 1, 2020 and will overlap the county’s current half-cent sales tax for transportation for 14 years. See plan, here: Draft 2020 Transportation Expenditure Plan

“We have support from all the cities in the county, except for Antioch and one other city. We still need two-thirds of the voters to approve the plan in order for it to take effect,” said Hisham Noeimi, Director of Programming for the Contra Costa Transportation Authority, who provided the presentation. “Despite our success our work is not done, yet. We still have four of the 10 most congested corridors in the Bay Area.” See presentation, here: 2020 Transportation Expenditure Plan Presentation

The other reason for the ballot measure is the housing jobs imbalance in the county, he explained.

“If we can bring jobs to housing rich areas, like Eastern Contra Costa County, that will help. We added 350,000 people over the last 20 years which has put strains on our transportation system. We expect to add another 350,000 people over the next 35 years.”

“The TEP (Transportation Expenditure Plan) attempts to provide the funding for all these needs…with a focus on green modes of transportation, like transit and bike, and growth management,” Noeimi continued.

The cost is estimated to be about $50 to $75 per household on average per year.

He said that $1.6 billion focused on major road improvements.

“The remaining $2 billion will be spent in your communities, coming back to the cities to improve your local streets, and improved transit services…to make it cleaner, more efficient,” Noeimi stated. “There is funding to attract jobs to East Contra Costa. There is also funding to improve air quality.”

“It was developed with sub-region equity in mind. So, for East County that’s about 28% of the $3.6 billion that will come back to East County.

“At the Authority we recognize we can’t widen our way out of the problem. That’s why funds will be spent on transit, what we call green transportation. Most of it will be spent along the major corridors in East County, Highway 4, 242, Vasco Road, the road to Byron Airport…” he said.

“Right now, Antioch receives $1.5 million per year for local roads and transportation. If it passes, the city will receive another $1.6 million per year,” Noeimi shared.

“With the TEP, over the next 35 years we will be able to reduce green house gas emissions by 7%. The TEP is more than funding. New policies include improving growth management, making transportation more efficient and our roads safer,” he concluded.

Councilman Lamar Thorpe asked about the Growth Management Plan asking, “Are you talking about the Urban Limit Line?”

“Yes,” Noeimi replied.

“I didn’t understand it this way, but would the county Urban Limit Line supersede our Urban Limit Line?” Thorpe asked.

No. Antioch has its own voter approved Urban Limit Line,’ Noeimi said, then referred to “hillside development. Ridgeline protection. If you have one of these conditions and have a policy to address them, then you mark the box.”

“We’re asking the cities to adopt a Vision Zero Policy, to make our streets safer for all users,” he added.

Thorpe responded, “So, again, getting people out of cars, getting them on bikes in a suburban community.”

TriDelta Transit will get $110 million out of the $392 million in the program, Noeimi shared

“You said something about the cities and a checklist. The return to source money…is conditioned upon the cities meeting their growth management plan. They have to submit a checklist to the CCTA every two years. That just carries that same procedure. If they don’t meet the checklist are the return to source funds withheld?” Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock asked.

“Yes,” Noeimi replied. “That hasn’t happened in the last 30 years.”

Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts asked about the ferry service to Antioch included in the plan.

“The funding can be used for WETA (the Bay Area’s Water Emergency Transportation Authority) or privately-run service, the landing platform,” Noeimi explained. “The money in Antioch could be used for that.”

Mayor Sean Wright then said, “The three-to-one leverage ratio is huge. The way that works, we use the money to start the planning process. Then we go out looking for…the state and federal funds. That’s what CCTA has been able to do.”

“Some of this money is coming back to East Contra Costa for economic development, trying to create jobs, here. A study has shown that if we were able to take 10% of the traffic on our freeways and reverse it…the Bay Area would go green, meaning our highways would no longer be red,” he stated.

Following the presentation, the council then considered the matter for a vote on a separate item on the agenda.

During public comments, Adam Alexander spoke in favor of the adoption of the TEP, saying, “As a training coordinator, representing the Carpenters Training Fund. I’m here to support the TEP…with the inclusion of the joint labor management apprenticeship training program.”

Antioch Police Crime Prevention Commissioner and recently announced city council candidate, Dwayne Eubanks spoke next.

“I want to speak out in support of this amendment…with the inclusion of a BART extension stop at Somersville,” he said. “Contra Loma Somersville is our core corridor. You have all that businesses there. Why don’t we have a stop there? Hillcrest isn’t the center of town. It’s probably too late. But I had to put that out there.”

The council then voted unanimously to approve the resolution supporting the half-cent sales tax Transportation Expenditure Plan and to place it on the March 2020 ballot.

 

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Supervisors prepare for PG&E power shutoff during Tuesday meeting

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors proclaimed October 6 through 12 as National 4-H Week throughout the county. Supervisors encouraged citizens to recognize 4-H for the “significant impact it has made and continues to make by empowering youth with the skills they need to lead for a lifetime.” 4-H has helped 3,159 youth in Contra Costa County to become leaders. The University of California Cooperative Extension delivers the program in California. National 4-H Week showcases the experiences that 4-H offers youth. Attending Tuesday’s resolution presentation were from left, West Contra Costa County 4H Director Jen Komaroni, Board Chair John Gioia of Richmond, District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover, eight year 4H member Delanie Sheridan, District 4 Supervisor Karen Mitchoff, seven year 4H member Brodie Emmons of Brentwood, fifth year 4H member Emily Tavers of Brentwood, Briones 4H Director Paula McCauley, District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis, Brentwood 4H Director Julie Carter, University of California Cooperative Extension Director for Alameda and Contra Costa Bob Bennaton and Vice Chair Candace Andersen. Photo by Daniel Borsuk

Approve MOU for Route 239 in East County to connect Brentwood to Tracy; $2.1 Million for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

By Daniel Borsuk

Potentially facing the first-ever utility-induced electric power shutdown in parts of Contra Costa County, members of the Board of Supervisors discharged a barrage of questions on Tuesday about the preparedness of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District in handling potential emergencies during what could be a power shutdown lasting several days.

At the end, Supervisors learned CCCFPD is ready to handle whatever might come down from a PG&E power shutdown.

Supervisors relayed their concerns about the CCCFPD’s fire emergency readiness at Tuesday’s fire district meeting where supervisors also serve as the fire district’s fiscal and policymaking entity.

PG&E revealed plans on Tuesday it would intentionally shut down power serving Rossmoor and parts of the Lafayette-Moraga-Orinda areas on Wednesday, due to high winds and concerns the winds could knock down power lines sparking a fire. The power shutoff could last through Friday or longer depending on weather conditions.

CCCFPD Chief Lewis Broschard III forecast one-third of Rossmoor or 4,000 to 5,000 residents could be potentially harmed by a power outage. Many elderly residents living in senior housing don’t have backup electric generators, he said.

“We’re looking at longer response times due to traffic tie ups,” the chief said. This will require having equipment and personnel strategically located ahead of potential emergencies.

Broschard acknowledged that the fire district has encountered a roadblock in obtaining state pre-position funding.

When Chief Broschard informed supervisors that the district’s newly built Fire Station 16 in Lafayette will be officially opened on Wednesday, Board Vice Chair Candace Andersen, whose District 2 covers most of the areas PG&E has identified will have power shut off observed “We might not have power tomorrow to dedicate the station.”

Chief Broschard said the district recently accepted delivery of its newest bulldozer, the district’s second bulldozer that will provide district extra firefighting power in what has been “a quiet fire season” up to this point in time.

In other business, supervisors unanimously approved their 2020 schedule consisting of 30 meetings. Vice Chair Candace Andersen of Danville has already been elected chair for next year and District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood has been elected vice chair for 2020.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors designated the second week of October as Code Enforcement Officer Appreciation Week in Contra Costa County on Tuesday. Supervisors recognized the work and dedication of code enforcement officers, of which there are five in the county. “You’re our unsung heroes<” said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff who acknowledged “We’ve recently have had some problems in the Pleasant Hill Barea area.” Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg remarked “The work you do is unappreciated. That’s mostly because the cases are complaint driven.” The supervisors’ resolution states “Contra Costa County wants to recognize and honor our Code Enforcement Officers that serve our community and acknowledge their role in leading the way to improve quality of life within our communities.” Photo by Daniel Borsuk

Supervisors also approved as consent items:

MOU for Route 239 in East County

An amended and restated Memorandum of Understanding between the county and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority concerning the development and federal funding for State Route 239 Project in the Byron area. There were no public speakers concerning the $17.6 million project, $14 million in federal funding and $3.6 million in Local Road Fund.

$2.1 Million for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Supervisors approved a $2,099,274 contract for the California Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for the period of Oct. 1, 2019 through June 30, 2021. The grant is funded with federal money through the California Department of Community Services and Development.

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Two streets in Antioch’s northeast industrial area to close to public beginning Thursday

Tuesday, September 17th, 2019

By Antioch Police Department

Effective Thursday, September 19, 2019 both Wilbur Lane and Wymore Way will be closed to through traffic. Wilbur Lane will only have gated access to the warehouse complex and businesses from the Wilbur Lane side, and Wymore Way is to be closed permanently.

“It’s being done by the property owners to help prevent crime from occurring in the complex,” said Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks.

“Wilbur Lane and Wymore are both private streets,” added City Manager Ron Bernal.

This has long been a popular thoroughfare for persons getting from East 18th Street to Wilbur Avenue. Due to this closure, everyone is cautioned and should now use alternate routes between these two roadways. Alternate routes include A Street, Cavallo Road, Hillcrest Avenue, and Viera Avenue. The highlighted areas in green show alternate routes and the red show the closed roadways. Please see the map above.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Weekend BART delays between Orinda and Walnut Creek 8/17-18, bus bridge, and Highway 24 lane closures

Friday, August 9th, 2019

There will be no single-tracking or track closures due to this project for the weekend of August 10-11.  However, there will be overnight lane closures on eastbound Highway 24 near the Lafayette Station.  You can get more details here. The first weekend track shutdown between Orinda and Walnut Creek stations is scheduled for the weekend of August 17-18.

We are making extensive repairs and upgrades to the track between Orinda and Walnut Creek stations on most weekends through October, including some upcoming full weekend closures with bus bridges.   Using Measure RR funds, we’ll be replacing track and electrical equipment, installing new switches, improving station platforms, and making other repairs and improvements to provide more reliable, safer, quieter, smoother and faster service.

Closure weekends: 8/17-18, 8/31-9/2 (Labor Day Weekend), 9/14-15, 9/28-29, 10/12-13, 10/26-27

Riders should expect delays of 40 minutes or more on closure weekends.

County Connection and AC Transit will provide free shuttle bus services:

  1.    Direct service between Orinda and Walnut Creek
  2.   Service between Orinda, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek stations.

Single-Tracking
Single-tracking on some Saturdays will mean delays of up to 30 minutes. Please plan your trip with that in mind. We will single-track on 7/27, 8/3, 8/24, 9/7, 9/21, and 10/19.  We may need to turn back some trains at Orinda to maintain our schedule. If so, you will be asked to leave the train you are on and board a different train to reach your destination.

Highway 24 Lane Closures

On select weekends including single-tracking Saturdays, we plan to close the two eastbound lanes on the far-left side of Highway 24 near the Lafayette Station and Oak Hill Road to allow equipment and material to be placed near and in our tracks. The next lane closure is scheduled for 11 pm Friday August 9 and will continue until 7 am Saturday August 10.  The two eastbound lanes of 24 will also be closed Saturday August 10 at 11pm until 9 am Sunday August 11.

Lane closures for single-tracking Saturdays will only happen during overnight hours from 11 pm Friday to 7 am Saturday and 11pm Saturday to 9 am Sunday.  All lane closures will happen near the Lafayette Station at Oak Hill Road.

Night Work

We will also do work at night after service closes on weeknights through at least the end of October.

Sunday single tracking in San Francisco

On select Sundays through the rest of this year, there will be single-track service between the Embarcadero and 24th Street Mission stations in downtown San Francisco due to electrical cabling replacement work.  This replacement project is critical to ensure our trains can count on a reliable power supply. The work can add 15-30 minutes to your trip. Get the latest on this project here.

Use the Trip Planner, call the BART Transit Information Center at (510) 465-BART (2278), or get the Official BART app to plan your trip.

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Please tell CCTA: East County needs freeway from Brentwood to Tracy for long term economic growth

Monday, August 5th, 2019

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority is holding Telephone Town Hall Meetings to inform the public of the Initial Draft 2020 Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP) and get their input before finalizing the plan and placing another tax measure on the March 2020 ballot to fund it. The meeting for East County will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 8 (see previous post on this website, below)

The plan (www.ccta.net/theplan) currently has a total price tag of $3.061 billion and the tax is in addition to the county’s current half-cent sales tax for transportation from Measure J, which voters approved in 2004 and expires in 2034. The new tax would last until 2050. The CCTA attempted to pass a similar additional half-cent sales tax in 2016, known as Measure X, but it failed. The only new section of roadway in the entire county in that plan was the $117 million “limited access” connector between Vasco Road and the Byron Highway, next to the Byron Airport. Voters overwhelmingly voted against the measure and it failed.

Fortunately, that project was included in the Regional Measure 3 expenditure plan which did pass. But, RM3 didn’t include the long-planned Route 239, the proposed four-lane freeway between Brentwood and Tracy, which will connect East County to Interstate 5, the economic lifeblood artery of the state.

That road has been on the books for over 60 years. But, planning for it only began in 2013 as part of what was known as the TriLink Project, as it crossed the three counties of Contra Costa, San Joaquin and a sliver of Alameda, and was to also include two lines of transit down the middle, connecting the end of the BART line in East County to Tracy.

However, the TriLink Project website is no longer active and neither the four-lane freeway nor the transit lines are included in Contra Costa County’s plans for the next 30 years.

Yet, it’s Route 239 that will ensure East County’s long-term economic viability, allowing current businesses, including agriculture, to get their products to market quicker. Plus, it will open up our area for greater local job creation, and complete what I refer to as the beltway around Mt. Diablo, eliminating the cul-de-sac effect with the three two-lane roads connecting us to the east and south.

Antioch and East County have the freight rail connecting us to the east and west, plus the river connecting us to the world, to move goods. But we only have Highway 4 and BART connecting us to the west for moving people and goods.

Central County folks oppose Route 239 saying it will “induce growth in East County.” But they’ve been saying that for almost 50 years about every new road improvement, including the Hwy 4 Bypass/extension, which we had to fight for over four years from 1994-98 to just get approvals, not any money. In fact, it was that same mindset that prevented Hwy 24 from being extended to East County back in the 1970’s and the result is a surface road with the three names of Ygnacio Valley Road, Kirker Pass and Railroad Avenue, today.

I grew up in Walnut Creek and moved to Antioch because it was more affordable. In fact out of all us who attended the 35th reunion of the Northgate High School Class of ’81 in 2016, only four classmates still lived in Walnut Creek. Where did many move to? East County. So, as I said to my fellow elected officials when I was on a panel during a transportation conference back in the late 1990’s when I was serving on the Antioch City Council and Contra Costa Transportation Authority, don’t blame us for the growth. They had kids and we needed somewhere to live that we could afford. That was East County we were pushing for funding and approvals for Highway 4 widening and the Highway 4 bypass/extension. We received it and those projects are now completed.

It’s time we completed the transportation infrastructure in East County and Route 239 is a key part of it.

Besides, that road won’t induce residential growth. We have the Urban Limit Line to control that. But it will induce economic growth with more local jobs, which is what East County needs.

We need both Route 239 and the transit link between Antioch and Tracy. But, for now, let’s push for funds for the freeway to be included in the county’s new plan. Estimates are it will cost an additional $1 billion. I say add it to the total and let the voters decide.

We need bold leadership from our local elected officials and the voice of “we the people” to make it happen.

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Transportation authority to hold Telephone Tall Hall meeting for public input on tax measure Wed., Aug. 8

Monday, August 5th, 2019

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Supervisors seek members for Independent Oversight Committee for the Regional Measure 3 bridge toll increase

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

In 2018, voters passed Regional Measure 3 (RM3) which increased bridge tolls in the Bay Area and also established an Independent Oversight Committee. Each of 9 Bay Area counties appoint two members to the Committee. The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors is seeking two members of the public to serve.

The RM3 Independent Oversight Committee (oversight committee) will be established by the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) pursuant to Senate Bill 595 (which placed RM 3 on the ballot). The purpose of the Oversight Committee is to ensure that any toll revenues generated pursuant to the RM3 toll increase are expended consistent with the applicable requirements of the RM3 expenditure plan set forth in Streets and Highways Code Section 30914.7. The Oversight Committee shall annually review the expenditure of funds by BATA for the projects and programs specified in Section 30914.7 and prepare and submit a report to the transportation committee of each house of the Legislature summarizing its findings.

An individual interested in serving on the Committee must be a resident of Contra Costa County and meet the Streets and Highways Code Section 30923 (h) (3) restrictions below:

  • A representative appointed to the oversight committee shall not be a member, former member, staff, or former staff of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) or BATA.
  • A representative appointed to the oversight committee shall not be employed by any organization or person that has received or is receiving funding from MTC or BATA.
  • A representative appointed to the oversight committee shall not be a former employee or a person who has contracted with any organization or person that has received or is receiving funding from MTC or BATA within one year of having worked for or contracted with that organization or person.

The RM3 Oversight Committee is subject to open public meetings (The Brown Act). Meeting dates, frequency, and length of meetings will be established by the members of the committee. The location of meetings will be in San Francisco at the Bay Area Metro Center. BATA anticipates a stipend to members for meeting attendance. The term length for representatives is four years, and each representative is limited to two terms.

Applications are available online at https://www.contracosta.ca.gov/3418 or by contacting the Clerk of the Board’s Office at (925) 335-1900 or clerkoftheboard@cob.cccounty.us. Completed applications are due by 5 PM on August 9, 2019, and may be completed and submitted online, emailed to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, mailed or submitted to 651 Pine Street, Room 106, Martinez, CA 94553.

 

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Transportation authority awarded $755,000 to plan future transit between Antioch and Brentwood

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

CalTrans Sustainable Communities Planning Grant

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) won a Caltrans SB1 Sustainable Communities Planning Grant valued at $755,000 to support a study that will evaluate new transit options between the cities of Antioch and Brentwood in East Contra Costa County.

The East County Integrated Transit Study will guide the development of a plan for providing fast, frequent, high-capacity transit connections between Antioch and Brentwood that will directly integrate with existing local and regional services such as the Antioch BART station and Tri Delta Transit local bus service. The study will also look at improving connections to Capitol Corridor and ACE rail services, as well as proposed future ferry service between Antioch and Martinez. As part of its commitment to sustainable communities, CCTA will focus on new, zero-emission public transit options for potential outcomes of the study.

“Now that Highway 4 has been modernized to improve access to Eastern Contra Costa, I am pleased that we were successful in obtaining these funds to plan for a future that provides more transportation options to support economic growth and mobility for our residents,” says California Assemblymember Jim Frazier.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to harness new transit technology that can integrate with existing systems to create a smart, efficient network that easily connects people to their desired destinations,” explains CCTA Executive Director Randell Iwasaki. “This grant will enable us to expedite a much-needed study that will guide valuable transit improvements for Eastern Contra Costa County.”

“CCTA is a forward-looking organization,” states Bob Taylor, Mayor of Brentwood and Contra Costa Transportation Authority Board Chair. “I’ve always predicted a bright future for Eastern Contra Costa County and this grant win lays the foundation for the communities along Highway 4 to connect, grow, and prosper.”

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