Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Vasco Road work to replace safety roadway delineators on May 17-18

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

The Contra Costa County Public Works Department will perform roadwork on Vasco Road from the Alameda County line north to Camino Diablo Road on May 17 and 18, 2017. The work will occur between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to replace roadway delineators. The purpose of the delineators and rumble strips is to increase driver awareness and safety when travelling through this commute corridor.

The work may be rescheduled based on weather conditions. Electronic message boards will alert drivers of the scheduled work. There will be traffic control through the work area and motorists can expect delays.

 

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Public input requested for new Countywide Bike and Pedestrian Plan

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s (CCTA) Countywide Bike and Pedestrian Plan outlines strategies that support pedestrian-friendly developments and encourages a connected, coordinated network of bicycle facilities. To help implement these strategies, CCTA adopted a Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan in 2003.  We updated the Plan in 2009, and are reaching out to the public to provide comments and ideas for the latest Plan update, which is currently underway.
Now the Countywide Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan is being updated for 2017 to help make walking and biking safer, more convenient, and more attractive in Contra Costa. The Plan will help harmonize local plans for bicycle and pedestrian networks in Contra Costa and help us better understand where and how often people walk and bicycle in the county.

We encourage you to visit the project website, KeepContraCostaMoving.net, today to take a short survey and use the interactive map to provide your comments and suggestions about the Countywide Bike and Pedestrian Plan. You can also learn more about upcoming events, the planning timeline, and opportunities to provide your ideas to the planning team. We will be hosting pop-up stations at community events and other popular locations throughout the County to gather input from residents and visitors.

The planning process will take place in phases over the course of the next year, with a final plan and environmental report scheduled for completion in the summer of 2018. We hope that you’ll stay tuned and check back on the website often to keep up to date on the planning process, explore draft documents, and provide your feedback and comments.

Let’s work together to make our community a safer and friendlier place to walk and bike. Visit KeepContraCostaMoving.net now.

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Antioch Council joins Oakley, Brentwood in endorsing cheaper, innovative rail line

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Rendering of a proposed CyberTran transit station. Courtesy CyberTran International, Inc.

Moves Sand Creek new home area forward; approves cameras for high-crime area of E. 18th Street and Cavallo Road

By Dave Roberts

The Antioch City Council on Tuesday joined the city councils in Oakley and Brentwood in endorsing an innovative rail transit system that could extend the East County eBART line through far East County at significantly less cost.

The ultra-light rail transit (ULRT) system by a private company, CyberTran International (whose investors include a company partially owned by Antioch Herald publisher Allen Payton), is seeking funding to demonstrate the viability of the system on a track in Richmond, and then to roll out the above ground line possibly in East County connecting the Hillcrest eBART Station to stations in Oakley, Brentwood, Discovery Bay and the Byron Airport.

The eBART line now under construction from the Bay Point BART Station with stations at Railroad Avenue in Pittsburg and Hillcrest in Antioch costs $56 million per mile, CyberTran President Dexter Vizinau told the council. His ULRT system would cost about $30 million per mile and have the advantages of providing more stations, perhaps at shopping centers, and provide cars that would go nonstop from any station along the line.

“The problem is that [traditional] transit is too costly to build, operate and maintain,” Vizinau said. “There is a $78 billion backlog in transit maintenance in the country. The only way to pay is to raise taxes. Something has to change and it has to be innovative. We believe we solve that problem.”

Vizinau cited the support of U.C. Berkeley, and the three national labs, in the development of the CyberTran system. He also held up a letter from the U.S. Department of Transportation stating the system was further along technologically than any other innovative transit system in the country.

Mayor Sean Wright noted that few Antioch residents are likely to use the system. “It doesn’t affect Antioch – we’re done and through,” he said. But it does have the potential of reducing traffic from far East County residents on Highway 4 through Antioch, which pleased Council Member Lori Ogorchock. “Anything to reduce traffic and congestion,” she said.

Vizinau said his company has been working on the project for 23 years and is ready to break ground. The main challenge is finding the funding. A 10-mile ULRT line from Hillcrest Station to Brentwood would cost about $300 million.

The company was set to receive $42.9 million from the county’s Measure X half-cent sales tax hike that fell three percentage points short of passing in November, he said. Another tax-hike attempt could be made in two years, he said.

The council unanimously voted to support the project and the company’s efforts to obtain funding, which was a bit of déjà vu as the Antioch Council passed a similar resolution of support seven years ago for the project. That effort was successful in obtaining $15 million in federal funds for innovative transit in the U.S. But, President Obama failed to release the funds before he left office in January, Vizinau said.

Sand Creek Focus Area

In other action, the council listened to concerns from residents opposed to the proposed Sand Creek Focus Area, which updates the city’s General Plan to accommodate as many as 4,000 homes on 2,781 acres surrounding Sand Creek in south Antioch. The area is bordered by homes on the north, Black Diamond Mines park on the west, the city limits on the south and Brentwood on the east.

Residents and environmental groups told the council that the proposal contains too many homes, not enough open space, that it will further burden local schools, roads and police services, and that there hasn’t been enough community input into the proposal.

Council members noted that the plan focuses on land use zoning, and that its approval is not equivalent to approval of actual residential development, which would have to be done separately. Over 1,200 homes have already been approved in the area.

The next step in the proposal is conducting environmental impact studies in the coming months, which would then be reviewed during a public hearing by the Planning Commission.

18th Street at Cavallo Road Cameras

The council also approved $156,412 to place police surveillance cameras at the intersection of East 18th Street and Cavallo Road, which has been the scene of a recent shooting.

Interim Police Chief Tammany Brooks said that installation of cameras in another high-crime area, the Sycamore corridor, in November have been effective. Council Member Tony Tiscareno, who lives near Sycamore, agreed that police sirens have become less frequent in recent months.

A resident who lives near Cavallo and 18th teared up as she thanked the council for putting in the cameras, saying she’s seen drug activity on that corner and that her husband witnessed a drive-by shooting.

Water Upgrade

The council members voted to spend nearly $3.3 million to eliminate use of ammonia and chlorine in the city’s water treatment plant. Those chemicals have been deemed hazardous and highly corrosive, according to Project Manager Scott Buenting.

Affordable  Housing Progress Report

The council also approved the filing of a state-mandated housing progress report. The state has mandated that it provide over the next six years an additional 1,448 housing units with 349 of them for very low-income households, 205 low-income units, 214 moderate-income units and 680 units for above moderate-income households.

Last year 42 building permits were issued – 41 of them for above moderate-income single-family homes and one for multifamily apartments providing 84 extremely low-income units. Ogorchock noted, “We’re not reaching the goals we’re supposed to be reaching.” The developer of a proposed 126-unit affordable housing project on Wilbur Avenue complained that city fees have made it too expensive for the project to go forward.

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Frazier touts hard work paying off as transportation bill, gas tax increase he co-authored, passes

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Sacramento, CA – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Discovery Bay) led his colleagues today, Friday, April 7, 2017 in passing Senate Bill 1 and Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 with the required two-thirds vote in both the Assembly and Senate. SB 1 now heads to the Governor for his approval and ACA 5 will head to the voters for their approval.

“Our roads are terrible, costing each person at least $760 in repairs, and the state was really just putting a Band-aid on a broken bone,” he said. “After two years of discussions and negotiations, passing SB 1 today is a testament to efforts to build a remarkable and diverse coalition to improve our transportation system that truly benefits everyone.”

SB 1 will resolve the long-term shortfall in transportation funding by provide new funding to make necessary road safety improvements and repair local streets, freeways, bridges, and overpasses. New revenues will generate on average $5 billion per year to improve efficiencies and effectiveness of transportation maintenance throughout the state. Roughly $3 billion annually will be allocated to fix roads, half of which will be directly allocated for local needs. The remaining $2 billion is split among other transportation-related programs.

Revenue sources for SB 1 include a 12 cent per gallon gas excise tax, ending the annual Board of Equalization adjustment, a 20 cent diesel excise tax, a 4% diesel sales tax increase, a per vehicle transportation improvement fee of no more than $50 for 87% of vehicles, a $100 fee on zero emissions vehicles, and $100 million gained in Caltrans efficiencies.

To ensure that these new revenues are allocated as intended, Frazier authored Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5. ACA 5 locks up transportation-related revenues from vehicle fees for use only for transportation maintenance and improvements, and prohibits use toward paying principal and interest on state transportation general obligation bonds.

An after-hours question was sent to his staff asking if Frazier had first considered reprioritizing existing state spending before pursuing tax increases. Please check back later for his response.

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Sen. Glazer explains vote against transportation bill, gas tax hike

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Cites failure to ensure reliable transit & ineffective use of funds

Senator Steve Glazer (D-Orinda) who represents Antioch and most of Contra Costa County in the California State Senate, issued the following statement today, regarding his vote against SB-1, the transportation funding bill which included a 12 cents per gallon gas tax increase, as well as increases to the Vehicle License Fee. He was the only Democrat in the Senate and only one of two in the entire legislature to vote no.

“I want to thank Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, Sen. Jim Beall and Gov. Jerry Brown for their hard work in addressing the problem of crumbling roads and aging transportation systems.

My constituents are particularly dependent on good roads and highways and reliable transit systems, so I agree we need additional transportation investments.

But this transportation package did not have the support of my district, for good reasons. Even after a multi-million dollar lobbying effort supporting the $52 billion bill, sentiment in my district ran two-to-one opposing these new gas taxes and car registration fees.

My constituents have told me loud and clear that they want any new taxes to be spent more wisely and effectively. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to spend billions of dollars on an unpopular High Speed Rail system that backers claim might be completed by 2029 when it could go for transportation improvements today.

Beyond the issues of setting better spending priorities and taxes, I also believed this bill could have been improved. We need to be more forward thinking, where we recognize the role technology can play in allowing us to use our roads and highways more efficiently.

And we need a plan that provides commuters with the confidence and assurance that reliable transit will be there for them every day of the year.

This bill also failed to ensure that any new transportation funding given to local transportation agencies be used only for the purposes intended and not diverted to other uses.

I was also concerned about last-minute amendments to this bill that the environmental community and air quality regulators say will unwisely limit our ability to control diesel pollution from trucks. These changes have never been fully vetted and deserve more scrutiny.

I look forward to continued discussions with the governor in which we take into account the need to modernize our approach to transportation in an efficient and reliable manner.”

The bill passed both the State Senate and Assembly and awaits the signature of Governor Brown. To learn more about the bill, click here.

 

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Storm Update: County preparing for next storm surge

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Morgan Territory Road open to local traffic only, expected to reopen Feb. 23; Alhambra Valley Road remains closed

Contra Costa County Public Works crews have been working steadily during the break in the rain to clear mud-covered roads and make repairs where flood and storm damage caused problems.  On Thursday, January 26, the Board of Supervisors ratified a proclamation of local emergency stemming from storm damage that took place during the first two weeks of January.  High winds coupled with continued rains over a short timeframe led to an estimated $18 million in damage in a number of unincorporated areas of the County, within our cities, and at water, park and sanitation district facilities.  The proclamation, along with the State’s declaration of a State of Emergency, will put the County and local jurisdictions in line for potential recovery funding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA,) and the State Office of Emergency Services have made site visits throughout the County.  It will take several months for the County, working with State and Federal authorities, to get a more firm total on the damages and what costs can be covered.

Two road closures are still in effect in Contra Costa County:

  • Morgan Territory Road is closed between Marsh Creek Road and Manning Road. The road is open to local traffic and emergency vehicles only and is anticipated to reopen to through traffic on Thursday, February 23.
  • Alhambra Valley Road between Bear Creek and Castro Ranch Roads is closed indefinitely.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors declared an emergency for the repair of Alhambra Valley Road washout and authorized the Public Works Director to proceed with emergency repairs. The emergency authorization allows the Public Works Department to expedite the repair of this road. The Board of Supervisors also adopted a new resolution to proclaim a local emergency arising out of the damage caused by the series of storms in January and February 2017. This allows the County to potentially seek funding relief for response and damage repairs for emergency responses to the continuing storms during this time period.

Alternate routes for closure of Alhambra Valley Road

With more rain expected late this week, this is a good time to prepare for the next wave, checking rain gutters and storm drains for blockage.  If you’re concerned about potential flooding at your home or business, it’s not too late to visit one of the sandbag stations located throughout the county.  Please note that you’ll need to bring a shovel, but bags and sand are available for free.   Find out details regarding County sandbag sites at www.cccounty.us/sandbags.

County Public Works Maintenance road crews maintain the storm drain inlets through a program of annual inspection and cleaning.  To report a clogged catch basin or drainage inlet please call the Public Works Maintenance Division at 925-313-7000 during work hours and after hours call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 925-646-2441.

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County road closure update: Morgan Territory Road expected to reopen Tuesday, Feb. 14

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Morgan Territory Road is closed between Marsh Creek Road and Manning Road. The road is open to local traffic and emergency vehicles only and is anticipated to reopen to through traffic on Tuesday, February 14.

Alhambra Valley Road west of Ferndale Road is restricted to one lane with stop signs installed due to the erosion of the road shoulder.

Alhambra Valley Road between Bear Creek Road and Castro Ranch Road remains closed indefinitely. Signs and message boards alert drivers of the closure. There is not an estimated time frame for reopening Alhambra Valley Road at this time.

The amount of rain received has saturated the soil which makes it more difficult to remove the mudslides and clean the roadways. Crews are monitoring County roads during the storms and additional closures may be necessary for public safety. The County will continue to provide updates as conditions change.

If you’re concerned about flooding at your home or business, it’s not too late to visit one of the free sandbag stations located throughout the county.  Please note that you’ll need to bring a shovel, but bags and sand are available for free.   Find out details regarding County sandbag sites at www.cccounty.us/sandbags.

County Public Works Maintenance road crews maintain the storm drain inlets through a program of annual inspection and cleaning. To report a clogged catch basin or drainage inlet please call the Public Works Maintenance Division at 925-313-7000 during work hours and after hours call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 925-646-2441.

 

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County road closure update: Morgan Territory Road expected to reopen Thursday

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

Morgan Territory Road is closed between Marsh Creek Road and Manning Road. The road is open to local traffic and emergency vehicles only and is anticipated to reopen to through traffic on Thursday, February 9.

Alhambra Valley Road between Bear Creek Road and Castro Ranch Roadremains closed indefinitely. Signs and message boards alert drivers of the closure. There is not an estimated timeframe for reopening Alhambra Valley Road at this time.

The amount of rain received has saturated the soil which makes it more difficult to remove the mudslides and clean the roadways. Crews are monitoring County roads during the storms and additional closures may be necessary for public safety. The County will continue to provide updates as conditions change.

If you’re concerned about flooding at your home or business, it’s not too late to visit one of the free sandbag stations located throughout the county.  Please note that you’ll need to bring a shovel, but bags and sand are available for free.   Find out details regarding County sandbag sites at www.cccounty.us/sandbags.

County Public Works Maintenance road crews maintain the storm drain inlets through a program of annual inspection and cleaning. To report a clogged catch basin or drainage inlet please call the Public Works Maintenance Division at 925-313-7000 during work hours and after hours call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 925-646-2441.

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