A few of our club members are very active with local and regional cycling advocacy programs. Here’s the most current information from Ole Ohlson, Delta Pedalers Cycling Advocate.
- The Contra Costa Water District received a grant from the California Water Commission for approximately $459,000,000.00 for the raising of the dam and the enlargement of the Los Vaqueros reservoir by about 100,000 acre feet. This is about half of the required money for the project. Although the board has not indicated any particular interest in including a bicycle path between the north visitor area (the dam) and the south visitor area (the marina), all is not lost. Visit the News release at http://www.ccwater.com/DocumentCenter/View/6147/News-Release—Prop-1-Results and find the list of partner agencies. Please communicate with one or more of these partner agencies (who will have to pony up the remainder of the needed money) and ask them to “suggest” to the CCWD board that such a path is needed. The CCWD has adopted “rules” that prohibit bicycles from any unpaved roads or trails in the watershed of the Los Vaqueros Reservoir area. We aren’t asking for much. The construction of such a paved path will significantly increase the recreation potential of the entire reservoir watershed. Its cost will be almost insignificant compared with the cost of the construction of the dam. Such a path does not need to follow the edge of the water, it just needs to connect the aforementioned points.
- The Marsh Creek Road portion of Highway 4 has three traffic signals that are not responsive to a bicyclist’s presence. Vasco Road, Walnut Boulevard, and Sellers Avenue. Caltrans has declined to install push-buttons on the signal light poles at these intersections because there are no pedestrian facilities at any of these intersections. Please submit a Customer Service Request for EACH intersection at https://csr.dot.ca.gov/ and ask that this problem be remedied. We need to be able to actuate the signal from the cross street(s) as well as while travelling on Highway 4. Note: Contra Costa County responded within a week of being asked and installed pedestrian push-buttons at the intersection of Vasco Road and Walnut Boulevard. Send a thank-you note to Diane Burges http://www.co.contra-costa.ca.us/FormCenter/District-lll-Supervisor-Diane-Burgis-22/Constituent-Services-192
- The entrance to the new Antioch BART station is from Slatten Ranch Road is exceedingly dangerous for bicyclists. (note 1: This road does not currently go through. The only current access to the Antioch eBART station is from Hillcrest Avenue.) This route passes the Hillcrest Avenue to westbound Highway 4 dual-lane on-ramp. As a bicyclist you must be VERY careful when negotiating this intersection. You might even want to BAP (Become A Pedestrian) at this intersection. Because it is a dual lane on-ramp, many motorists are turning right to enter the freeway from the dedicated through-lane on eastbound Slatten Ranch Road. This is very dangerous for the unsuspecting bicyclist who is using the bicycle lane that is between the dedicated through traffic-lane and the dedicated right-turn-only lane. Send a message to the Contra Costa Transportation Authority at http://www.ccta.net/get_involved/contact_us asking them to fix this problem.
- The Mokelumne Aqueduct Trail crossing of Highway 4 (between Lone Tree Way and Sand Creek Road) was supposed to be constructed when the highway was constructed back in the early part of this century. Alas, it was not. However, the CCTA has completed the plans and has “most” of the money lined up for construction. BART is planning to use this over-crossing as part of the access to its next expansion station on the eBART line; they are creating plans for a parking lot at this point as we speak. Once this parking lot is constructed, Tri Delta Transit will provide bus service on 15-minute headways between downtown Brentwood, this site, and the Antioch eBART station. Although it has been a long time coming, these plans will come to fruition during the next couple of years. Bicyclists will finally get a safe crossing of this freeway that connects with existing bicycle infrastructure in Antioch and Brentwood. Note: the Mokelumne Aqueduct Trail connects with the Delta de Anza National Historic trail, which extends between Oakley and Concord.
- Currently, if a bicyclist wishes to bicycle between East County and Central County, the safest route includes riding on a one-mile stretch of Highway 4 through the Naval Weapons Station between the Willow Pass Road interchange and the Port Chicago Highway interchange. Note: Bicyclists are LEGAL on this segment of freeway, and we have our own lane, the shoulder. The CCTA is planning to connect one of the auxiliary lanes of the 242 interchange with Highway 4 with one of the auxiliary lanes of the Willow Pass Road to eastbound Highway 4 on-ramp. As part of the new Caltrans policy of providing safe facilities for ALL modes of transportation, not just for cars, a cycle track (Class 4) will “probably” be constructed as part of this project. It will extend from the multi-use path along the east side of Port Chicago Highway to Willow Pass Road. Please send a message to the CCTA urging them to be sure to include this cycle track at http://www.ccta.net/get_involved/contact_us Note: Although it is legal for a bicyclist to ride in the right edge of the traffic lane of Willow Pass Road between Highway 4 and downtown Concord, I strongly recommend that you do NOT do so. The narrow, short-sight-distance bridge that was constructed during WWII as necessary part of the operation of the Naval Weapons Station is a death trap for the unsuspecting bicyclist. As mentioned above, the freeway shoulder is the safe alternative.
- The Highway 680 interchange with Highway 4 is slated to be reconstructed if the gas tax raise is not repealed this November. If this long-needed interchange project gets built, a connection will be built between the Iron Horse Regional Trail, the Pacheco Transit Center, and the Contra Costa Canal Trail.