Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Payton Perspective: Let’s look toward a brighter future and offer constructive input for Antioch’s rebranding effort

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018

Aspire, Achieve and Acquire in Antioch to reach your goals and fulfill your dreams.

By Allen Payton, Publisher

If you haven’t heard already, the City of Antioch hired a consulting firm to help rebrand the city, in an effort to overcome the negative views and stereotypes that others outside and even some of our own residents inside Antioch have of our community.

For full disclosure, I formed an advertising, marketing and branding agency, last year, and brought on a team of five other local business owners who are professionals in branding, graphic design, websites and social media, and event planning. We put in a bid, but it was not accepted.

While I was critical of one of the five “Big Ideas” by the consultant mentioned in their proposal to the city, I’ve been willing to give them a chance and spent two hours with them, a week ago Friday, sharing my concerns and ideas, and an overview of the assets we have in the community, as well as some of Antioch’s rich history, upon which I believe they can build a new brand.

Rich History

First, I told them that a bit about our rich history. Antioch is the oldest city in the county, having been established as Smith’s Landing in 1849, renamed Antioch in 1851 at the July 4th picnic, and then incorporated in 1872. The number one reason the city was formed was for public safety. I have a copy of the incorporation papers in my office declaring that.

Clean & Safe

Second, I shared that the city needs to focus on two things, initially – clean and safe. That’s the same thing I learned that cities focused on, specifically with their downtowns, back when I was on the council from 1994-998. So, this is nothing new. It just needs to happen and quicker.

I pointed out the obvious, that we must get our crime under control – which according to Chief Brooks’ latest reports is happening – we won’t be able to attract the kind of businesses and employers to our city, nor will the upscale homes be built in the Sand Creek area, which are needed for Antioch’s long-term economic and financial success. In order to accomplish that the City Council must regain faith with the public and get us the 22 more sworn police officers we were promised if we passed Measure C and be honest with us by using the correct base figure of 89 officers, which were in the budget and on the force, before the measure was passed, for a total of 111 officers, not the 82 officers we had after it passed for a total of 104.

We need the council to direct City Manager Ron Bernal and Chief Brooks to “hire more cops, faster” and “a cop a week is all we ask.”

The city council and staff also need to crack down on the litter, including the shopping centers and require them to keep it picked up. People, please put your trash in the trash can and remind others to do the same. Also, keep your yard clean and maintained and show some pride of place, please.

Finally, the city council and staff must work with the county and local churches and charities to solve the homeless problem. We need them to get Supervisors Glover and Burgis who represent portions of our city, to bring more services out here to Antioch and East County where the need has grown over the past several years, instead of continuing to focus so much of the resources on West County.

City’s Assets

Third, I pointed out that we have a lot of assets that other cities don’t have. We have the river and waterfront, with access to the deep-water channel that serves the Port of Stockton. That port is currently doing $2 billion in annual business. According to the late, former Pittsburg Economic Development Director, Brad Nail, Antioch has a greater potential for a deep-water port than Pittsburg has. We need to build one in the Wilbur Avenue corridor to create the well-paying, industrial jobs for our residents.

That also allows for recreation, with boating on the river, with the marina and two boat launches. I shared that we need to develop a big boat berth marina either at G Street or at the old Tommy’s Harbor near Rodgers Point and The Red Caboose on Fulton Shipyard Road, on the east end of downtown, to attract boaters with money who will stop and enjoy lunch and shopping during a day on the Delta.

We also have our historic, downtown Rivertown which has so much potential. I suggested to them the idea of creating a Pier 39-type boardwalk on the water, running along the waterfront from the fishing pier next to the Riverview Lodge all the way to E Street, near the Old Lumber Company Building, to help attract more people to downtown. Plus, the renaming of L Street to Marina Way and A and West Second Streets to Rivertown Drive and West Rivertown Drive for permanent marketing of Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown (as has been in the city’s plans since the 1996 Economic Development Plan was adopted), especially now that Smith’s Landing Seafood Grill is getting ready to open at the former Humphrey’s location. That’s the best location on the Delta for dining.

We also have the rail line running through the north side of our city, bringing goods and people in and out of our city from the Port of Oakland, across the country. We need to take greater advantage of that.

We have Highway 4 widened to Antioch, and the section between Sand Creek Road and Balfour Road (of what used to be referred to as the Bypass) about to be completed.

Of course, we also now have the BART extension and station in Antioch. That opens up all kinds of economic development opportunity, surrounding and near the station.

We have empty commercial buildings for businesses to locate in and we have land, specifically the 200 acres that were set aside 20 years ago, this year, in the Laurel Road/Highway 4 interchange area for commercial development and employment. Slatten Ranch Road will bisect the property and connect Slatten Ranch Shopping Center and the Antioch BART Station to Laurel Road. That will begin construction once the homes on the other side of the freeway begin being built and paying the developer fee for the new road.

Another asset Antioch has is our immediate access to the adjacent, permanent, publicly owned open space of the East Bay Regional Park District with the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and soon the 900 acres of the Deer Valley open space where the Roddy Ranch Golf Course was located, and the surrounding new home development was planned.

Location & Transportation – The Jobs Highway

I also told the consultants that if you look at the map, Antioch is at the center of Northern California commerce. The only problem is we really can’t get there from here.

What we need is the connection out the back door to East County, which is the long-planned, four-lane Route 239 freeway between Brentwood and Tracy. Mayor Sean Wright refers to it as the “Jobs Highway” as it will connect us to Interstate 5, the lifeblood economic artery of the state. The total project, which has been referred to as the TriLink, also includes two lines of transit down the center, which will help connect the Antioch BART Station and the proposed Brentwood BART Station near Sand Creek Road, to Discovery Bay, Byron, Byron Airport, Mountain House, Tracy and back to Livermore and ultimately to the Pleasanton BART Station. The price for the TriLink is pegged at $1 billion.

But at the recent East County Transportation Summit two lower cost alternatives were discussed, including adding two lanes to the current Byron Highway/J-4 at a cost of just $200 million.

Branding –Aspire, Achieve, Acquire

Finally, I shared with the consultants some of my ideas for branding Antioch, that my team was going to pitch the city. First, I shared with them the acronym I used for my five-part economic development strategy, when running for city council in 1994 – B.R.E.A.D. for Business Retention, Expansion, Attraction & Development. The city needs to do what’s necessary to retain current businesses, allow them to expand, attract businesses to our city, and allow for the development of new businesses in our city. That puts bread on our tables, “bread” (the old slang word for money) in our pockets and “bread” in the city’s coffers with more sales and property tax revenue, to pay for more services.

I suggested we get away from the old city slogan, “Gateway to the Delta” because we want to be a place to come to, not somewhere to drive through or stop by on your way to somewhere else. I suggested we be known as the Jewel or Diamond of the Delta, and to become the Sausalito of the Delta.

I like alliteration, so I suggested using inspiring, uplifting, positive words to describe us beginning with the letter “A” of “Antioch Aspires” and “Antioch Achieves”. Or, Aspire in Antioch, Achieve in Antioch, Aquire in Antioch, as messages we can send to businesses we can attract to locate here. Antioch aspires for and desires to achieve greatness. If you want to locate a business here, you can acquire land or an existing building, aspire to and achieve greatness for your company.

I also thought of another word that begins with “A” that made me laugh, as it reminded me of that movie, The Big Lebowski, in which Jeff Bridges’ character is known as “The Dude” and had the saying “The Dude Abides”. That would be “Antioch Abides” or “Abide in Antioch”. Or maybe not. LOL

Actually, it’s because we can no longer abide the negative views of Antioch and the problems we face, that we must improve our city and rebrand it.

So, we need to let our people, the Bay Area and the rest of the world know that “you can aspire, acquire and achieve in Antioch to reach your goals and fulfill your dreams.”

That’s my input in an attempt to edify our community, focus on the positive and offer a future vision that I believe most of us want.

My encouragement to you is rather than be negative and point out all the things you don’t like about Antioch – while not being pollyannish and ignoring reality – please, focus on the kind of city you want Antioch to become and offer your constructive input to the consultants.

Residents are invited either to fill out a brief survey at https://tinyurl.com/antioch-brand or to email brandingantioch@ci.antioch.ca.us.

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Assemblymember Grayson announces state funding for I-680/SR 4 Interchange improvements

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Interstate 680 / Highway 4 Interchange. From CCTA.net

Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord) announced that the California Transportation Commission (CTC) has approved $34 million in funding for improvements of the Interstate 680 / State Route 4 highway interchange in Concord, one of the most congested freeway interchanges in the Bay Area.

“Anyone who has driven in the East Bay knows this interchange is notorious for gridlock, which is why I have been working for more than a year with the CTC, Department of Transportation, and Contra Costa Transportation Authority to secure the funding needed to get this project started,” Grayson said. “As a critical artery for the region, it is incumbent on us to ensure the conditions of this interchange are improved so commuters are able to navigate this interchange without the additional stress caused by standstill traffic and bottlenecks. I applaud the CTC for funding this project so that the people of my district, and the East Bay Area, will be able to spend less time sitting in traffic and more time at home with their families.”

The I-680/SR4 Interchange connects a major north-south thoroughfare for Solano, Contra Costa, and Alameda Counties with the main east-west artery for Contra Costa County. In its review, the Commission concluded the existing I-680/SR 4 interchange has deficiencies that contribute to heavy traffic congestion and inefficient traffic operations. This project, one of several phases of improvements planned by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority for Highway 4, will construct almost 10 miles of new traffic lanes to ease congestion and will retrofit bridges to meet seismic standards as well as extend on-ramps to improve traffic safety. CCTA was awarded the funding through the CTC’s competitive Local Partnership Program.

Grayson represents the 14th Assembly District that includes the communities of Benicia, Concord, Clayton, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Vallejo, Pittsburg and Walnut Creek. For more information please visit the Assemblymember’s website, www.assembly.ca.gov/a14.

 

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County Public Works to make public safety repairs on Marsh Creek Road Feb. 12 – Mar. 1

Monday, February 12th, 2018

The Contra Costa County Public Works Department will perform work on Marsh Creek Road from Camino Diablo to the Clayton City limits, from February 12 through March 1, 2018. The work will occur between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m to trim back trees and vegetation along the road edge and make spot shoulder repairs.

The purpose of this work is to increase driver visibility, awareness and public safety. 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.

About Contra Costa County Public Works Department:

Contra Costa County Public Works Department (CCCPWD) maintains over 660 miles of roads, 150 miles of streams, channels and other drainage and over 200 County buildings throughout Contra Costa County.   CCCPWD provides services such as Parks and Recreation, Sand Bag Distribution and Flood Control throughout unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County.  For more information about CCCPWD, please visit us here.

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Work to be done on Kirker Pass Road Jan. 24 & 25

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

The Contra Costa County Public Works Department will perform roadwork on Kirker Pass Road at the intersection of Hess Road (south) on Wednesday and Thursday, January 24 and 25, 2018, weather permitting, to replace the center-divide crash cushion system. 

Traffic will be controlled with temporary single-lane closures reducing the two lanes to a single lane in both directions.  Turning left from Kirker Pass Road (southbound) onto Hess Road will not be permitted during the work.  The lane closures will occur between the hours of 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.  Changeable message sign boards and other construction signs will be placed in advance of the work.      

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Parking Permits for Antioch BART Station available Jan. 16

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

Screenshot of the Antioch BART Station animation. From BART.gov

New fare information available now

 

By Allen Payton

According to the BART website’s East County Extension page, parking permits for the new Antioch Station which is planned to open in May along with the Pittsburg Center Station, will be available for purchase beginning January 16. According to BART Director Joel Keller there will be 1,000 parking spaces and about 124 reserved spaces available. However, he said the reserved permits don’t get you a specific spot, just one of the reserved parking spots in the lot.

1/5/18 UPDATE: On Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 11 AM, BART will open up the waitlist for passengers that would like to sign up to reserve a monthly permit, which guarantees a parking space until 10am each weekday. There will be a limited number of these permits available and they will be available on a first-come/first-served basis. The cost for the monthly permit will be $105 per month. You will only be charged for the permit if you are offered one and not until the extension officially opens. You may sign up to join when the waitlist at www.Select-a-Spot.com any time after January 16, 2018 at 11am. This website is also available through a link on the www.BART.gov/Parking webpage.

Monthly reserved permits will only be available at the Antioch Station. The Pittsburg Center Station will not offer any reserved parking permits, due to a limited number of parking spaces at the station.

There will be other parking options available as well:

Daily Fee Parking

Both stations will offer daily unreserved parking for a fee of $3. This parking is first-come/first-served in any marked “Fee” lot. Look at signs to the entrance to each section of the lot to determine if it is a “Fee” or “Permit” area. After 10am, any unused Permit spaces are open to all parkers for the Daily Fee.

Permit Parking

The Antioch Station will offer “Permit” parking. Customers with permits will be allowed to park in the designated areas of the parking lot. Permit spaces are available until 10am each weekday morning. After 10am all unused Permit spaces are available to anyone for the Daily Fee. All permits will be available on the www.Select-a-Spot.com website. There also will be a link to that website on www.BART.gov/Parking

Types of Permits:

  • Single Day reserved permits will cost $6 a day.
  • Airport/Long-Term Permits will cost $7 a day.
  • Monthly reserved parking permits will cost $105

New Fares

The BART Board adopted the parking fees and fares at the December 7, 2017 board meeting.

BART is applying its existing distance-based fare structure to calculate fares for the new service.  For the 9.1-mile trip between Pittsburg Bay/Bay Point and Antioch Station, the Clipper fare will be $2.00 (starting Jan 1, 2018 there will be a $.50 surcharge on all paper ticket trips).  All BART discount programs will be applied to these fares.

The table below shows 2018 BART to Antioch sample fares using the adult Clipper card, a fare paid for with a paper ticket will be an additional 50 cents.To view the animation of the Antioch BART Station, click here. To view the animation of the Pittsburg Center BART Station, click here.

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New carpool “Scoop” app pays you $2 for any trip to or from Contra Costa

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Between the 12-cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax and being able to earn $2 credit each trip, there’s never been a better time to trade your solo commute for a shared ride. Whether you fill an empty seat in your car or catch a ride as a passenger, carpooling is a great way to save money.

Thanks to a partnership between 511 Contra Costa and Scoop, when you use the Scoop app to match with another commuter for your ride to work, you get a $2 credit. As long as your trip starts or ends in Contra Costa, each person in the carpool will receive a $2 credit. Passengers will see the credit automatically applied to their trip, while drivers can cash out the credits they earn.

If you commute to Concord, Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre or Dublin/Pleasanton BART using Scoop, you also get guaranteed parking! (Passengers: use the code CCTA05 to get an additional $5 in Scoop credit – the combined $7 in credit covers the cost of most first rides.)

As part of a carpool, you’ll have access to the HOV lanes and can use the I-680 and I-580 Express Lanes toll-free. (Note: If you’re crossing the Bay Bridge, the Scoop app will match you with two other commuters so you can use the HOV lanes.) If you’re driving to Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre BART, Concord BART or Dublin/Pleasanton BART Stations you’re also guaranteed parking if you arrive before 10am and parking is free.

It’s time to give sharing the ride to work a try.

Earning the $2 credit is easy:

1. Download the Scoop app

2. Enter your account information

3. Use the Scoop app to carpool

$5 SCOOP CREDIT: Enter the code CCTA05 in the Scoop app to get a $5 credit towards your first ride.

To download the Scoop app and get a $5 first-time rider credit, visit our Scoop Special Offer page.

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Get on the bus – for free! Tri Delta Transit celebrates 40 years of service with free rides

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

Only on specific routes, every weekend in November

ANTIOCH, CA – 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of local public transportation in Eastern Contra Costa County provided by Tri Delta Transit. To celebrate, the agency will be providing free rides on all weekend routes, every weekend in November.

“This will include Thanksgiving Day and the day after,” added Marketing Director Mike Furnary. “Free rides will be available on routes 392, 393, 394, and 395. No special coupon will be necessary to receive free rides. Customers simply can board any bus on the weekend and their ride will be free.”

Few services have had such an impact on our community as the introduction of Tri Delta Transit.

“Our system plays an integral role in keeping our community moving,” said agency CEO, Jeanne Krieg. “When you consider that this agency literally started as a kitchen-table-discussion in the home of long-time board member Barbara Guise, and we have grown to provide more than 3,000,000 rides each year, it is a true symbol of our community’s perseverance.”

Tri Delta Transit began service in 1977 with only two limited-service bus routes, operated by AC Transit. Since then, service has grown to 18 bus routes including express service to BART and paratransit services for seniors and disabled. Service is provided 365 days a year.

“We are excited to share our accomplishment with our customers and thank them for their support over the last 40 years” Krieg continued. “However, as important as it is to acknowledge our history, we are equally excited about our future and our commitment to our customers.”

Tri Delta Transit recently grew again, adding another weekday route in downtown Pittsburg.  New Route 381 began service September 25 and travels between the Pittsburg Marina, through downtown Pittsburg, to Los Medanos College.

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 operate 14 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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Gov. gives Bay Area voters chance to increase bridge tolls by $3 to fund transportation on next year’s ballot

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

The setting sun reflects off of the Carquinez Bridge’s towers. This bridge project was funded through Regional Measure 1. Photo courtesy of MTC.

Some of the $4.5 billion in projects would benefit Antioch, East County

By Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Governor Brown’s action today to sign into law Senate Bill 595 clears the way for Bay Area voters to decide – potentially as early as next June – on Regional Measure 3 (RM 3), which would raise tolls by up to $3 on the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges to finance the sweeping $4.5 billion package of congestion relief and mobility improvement projects identified in the bill. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in its role as the Bay Area Toll Authority, is expected to decide by early 2018 when the RM 3 question will appear on ballots in the nine Bay Area counties. The Commission also will decide the amount of the proposed toll increase and whether the proposed increase would be instituted all at once or phased in over several years.

The RM 3 expenditure plan provides mobility improvements in each of the region’s seven state- owned bridge corridors, helping to speed up commutes and provide better travel options, particularly for those traveling to major job hubs, such as San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The plan includes numerous congestion relief projects in the bridge corridors, including new express lanes, a direct freeway connector from northbound U.S. 101 to eastbound Interstate 580 in Marin County to improve access to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge as well as improvements to the westbound approach in Contra Costa County; constructing a direct connector between Interstates 680 and 880 in Fremont and improvements to the I-680/State Route 84 interchange in Alameda County serving the Dumbarton Bridge; upgrading the I-680/State Route 4 interchange in Contra Costa County serving the Benicia Bridge corridor and the U.S. 101/State Route 92 interchange in San Mateo serving the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge; various improvements to relieve congestion in the Dumbarton Bridge corridor and improve State Route 37 in Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties; completing the widening of U.S. 101 to three lanes in each direction through the Marin-Sonoma Narrows. Major public transit improvements that would be funded by the measure include 306 new BART cars that will expand the fleet to accommodate record ridership; new ferries and expanded service and terminals across San Francisco Bay; further extension of BART’s Silicon Valley service to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara; extending Caltrain to downtown San Francisco; expanding transbay bus service and AC Transit’s bus rapid transit lines serving the transbay corridor; extending the new SMART rail system to Windsor; and expanding San Francisco’s fleet of Muni Metro rail cars to improve transit access not just to San Francisco, but within it as well. RM 3 also would fund a $150 million grant program to improve bicycle and pedestrian access to regional transit hubs and to close gaps in the San Francisco Bay Trail.

Proposed projects that would benefit Contra Costa County, Antioch and East County.

“Nobody likes higher tolls,” commented MTC Chair and Rohnert Park Mayor Jake Mackenzie. “But nobody likes traffic jams or crush-loaded train cars either. The Bay Area has been blessed by seven straight years of strong economic growth. But the price we’ve paid is the growing congestion on our freeways, railways and ferries. If our region is going to maintain its economic leadership, we have to invest in projects that will keep businesses and their workers moving. Gov. Brown and the state Legislature deserve a lot of credit for shaping RM 3 into a comprehensive and integrated strategy that will modernize both our highways and our transit networks.”

For details on the complete range of investments that would be funded if a majority of voters in the nine Bay Area counties approve RM 3, go to the MTC website or see the complete list, here.

MTC is the transportation planning, financing, and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

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