Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Parents: talk to your teen driver about safe driving during National Teen Driver Safety Week Oct. 17-23, 2021

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

National Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 17-23, 2021. Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Your teen is in the driver’s seat, but you’re in control

It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week. This week, and every week, parents should have conversations with their teens about the important rules they need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and number of passengers.

Facts about Teen Driver Fatalities:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States.

In 2019, there were 2,042 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver, of which 628 deaths were the teen driver.

Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks. You should let your teen drivers know that obeying the rules of the road is a must. Breaking the rules leads to walking, riding the bus, using rideshare or going back to begging for rides from mom and dad.

The Rules of the Road

Wear seat belts

The car doesn’t move until everyone is buckled up — front seat and back, on every trip, every time. Almost half of the passengers killed in cars driven by teen drivers in recent years weren’t buckled up in 2019.

No drinking and no drugs

Emphasize the fact that it’s illegal to drink before you’re 21 — and that driving drunk or high is unacceptable at any age. In 2019, 16% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking.

No distractions

Driving is the first and only task when behind the wheel. That means no phones or texting while driving, and not doing anything else — like eating, drinking, or fixing hair and makeup — when you should fully focus on driving. About 10% of all teen drivers involved in fatal crashes in recent years were distracted at the time of the crash. Teens should activate the “do not disturb” feature on their phones to eliminate the distractions notifications cause.

No speeding

About 27% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding in 2019. Faster speeds rob inexperienced teen drivers of the extra reaction time they may need to avoid a crash. Emphasize that they must obey posted speed limits.

Limit extra passengers

Teen drivers are at a greater risk for a crash when they have others in their car. Passengers can serve as a distraction for inexperienced teen drivers, and that’s why many states’ graduated driver licensing (GDL) restrictions prohibit any passengers in vehicles with teen drivers. GDL laws also set other limits on teen drivers for safety.

Drowsy Driving

We all know how important sleep is, especially for your teens during the school year when studying can cause long nights. Remind your teen the importance of a good night’s sleep, and the dangers of drowsy driving.

Don’t just set the rules — set the example

Parents, you’re role models. When a teen driver sees you obeying the rules of the road, they get the message. If you’re breaking the rules, they may adopt those behaviors when they’re on the road. Check yourself: assess how you’re driving (whether you’re following the rules of the road) and think about what your driving communicates to your teen driver.

While National Teen Driver Safety Week is a great reminder to discuss safe driving as a family, keep the conversation going year-round. If you do, you’ll not only better protect your young driver, you’ll be contributing to safer roads in your community. For even more information, visit our Teen Driving section.

The Antioch Police Department contributed to this report.

 

 

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Contra Costa Transportation Authority awarded $400,000 to develop effort to reduce vehicle miles traveled

Saturday, October 9th, 2021

Source: CCTA

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) has been awarded $400,000 to develop a Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Mitigation Framework that will ultimately help Contra Costa County fight climate change. The more miles vehicles travel, the more greenhouse gases and air pollution are emitted into the atmosphere. The VMT Mitigation Framework project is aimed to help CCTA better define, analyze, and develop options to mitigate the environmental effects of projects throughout Contra Costa.

With funding made possible through a California Department of Transportation Sustainable Planning Grant, one element of the study will explore allowing developers and transportation agencies–whose projects contribute to VMT increases–to offset emissions through payment into a “VMT Mitigation Program.” The VMT Mitigation Program funds could then support green projects that help reduce overall VMT in Contra Costa County, generating a positive impact on climate, the environment and public health.

“This groundbreaking study will set out a framework for a more holistic approach to analyzing future development and transportation projects that will not only help local agencies like ours plan for a more sustainable future but could serve as a model for agencies across the state,” said CCTA Executive Director Timothy Haile.

California Senate Bill 743 (SB 743) reformed the process for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to require that local jurisdictions evaluate traffic impacts of new development by measuring VMT, so that transportation-related environmental impacts are tracked for alignment with state greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Undertaking this study is just one way that CCTA is working to mitigate the impact of vehicles miles traveled to reduce harmful pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions countywide.

CCTA is also lending their expertise to the SB 743 Implementation Working Group, a consortium of forward-thinking agencies providing thought leadership for the State on the topic of VMT mitigation.

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 transportation infrastructure projects and programs throughout the County. CCTA also serves as the county’s designated Congestion Management Agency, responsible for putting programs in place to manage traffic levels. More information about CCTA is available at ccta.net.

 

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I-680 Express Lane from Martinez to Walnut Creek tolling has started

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

Photo: MTC

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) reminds travelers that tolling operations for the new 11-mile Express Lane along southbound Interstate 680 from Martinez through Walnut Creek have now started.

By linking with the existing Express Lane from Rudgear Road in Walnut Creek to Alcosta Boulevard in San Ramon, this will create a continuous 22-mile southbound I-680 Express Lane through Contra Costa County.

The stretch of I-680 from Marina Vista Blvd. in Martinez to Rudgear Road currently operates as a traditional carpool lane. Tolling rules include:

  • All vehicles must have a FasTrak® toll tag to use the Express Lanes;
  • Carpools with two or more people, vanpools, buses and motorcycles travel toll-free with a FasTrak Flex toll tag set to the 2 or 3+ position;
  • Solo drivers of eligible clean-air vehicles (CAVs) pay half-price tolls with a FasTrak CAV toll tag. Eligible CAVs are those with red, purple, orange or blue decals; and
  • Other solo drivers pay the full toll to use the Express Lanes with either a standard FasTrak toll tag or a FasTrak Flex tag set to the 1 position.

Operating hours for Express Lanes are weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tolls rise as traffic increases and fall as traffic declines. Digital signs over the roadway display the toll rates for various destinations. Customers always pay the toll displayed when they enter the Express Lane, even if toll rates change during their trip. Toll-paying customers pay for each toll zone they enter. There are five southbound toll zones from Martinez to San Ramon.

Express Lanes are designed to keep traffic moving reliably without congestion, and to encourage travelers to carpool or use transit to get a free and faster trip. Drivers can visit 511.org to learn everything they need to know to use Bay Area Express Lanes, how to find a carpool match, and how to sign up for FasTrak.

 

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DeSaulnier-authored initiatives in infrastructure bill to improve access to sustainable, reliable transportation pass House

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

Source: The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

13 provisions included in the INVEST in America Act

Rep. Mark DeSaulnier.

Washington, DC – Today, July 1, 2021, 13 initiatives authored by Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) and aimed at promoting sustainable transportation and improving access to safe and reliable public transit were included in the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 3684), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 221-to-201. The INVEST in America Act is a $715 billion surface transportation reauthorization and water infrastructure bill that will create good-paying jobs to rebuild and reimagine America’s surface transportation infrastructure, with investments in roads, bridges, transit, rail, and drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. 2021 Fact Sheet for INVEST in America Act“California has long been a model for the country in the transportation space, particularly when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in public transportation. The INVEST in America Act aligns with and furthers California’s goals through bold, innovative legislation that would put millions of Americans to work, speed up our economic recovery, and follow through on our commitment to reduce emissions with transformative investments in cleaner transportation,” said DeSaulnier.

DeSaulnier’s measures included in the bill would aid the transition to environmentally clean modes of transportation, improve accessibility of reliable and efficient public transit, increase road safety, and save taxpayer money. Among those provisions are:

  • Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Enhancement:Based on Congressman DeSaulnier’s Clean Corridors Act (H.R. 2012), the bill would quickly build out EV charging infrastructure nationwide to allow more Americans to shift to environmentally-friendly modes of transportation, saving gas money and our planet, while also creating jobs. The Biden Administration has signaled that this is a top priority.
  • Improved Transportation System Connectivity:Would provide grants to implement better public transportation investment allowing us to create a more interconnected, innovative, and efficient public transportation system that will in turn get more cars off the road, reduce congestion, create more equity, and help fight climate change. This language is part of Congressman DeSaulnier’s Jobs for a Carbon Free Transportation System Act and Incentivizing Value Capture for Greener Transportation Act (H.R. 2205).
  • Greater Transportation Accessibility:Originally included in Congressman DeSaulnier’s COMMUTE Act (H.R. 3581), this provision would enhance transportation planning and equity by improving access to essential services like jobs, health care and childcare facilities, and affordable housing.
  • Enhanced Trucking Safety and Oversight: The bill includes requirements that enhance motor carrier compliance with labor and workplace safety laws, ensuring that our truckers and other road users remain safe on the roads and that motor carriers are held accountable when they violate these protective laws.
  • Transportation Safety Improvement:Based on the Stop Underrides Act (H.R. 1622), co-led by Congressmen Cohen and DeSaulnier, the package directs the Department of Transportation to enhance underride guard protections to prevent deadly truck underride collisions.
  • Efficient Infrastructure Project Delivery:The bill would increase oversight of large infrastructure projects to minimize megaproject cost overruns, delays, and reduced construction quality. Based on Congressman DeSaulnier’s Megaprojects Accountability and Oversight Act (H.R. 2204), this measure would reduce waste, save taxpayer money, and ensure vital infrastructure projects are completed safely and without delay.

The bill still requires approval by the U.S. Senate.

Congressman DeSaulnier is a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He previously served as Chair of the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee as well as the California Assembly Transportation Committee. He is also a former member of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and has been a longtime leader in advocating for sustainable transportation as well as safe and efficient public transportation systems.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Public workshops, hearings announced for Draft Plan Bay Area 2050

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021

Regional plan for transportation, housing, the economy, and the environment

Interested agencies, organizations and individuals are invited by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050. As required by state and federal law, MTC and ABAG have jointly developed this regional plan for transportation, housing, the economy, and the environment, which will serve as the San Francisco Bay Area’s Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS) upon its adoption. Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 is defined by 35 integrated strategies designed to advance the region towards a more equitable and resilient future.

A Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) prepared on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be subject to public review pursuant to a separate notice.

The following online public workshops have been scheduled to receive comment on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050:

ONLINE PUBLIC WORKSHOP

East Bay Workshop
Contra Costa and Alameda Counties
Monday, June 14, 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/33uXj0y
Passcode: 179826
Webinar ID: 862 3482 0389

ONLINE PUBLIC HEARINGS

Additionally, MTC and ABAG will hold three (3) public hearings to receive oral testimony and written comments about the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050. Copies of the draft plan are on file with the Secretary of the Board of MTC and open to public inspection at planbayarea.org/learnmore. Should you require a hard copy of the draft plan, please submit your request to info@bayareametro.gov or call 415-778-6757 and one will be mailed to you.

The first public hearing will be held during the regular meeting of the Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee on:

Friday, June 11, 2021 at 9:40 a.m. (Remotely)
https://bit.ly/33xhpav
Webinar ID: 874 2787 4017
Bay Area Metro Center
Board Room, 1st Floor
375 Beale Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

In light of Governor Newsom’s State of Emergency declaration regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and in accordance with Executive Order N-29-20 issued by Governor Newsom on March 17, 2020 and the Guidance for Gatherings issued by the California Department of Public Health, the meeting will be conducted via webcast, teleconference, and Zoom for all participants. Detailed instructions on participating via Zoom are available at: https://mtc.ca.gov/how-provide-public-comment-board-meeting-zoom. The meeting accessibility instructions also will be posted to: https://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/events/public-hearings no less than 72 hours prior to the hearing.

Two additional online public hearings have been scheduled for:

Hearing 2
Tuesday, June 22, 5:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/3y0ZiYp
Passcode: 177176

Webinar ID: 812 0345 4209

Hearing 3
Wednesday, July 7, 1:30 p.m.
https://bit.ly/2SIduFK
Passcode: 908706

Webinar ID: 854 5833 8822

The Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be available for public review beginning Wednesday, May 26, 2021, online at https://mtc.ca.gov/whats-happening/events/public-hearingshttps://abag.ca.gov/meetings-events/public-hearings, and planbayarea.org. In an effort to reduce printing costs and conserve paper and in accordance with EO N-29-20 and the Guidance for Gatherings issued by the California Department of Public Health, you are urged to review the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 on the website listed above. Should you require a hard copy of the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050, please submit your request to info@bayareametro.gov or call 415-778-6757 and one will be mailed to you.

The public comment period for the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 begins on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 and ends on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by 5:00pm. All written comments must be received no later than Tuesday, July 20, 2021 by 5:00pm. All written comments on the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 are being accepted via mail to MTC Public Information, Attn: Draft Plan Comments, 375 Beale Street, Suite 800, San Francisco, CA 94105; via e-mail to info@planbayarea.org; and online at planbayarea.org/learnmore. Comments also are being accepted by phone by leaving a voicemail at (415) 778-2292.

Public comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Draft Plan Bay Area 2050 will be sought pursuant to a separate notice. After considering public comment, MTC and ABAG are slated to adopt Plan Bay Area 2050 in fall 2021. For more information, call the MTC Public Information Office at (415) 778-6757.

Do you need an interpreter or any other assistance to participate? Please call 415-778-6757. We require at least three working days’ notice to accommodate assistance requests. For TDD or hearing impaired, call 711, California Relay Service, or 1-800-735-2929 (TTY), 1-800-735-2922 (voice) and ask to be relayed to 415-778-6700.

您需要口譯員或任何其他幫助才能參加嗎?請致電415-778-6757。我們要求至少提前三個工作日通知,以便滿足您的請求。對於TDD或聽障人士,請致電711,加州中繼服務,或1-800-735-2929(TTY),1-800-735-2922(語音),並要求轉接到415-778-6700。

¿Necesita un intérprete o cualquier otra ayuda para participar? Llame al 415-778-6757. Requerimos un aviso de al menos tres días hábiles para atender las solicitudes de asistencia. Para personas con discapacidad auditiva o TDD, llame al 711, California Relay Service, o al 1-800-735-2929 (TTY) o al 1-800-735-2922 (voz) y pida que lo comuniquen al 415-778-6700.

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Antioch Council to consider youth pilot programs, oil and gas drilling ban, micro transit system, food insecurity issue Tuesday night

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

Glydways station rendering. Source: Advanced Mobility Group presentation

By Allen Payton

During their meeting tonight, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, the Antioch City Council will consider approving six youth-centered summer pilot programs as discussed in Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s press conference last week. The six programs include an Antioch Council of Teens, COVID-19 Social Media Youth Ambassador Program, Middle School Pop Up Park Program, a City internship program for high school students, a Youth Expression Art Program for sixth through 12th graders, and a Build Antioch Internship Program with the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco. The cost is $25,000 each for a total budget of $150,000 from Measure W funds.

Glydways proposed East County routes.

In addition, the council will consider support for the Glydways micro transit system that would serve as a connector from downtowns in East County to the BART stations. The system recently completed a feasibility study, received the support of the Tri Delta Transit board of directors and is seeking support from the four cities in East County. (See related article)

Those familiar with the CyberTran system, being developed in Richmond, will recall its leaders obtained unanimous support from the Cities of Oakley, Brentwood and Antioch in 2017 to pursue federal funding for a system from the Antioch-Hillcrest BART station to the Byron Airport. CyberTran is proposed to be the system of choice for the East County extension to BART and the Glydways system would serve as a connector, bringing passengers to the current and future BART stations. (See related article) (Note: The publisher of the Herald has a financial interest in CyberTran International, Inc.)

Finally, the council will also consider a moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the city at the request of Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson, and will have a discussion on food insecurity at the request of District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker.

Asked recently about the new Antioch Foods store opening in the former Lucky’s store on E. 18th Street and if she had anything to do with it, Torres-Walker said no, but that she was aware of it.

See the complete agenda, here.

The meeting can be viewed via livestream on the city’s website at https://www.antiochca.gov/live_stream, on Comcast Channel 24, or AT&T U-Verse Channel 99.

Public Comments

Members of the public wishing to provide public comment may do so by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting in the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar):

  1. Fill out an online speaker card located at: https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card.
  2. Provide oral public comments during the meeting by clicking the following link to register by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting, to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers – You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting. – When the Mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand. Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.
  3. Email comments to cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting. The comment will be read into the record at the meeting (350 words maximum, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor). IMPORTANT: Identify the agenda item in the subject line of your email if the comment is for Announcement of Community Events, General Comment, or a specific Agenda Item number. All emails received by 5:00 p.m. the day of the Council Meeting will be entered into the record for the meeting.

Publisher’s Note:

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Amtrak San Joaquins Reinstates Cash Payments Onboard and at Staffed Stations

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

While cash sales were initially suspended in March 2020, Amtrak San Joaquins has resumed cash payments onboard and at all staffed stations. Reintroducing cash payments was the result of coordination among the San Joaquins Joint Powers Authority, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, LOSSAN JPA, the State of California, and Amtrak.

Historically, approximately 15% of San Joaquins ticket revenue has been generated by cash payments. Reintroducing cash payments provides improved rail and Thruway bus access to the unbanked and underbanked passengers that have been disproportionately impacted by this policy.

Onboard ticket sales are in place to accommodate passenger boarding at unstaffed stations. Passengers boarding at unstaffed station, including Antioch, Richmond, Lodi, Turlock, Madera, Wasco, and Corcoran can purchase their ticket directly from the conductor. Passengers boarding at staffed stations will pay a $10 surcharge in addition to the price of the ticket. The surcharge is a resumption of previous policy.

“We are pleased to begin accepting cash once again throughout our service,” said Stacey Mortensen, Executive Director of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority. “In response to the immediate COVID-19 crisis, we took all the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our travelers and staff; this included requiring contactless ticketing. In coordination with state officials and Amtrak, we have determined that cash exchange is not only safe, but also improves transportation access to cash dependent riders. The resumption of cash represents a positive step towards normalcy.”

As the state begins to reopen from COVID-19 restrictions, Amtrak San Joaquins is encouraging riders to also review the Visit California “Responsible Travel Code” for additional tips on how to plan thoughtful, safe, and respectful travel.

Customers are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and book early to guarantee available tickets. Amtrak’s new standard of travel includes:

  • Face coverings: Federal law and Amtrak policy require all customers and employees to wear a mask or covering that fully covers the entire mouth and nose, fits snugly against the side of the face, and secures under the chin at all times while onboard trains and in stations, even if state or local policies are different.
  • Station arrival: Customers are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes before departure and 60 minutes if in need of ticketing and/or baggage assistance.
  • Capacity indicator: When searching for travel, the percentage of seats sold displays next to each trip and adjusts as customers make reservations. This gives customers the opportunity to book a train that is less crowded. If capacity exceeds comfort levels, customers can change their ticket without incurring a fee (a fare difference may apply).
  • Amtrak app: Customers can book, board, check train status and access information from the convenience and safety of a mobile device. Amtrak continues to encourage boarding with eTickets, which conductors scan from the Amtrak app.
  • Air quality: All Amtrak trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a fresh air exchange rate every 4-5 minutes.
  • Physical distancing: Signage has been displayed at our stations to indicate safe distances in high traffic areas. In addition, protective plastic barriers have been installed at customer counters at our stations.

Passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets prior to boarding at stations, online at AmtrakSanJoaquins.com, on the Amtrak app, or at a station kiosk.

About the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA)

Since July 2015, SJJPA has been responsible for the management and administration of Amtrak San Joaquins. SJJPA is governed by Board Members representing each of the ten (10) Member Agencies along the 365-mile San Joaquins Corridor. For more information on SJJPA see www.sjjpa.com.

Amtrak San Joaquins is Amtrak’s 6th busiest route with 1.1 million annual riders and 18 stations providing a safe, comfortable and reliable way to travel throughout California. Prior to service modifications due to the COVID-19 crisis, Amtrak San Joaquins ran 7 daily train round-trips and its Thruway buses provided connecting service to 135 destinations in California and Nevada including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Napa Valley, Las Vegas and Reno. To book your next trip, visit www.AmtrakSanJoaquins.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.

 

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Antioch Council receives report on latest efforts to bring ferry service to city’s waterfront

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

By Allen Payton

A type of ferry boat operated by WETA that could eventually stop in Antioch. Photo: WETA

During their meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 the Antioch City Council received a report from a representative of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) on the latest information on bringing ferry service to the city’s waterfront.

Peter Engel, the Director of Programs for CCTA provided the presentation. Antioch Ferry Service presentation 041321

A financial feasibility study of Contra Costa County Ferry Service from 2015 through 2023 was completed in 2014. It sought to Create collaborative effort engaging Water Emergency Transportation Authority (WETA), the cities, other interested entities and CCTA. Evaluate financial feasibility of expanding WETA’s ferry services to Contra Costa County.

Near-term expansion routes identified in the WETA Implementation and Operations Plan (IOP) and Short Range Transit Plan only includes a stop in Richmond. Additional expansion routes identified in WETA’s IOP include Hercules, Martinez and Antioch. The interlined routes include Antioch to Martinez, Martinez to Hercules and Antioch to Martinez to Hercules.

Engel spoke of a pilot program for ferry service in Antioch.

However, “there’s currently not a funding source for a pilot program,” he said.

Mayor Pro Tem Monica Wilson said, “my first term on council we were talking about ferry service and ridership. Back then we were talking about the traditional ferry. Former Mayor Wright talked about the water taxi. Hopefully, we’ll get more information and more studies on that. I like how the routes you discussed from Antioch to Martinez, Hercules and Richmond.”

“I know this was an issue with the WETA Board…if there is a Contra Costa representative on the WETA Board, it would be good to have at least a Contra Costa, hopefully an Antioch representative on that board,” she continued. “I just wanted to know if that’s changed since then.”

“The structure on the board hasn’t changed. Sacramento basically selects the members,” Engle responded. “Three by the governor, one by the Assembly Speaker and one by the Senate Rules Committee. The only one who represents Contra Costa who is Jim Wunderman, the CEO of the Bay Area Council and a resident of Contra Costa. That would be something that would have to be taken up through the legislature. It’s something that WETA staff would support.”

“If we do this very right it could be very good for us,” Wilson continued. “I know the Larkspur Ferry has been hurting.”

“Larkspur is operated by Golden Gate Ferry…strictly to the City operation. It’s been hurt by the pandemic,” Engle responded.

“I sit on the CCTA, so I’ve had conversations about this with (City Manager) Ron Bernal,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe said. “If there’s the possibility of a pilot program, we’d need to put some money behind it. Ron would need to show up to say we’re committed to doing something.”

“That’s fair enough,” Bernal responded. “Is the council still interested in moving forward and getting information on this?”

“The council is committed to moving forward. We are certainly 100% committed,” Thorpe replied.

“I’m concerned in a post-COVID world we don’t know what the commute will look like before we are committed,” District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica said. “Where are we going to be with commuters? We don’t know.”

“That is some of the conversations that we’ve been having,” Thorpe responded. “The money tied up in the courts, right now will be coming,”

“I’ve heard of this since I first moved here, and I’ve been very excited about this,” said District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker who represents the part of Antioch where the ferry stop would be located. “I get the concerns Councilman Barbanica is lifting up, as well. But I also think as we learn to live with the virus…and go back to as normal as possible…that we have a ferry in Antioch and I’m excited about that potential.”

That was enough direction for both Bernal and Engle to move forward on bringing ferry service to Antioch.

The next steps include looking at service opportunities with routing to Pittsburg, Martinez, Hercules and Richmond; partner with other terminal cities; prepare Request for Information/Interest from private providers; and identifying funding. Potential funding could be from the Regional Measure 3 bridge toll revenue and COVID Relief funds.

 

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