Uncategorized | 511 Contra Costa


BTWD2016_web_horizontalBike to Work Day is a promotional event to encourage the use of a bicycle instead of a car.

About Bike To Work Day

On Thursday, May 12, there were over 400 Energizer Stations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area where cyclists stopped by for refreshments and promotional items.
511 Contra Costa has supported cyclists and Energizer Station hosts throughout Contra Costa County since 2001 using Bay Area Air Quality Management District funds and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s half-cent sales tax for transportation funds.
Bike to Work Day 2016 was presented by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, 511 and Kaiser Permanente.  Regional sponsors include the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Clear Channel Outdoor, The Canary Foundation and Challenge, Clif Bar and KPIX TV.

Recap of This Year’s Bike To Work Day

Bike To Work Day 2016 saw over 100,000 people across the Bay Area commuting by bike, with more than 5,600 participants in Contra Costa alone! Morning counts across the Bay Area showed an increase in participation of more than 9 percent over last year. Read more about this year’s Bike To Work Day on the 511CC Blog.

Video Highlights from Bike To Work Day 2016

Bike Commuter of the Year 2016

Bike Commuter of the Year (BCOY) award recipients are recognized for their dedication to riding their bike for everyday transportation. They are a testament to the many benefits of bicycle commuting: from improving their health to bringing families together.
Contra Costa’s 2016 Bike Commuter of the Year is Karineh Samkian! She started biking to work a few years ago and makes her daily commute from El Cerrito using the Ohlone Greenway and I-80 Bikeway. She’s encouraged co-workers to commute by bike and is even getting her kids excited about cycling. For more of her story, click here.

Don’t Wait Until Next Year to Bike to Work

1st time biking to work PHill to San RamonBike To Work Day is a great time to try commuting by bike, but it doesn’t have to be the only day you give it a shot! Just remember: Biking to work is all about what works for you. Maybe the weather, or having a bike buddy, or the copious amounts of stuff you have to haul on a bike factors into your decision to cycle to work, and that’s okay!
Biking to work should be enjoyable, so pick days when riding seems fun and reasonable, then go for it. Do that and you might find yourself planning more rides to work. That’s what happened for some of this year’s first-time Bike To Work Day Participants. Read what they had to say about their plans to try biking to work more often.

Photo Gallery: Bike To Work Day 2016

(Click any photo to see a larger version)

Morning Energizer Stations

Antioch: Mokelumne Trail at Prewett Park (hosted by the City of Antioch)

Brentwood: City Park (hosted by Delta Pedalers Bicycle Club)

El Cerrito: Ohlone Greenway (hosted by the City of El Cerrito)

Martinez: Central Contra Costa Sanitary (hosted by Central Contra Costa Sanitary District)

Pleasant Hill: Contra Costa Canal Trail & Gregory Ln (hosted by Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District)

San Pablo: City Hall (hosted by the City of San Pablo)

Walnut Creek: Contra Costa Canal Trail & Geary Rd

Walnut Creek: Contra Costa Canal Trail & N. Wiget Ln (hosted by Renaissance ClubSport)

Walnut Creek: Iron Horse Trail & Broadway/Newell Ave (hosted by Beeline Bikes & Whole Foods Market)

Walnut Creek: Iron Horse Trail & Contra Costa Canal Trail (hosted by CCTA, 511CC & EBRPD)

Walnut Creek: S. Main St & Newell Ave (hosted by Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center)

Walnut Creek: Olympic Blvd & Newell Ave (hosted by Bike Walnut Creek)

Walnut Creek: Ygnacio Canal Trail & Contra Costa Trail (hosted by Encina Bicycle Center)

Afternoon Energizer Stations

Walnut Creek: Iron Horse Trail & Contra Costa Canal Trail (hosted by CCTA, 511CC & EBRPD)

Employers: Tips on Encouraging Bike Commuting

If you’re an employer and want to inspire more of your employees to commute by bike, we can help! You’ll find some great strategies on promoting bike commuting year-round at the YouCanBikeThere.com site. For tips on how to get more people in your organization pushing the pedals on Bike To Work Day, download the Bike To Work Day Employer Toolkit!

Download the 2016 Bike To Work Day Poster

Construction: I-680 from Walnut Creek to San Ramon (Through Fall 2016)

Bay Area Express Lanes I-680Construction of a portion of the Bay Area Express Lanes on I-680 (between Walnut Creek and San Ramon) has begun and is scheduled to last approximately 15 months. Construction includes installation of variable message signs and overhead toll readers, concrete foundations for overhead freeway sign structures, and laying conduit and fiber optic communications cables for traffic management system communications.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is scheduling construction work so that it will have minimal impacts on traffic. Construction will mainly occur at night, although there may be occasional activity on the shoulder and on arterial streets adjacent to the highway during the day to complete the communications network. Nighttime construction will typically involve closing one or two highway lanes, depending on the nature of the work.

Click for More on How Express Lanes Work

Express Lanes are specially-designated highway lanes that offer toll-free travel for carpools, vanpools, transit, motorcycles and eligible clean air vehicles. Solo drivers also have the choice to pay a toll to use the lanes for a more reliable trip. The Express Lanes between Walnut Creek and San Ramon will have an open access configuration, similar to HOV lanes.
The I-680 Express Lanes between Walnut Creek and San Ramon are scheduled to open in fall of 2016. For more information, you can visit bayareaexpresslanes.org or email info@bayareaexpresslanes.org to request project updates.
Construction is a dynamic process and information is subject to change without notice. Work is subject to weather conditions.

Green Footprint Festival – Thursday, June 11, 2015 from 11am-3pm (Pittsburg)

Green Footprint FestivalThe City of Pittsburg invites you to round up the family and start summer break with the Green Footprint Festival this Thursday!
On July 11, Small World Park will play host to a day of eco-Friendly fun and entertainment celebrating the many aspects of living green. The park will be filled with educational exhibits for kids and adults, highlighting topics like recycling, water & energy conservation, and alternative transportation.
In addition, there will be kids’ crafts, interactive activities and even some magic, comedy and ventriloquism from Dr. Solar’s Good Time, Sunshine, Traveling Medicine Show.
The event runs from 11am-3pm on Thursday, June 11. Special for the festival, admission to the park is $2 per person and ride wristbands are only $1.25. Since it’s a green festival, carpooling, biking, walking and riding Tri Delta Transit are all encouraged.
For more details, visit the City of Pittsburg’s website.

2015 Summer Youth Bike Challenge

bicycle_wheel_040415511 Contra Costa is rolling out a new youth biking program in Pleasant Hill. The Summer Youth Bike Challenge provides fun, healthy, no cost summer recreation that challenges participants to explore their hometown via bicycle.
Challenge destinations include public parks and athletic fields, the library, Farmers Market, and Downtown Pleasant Hill.  The Summer Youth Bike Challenge is open to all students in grades K-12. Participants are asked to take the challenge and bike to local places by August 29.
For more information, visit the Pleasant Hill Summer Youth Bike Challenge webpage.

Antioch Bridge Lane Closures (Mar. 2015)

Caltrans is reminding motorists that one-way traffic controls will be in effect on the Highway 160 Antioch Bridge as crews perform routine inspections of the span this week and next week. Crews will alternate lane closures in both northbound and southbound directions, with flaggers and a pilot car helping direct traffic. The work is slated from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on four consecutive weekdays – Monday through Thursday of this week and March 16 to 19 next week. This will allow one traffic lane on the bridge to remain open during the inspections. Motorists should expect delays and allow for extra travel time. Work is dependent on the weather. Vessels will pass normally beneath the bridge on the San Joaquin River.

Americans Taking Transit in Record Numbers (2014)

Lynx Bus - WestCAT
Photo courtesy of WestCAT

A recent report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) shows that people in the US are taking transit in record numbers.  This high level of ridership hasn’t been seen since 1956, with almost 10.7 billion trips taken in 2013 — making it the eighth consecutive year with over 10 billion trips on public transportation.
Two of the important factors involved in the rise in ridership are economic recovery and the investments made by transit agencies to expand systems and improve services. APTA President Michael Melaniphy said, “When more people are employed, public transportation ridership increases, since nearly 60 percent of the trips taken on public transportation are for work commutes… We’re seeing that where cities have invested in transit, their unemployment rates have dropped, and employment is going up because people can get there.”
An interesting side-note is that the increased demand for public transportation flies in the face of conventional wisdom that past a certain price point, transit use rises and falls with gasoline prices.  In 2008, with gas prices between $4 and $5 a gallon, the number of transit trips taken (10.59 billion trips) was still lower than for 2013 (10.65 billion trips), when gas averaged under $4 a gallon.
Will the demand for transit continue to grow? Based on the data, Mr. Melaniphy says it will. “There is a fundamental shift going on in the way we move about our communities. People in record numbers are demanding more public transit services and communities are benefiting with strong economic growth… This is a long-term trend. This isn’t just a blip.”
Follow the links for more facts from APTA’s 2013 report or to view the complete report.

Back to School: The Youth Clipper Card

Youth Clipper Card
Back-to-School season is upon us, and if you’ve got a young person who’ll be using transit, make sure their school supplies include a Youth Clipper Card.  With it, you’ll receive discounts on monthly passes, ride books, tickets, cash value fares and transfers.  The Youth Clipper Card is available for riders ages 5 and up for the following transit operators only: AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit and Ferry, Muni, SamTrans, and VTA.  The maximum age varies by transit agency (e.g. BART’s ‘youth’ age range is 5-12 while AC Transit’s is 5-18). You can call 511 to check individual transit agency rules.
How it works: When you use cash value on a Youth Clipper Card, Clipper automatically calculates the discounted fare and applies any applicable transfer discount.  For information on the discounted fares offered by each transit agency, click here.
How to get a Youth Clipper Card:

  • a) Download and complete the application form.
  • b) Make a photocopy of one of the proof-of-eligibility documents: a birth certificate, passport, state-issued ID card or any of the other options listed on this page.
  • c) Submit the completed application form and proof of eligibility to Clipper by mail, fax, or in person at one of these locations.  (If you apply in person, you will get your card on the spot.  If you apply by fax or mail, Clipper Cards typically arrive by mail within 7 days.)

 For more information: Visit the Youth Clipper Card page.

Bicycle Parking Defined

Arlington, Virginia contains more than 5,000 bike-parking spaces as a result of its development review and approval process. The county’s commitment to cycling is shown in the attention it pays to the construction of these facilities, as specified in its Guide to Effective Bicycle Parking for residential and commercial buildings, updated in February 2014.

13863728655_d48e3510e8_b The guide is intended to inform developers, contractors, planners, architects, and property owners regarding the construction of high-quality parking that encourages cycling. The following 10 rules are derived from the guide’s more expansive list of specifications.

  1. Class Matters. Understanding the classes of bicycle parking is an important first step. Class 1 bicycle parking is secure bicycle parking, intended for building tenants – residents or employees. Class 1 bike parking is characterized by protection from the weather and protection from theft via two levels of security: a locked enclosure as well as racks within the enclosure to which bikes can be locked. Class 2 and 3 are short-term visitor bicycle parking, typically outdoors. Class 2 is covered, and Class 3 uncovered. While Class 2 and 3 parking is less secure, it is more convenient for visitors and customers for short stays. Emphasis in Arlington is largely on Class 1-style bike parking
  2.  Location Matters. There are four kinds of secure bike parking in Arlington. From most to least preferable, they are (a) fully enclosed ground-floor room with sidewalk access; (b) fully enclosed room in a garage; (c) cage in a garage; and (d) bike locker. If inside a garage, it is important that the parking location be close to the garage entrance and elevators serving the building. Visitor/customer bike parking should be located on the sidewalk near the visitor/customer entrance.
  3. Design Matters. At least 30 percent of all secure bike parking must be horizontal and at ground level, to make sure it can be accessed by those of all ages and physical abilities. Keep in mind that aspects of design such as layout, lighting, and signage can influence whether the bike parking gets used
  4. Materials Matter. Gone are the days when a cyclone fence was good enough for a bike cage. It turns out that it is pretty easy to cut and unwind chain link, and therefore steal a potentially $1,000 piece of equipment. If you can’t build your bike room with drywall or cinderblock, then a cage must be built using industrial grade expanded metal or welded wire mesh. Enclosure doors must be hollow metal doors.
  5. Space Matters. Minimum clearances are required in Arlington so that bike parking works for all users and all bikes. Examples: Space between parallel u-racks must be three feet, and space from the end of a u-rack to an obstruction must be two feet. Aisles must be wide enough to maneuver bikes onto and off of racks.
  6. Tailoring Matters. Tailor bike parking to the user group: Class 1 parking for residents and Class 2/3 for guests. A commercial building needs showers and lockers to support bike commuting as a viable option. Tailor parking to the site as well: underneath eaves or porticos whenever possible.
  7. Safety Matters. As Class 2 and 3 (visitor) parking is inherently less secure than Class 1, install the racks in highly visible areas within 50 feet of the main entrance of the building. Bike racks should never be installed in locations that obstruct pedestrian paths or vehicle rights-of-way.
  8. Good Plans Matter. Arlington requires submission of detailed drawings of bicycle parking prior to plan approval. These drawings have to show materials and dimensions so that potential design issues can be caught and fixed early in the process.
  9. User-Friendly Matters. A user-friendly bike rack is constructed of steel pipe or tubing and is securely anchored to an immovable level surface, provides stable support for a bicycle locked against it, doesn’t place stress on a bike’s wheels, and allows the user to lock both the frame and one wheel to the rack.
  10. Management Matters. Even the most well-built bike parking may suffer without attention. Good bike parking management relies on just a couple of things: (a) a property manager familiar with the service who can promote the program and respond to concerns, and (b) a registration process that helps keep track of users and distribution of secure access.

See more at Mobility Lab 

Student Art Contest Winning Bag Revealed (2014)

Alexandria Rickli

CONGRATULATIONS to Alexandria Rickli, a 6th grader from J. Douglas Adams Middle School in Brentwood.

The Central/East office of 511 Contra Costa conducted a student artwork contest among middle schools in Central and Eastern Contra Costa County for the 2014 511 Contra Costa market bag design.  The winning artwork of Alexandria Rickli was chosen among 12 entries.  The theme of the artwork contest was Explore New Ways to Get Around: carpool, transit, bike, skateboard and walk and was to depict how these environmentally-friendly ways of getting around help reduce pollution and promote clean air.  Required elements included the incorporation of the funding partner logos.  The contest winner won a $50 gift certificate to a local cinema.

Contra Costa Green just Art

The bags will be given away to the public at the John Muir Birthday – Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 26th at the John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez, and the Pittsburg’s Green Footprint Festival on June 12th, and other community events.

Participate in Walnut Creek's Pedestrian Master Plan (2014)

You are invited to participate in the development of the Walnut Creek Pedestrian Master Plan

The Pedestrian Master Plan is the first citywide planning effort focused on making walking in Walnut Creek safer, easier and more popular. The Plan will assess existing conditions for walking; develop goals and policies to guide the implementation of walking facilities; recommend programs and activities to promote walking; and formulate guidelines for the implementation of sidewalks, crosswalks and footpaths. Particular attention will be paid to improving access to schools and transit within the Downtown, as well as to parks, trails and neighborhood shopping centers.
The City is relying on the public’s involvement and your input to help shape the Pedestrian Plan. The first major opportunity for Walnut Creek residents and others to provide input and feedback on the Plan is a public stakeholder workshop taking place on Tuesday, April 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the 3rd Floor Conference Room of Walnut Creek City Hall, located at 1666 N. Main Street.  At the workshop, the public will have the chance to learn more about the project; find out about potential types of pedestrian improvements; and provide their input on all aspects of walking in Walnut Creek.
To give the public more opportunities to provide input on the Pedestrian Plan, the City is also conducting an online survey. The survey is available at www.surveymonkey.com/s/WCwalks; it will be open through April 30, 2014.  For more information about the Pedestrian Plan, visit www.WCwalks.org or contact Jeremy Lochirco, Senior Planner at the City, at (925) 943?5899 ext. 2251 or email: lochirco@walnut-creek.org

Martinez Starts Charging for Charges (2014)

Electric vehicle charging station on the corner of Court and Main in Martinez, CA. Image via: Google Maps

Electric car drivers, listen up! Last month (March 5th, to be precise), the City of Martinez adopted charging fees at electric vehicle charging stations. Users now have to pay $1 for each hour of charging. With gas prices climbing back towards $4 per gallon the fee is  nominal, not to mention necessary to keep such charging stations publicly available and to ensure turnover to allow multiple charging sessions per day at each charging station.
Additionally, charging stations now have varying time limits. Here are the limits listed by location:

  • City Hall (525 Henrietta St.)  – 4 hour maximum.
  • Corner of Court and Main Streets (679 Court Street) – 4 hour maximum.
  • Amtrak Station (407 Estudillo St.) –  24 hour maximum. The charge is capped at $12.
  • Pacheco Transit Hub (Pacheco Blvd. & Blum Rd) – 24 hour maximum. The charge is capped at $12.

To locate available charging stations, visit chargepoint.com and click “Find Stations,” or call 1-877-370-3802 for 24/7 support.

Contra Costa HOV Lanes on I-680 to Be Converted to Express Lanes (2014)

The Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority (BAIFA) is working closely with Caltrans to convert the existing HOV lanes on I-680 into express lanes from Rudgear Road to Alcosta Blvd. in the southbound direction and from Alcosta Blvd. to Livorna Road in the northbound direction.  Like existing HOV lanes, express lanes are FREE for carpools, vanpools, buses and other eligible vehicles while allowing solo drivers to use the lanes for a toll.
Open House
BAIFA invites everyone  to attend an informational meeting to learn more. Project plans will be on display and project team members will be present to provide input about the project.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
San Ramon Community Center at Central Park
12501 Alcosta Blvd. San Ramon, CA 94583
OnLine Public Open House
Can’t make the meeting in person? BAIFA is also hosting an online public meeting at www.BAIFAexpresslanes.org that will begin January 30 and be open for two weeks, closing February 13. The online format will allow the public to view the same information that will be shown at the public meeting and provide input during the two-week period. Once on the project website, click the link to view the information.
Visit www.BAIFAexpresslanes.org or contact MTC Public Information at (510) 817-5757 for more information.

Planned Closure of Elmira Lane to Begin January 27 (2014)

As part of the Buskirk Avenue Widening Phase 2 Improvement Project in Pleasant Hill, California, Elmira Lane will be closed to public traffic for three months starting on Monday January 27, 2014. 
This road closure duration may change depending on weather, field conditions and work conflicts. Buskirk Avenue traffic will be routed through single lane of two-way traffic through the newly constructed Buskirk Avenue (old S-curve) around the perimeter of the shopping center. One new traffic signal will be operational at Buskirk Avenue/Clarie Drive and two stop intersections will complete the detour along Buskirk Avenue; one at the south shopping center entrance and a second at Hookston Avenue (both of these are currently in place). Detour signs will be in place to route traffic around the Elmira Lane road closure.
The City of Pleasant Hill’s project contractor, Ghilotti Bros., Inc. is switching traffic to move on to the next stage of work. The next stage will involve all project improvements along the east side of Buskirk Avenue and Elmira Lane, including Clarie Drive.  For more project information, please see visit the City’s Buskirk Avenue web page at www.pleasant-hill.net/buskirk or contact the City’s Construction Manager, Jeff Ocampo at (925) 671-5208 or by email at jeff@ghirardelliassoc.com.

Caldecott Bores 2 and 4 Overnight Closures Dec 16-20, 2013

Traffic Advisory: Nighttime closures of Caldecott Tunnel Bores #2 and #4, and Westbound Fish Ranch Rd on-ramp and anticipated for the week of Dec. 16- 20 for ongoing systems testing and other work (weather permitting).

Bore #2 (eastbound)
9:30 p.m. – 6 a.m.
Bore #4 (westbound)
Westbound Fish Ranch Road Onramp
9:30 p.m. – 4 a.m.
As per plan, systems testing will continue in the Fourth Bore for approximately the next five months.

Celebrate the completion of the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore Tomorrow, Friday November 15, 2013

On Friday, November 15th at 1:30 p.m. U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will join project partners to celebrate the construction of the Caldecott Fourth Bore with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The ceremony will be attended by:

  • U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx
  • Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty
  • Metropolitan Transportation Commission Chair Amy Rein Worth
  • Contra Costa Transportation Authority Chair Janet Abelson
  • Student designers of the Fourth Bore medallions

The event will happen near the east portal of the Caldecott Tunnel in Contra Costa County.

Inside the new Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore, taken by San Francisco Chronicle transportation reporter Michael Cabanatuan
Inside the new Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore, taken by San Francisco Chronicle transportation reporter Michael Cabanatuan (@ctuan)

The $417 million Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore project was completed in less than four years, and under budget, and is expected to provide significant congestion relief to motorists traveling along State Route 24 between Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in the off-peak direction by permanently dedicating two tunnels to travel in each direction.
The Fourth Bore was one of the largest recipients of Recovery Act funding in the nation, and its successful construction has been a partnership of the Federal Highway Administration, the California Department of Transportation, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Toll Authority, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and the Alameda County Transportation Commission.
The six students whose designs were chosen in a regional competition will participate in the unveiling of the mounted Art Deco-inspired medallions, which will grace both portals of the new tunnel.

To see all winners and honorable mentions for the contest, see our board on Pinterest.

Nighttime tunnel work on Caldecott tunnel happening tonight – Monday Nov 11, 2013

On Monday night, November 11, traffic through the Caldecott Tunnel will be reduced to one bore in each direction between the hours of 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM. Caltrans has planned to perform this work at night in order to minimize impacts to commute-hour traffic.
Motorists should expect traffic delays during the above hours, and are encouraged to plan ahead and allow additional drive time. This schedule is subject to change pending inclement weather.
Motorists are also urged to drive with extreme caution in the work area at the eastern and western sides of the tunnel. Workers will be on foot throughout the area during the closures.
The new bore was originally scheduled to open Saturday, Sunday, or early Monday, Nov. 18 but may be pushed back by rain. There will be no public fourth bore opening ceremony, but a small private ceremony will occur on Friday.

Planned closure of the Caldecott Tunnel through Saturday, Oct 12, 2013

Starting on Saturday, October 5 and continuing through Saturday, October 12, overnight closures are anticipated for bores #2 OR bore #3 (alternately) of the Caldecott tunnel.
The Tentative Schedule for Bore #2 OR #3 Overnight Closures is as follows:
Friday/Saturday Nights:  11pm to 9am
Weeknights:  10pm to 4am
Please note that Bore #3 closures will also require overnight closures of the Westbound Fish Ranch Road On-Ramp in Orinda and the Westbound Caldecott Lane Off-Ramp, as follows:
10 p.m. – 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights
9 p.m. – 4 a.m. on weeknights
These closures will facilitate critical fire & life safety system work.
The $405 million Caldecott Fourth Bore Project includes the construction of a 3,200-foot-long, two-lane tunnel, which is on schedule to open to traffic in late 2013.

Fire Prevention and Incident Response for the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore (2013)

The fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel  has what is called a Fire-Life-Safety System as illustrated below.

Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore Fire-Life-Safety System

Fire-Life-Safety System includes:

  • Emergency lights
  • Carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide sensors monitor air quality.
  • 19 jet fans mounted at the top can redirect air flow in either direction.
  • 17 emergency stations equipped with a fire extinguisher, manual fire alarms and emergency phones.
  • Video image detectors to notify operators of an incident in the tunnel.

Both the Oakland and Moraga-Orinda Fire Departments respond to tunnel fires. Crosspassages between bores 3 and 4 will allow for evacuation.
Crosspassages are equipped with:

  • Closed-circuit televisions and intercoms
  • A ventilation system designed to prevent smoke and flames from entering

In addition, message signs at the portal and within the tunnel will display messages, and a tunnel radio system is in place to override other radio stations to give emergency messages to motorists.
For more information on Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore emergency procedures, it’s detailed in the Caldecott Tunnel Spring-Summer 2013 Project Update (PDF)

Buskirk Widening Starting Next Week

Construction on the Buskirk Avenue Widening Project in Pleasant Hill is scheduled to begin next week, May 20, 2013.  

What is it?

Buskirk-Avenue-Widening-2The project is to imrpove, reconstruct and widen Buskirk Avenue in Pleasant Hill, CA. In addition, drainage improvements, new pedestrian and bike facilities, new pavement and striping will be added to the Avenue.
Read more more on our blog post covering the Buskirk Avenue Project or the Stage 1 Notification PDF.

What are the construction impacts?

  • Typical construction hours will be from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday-Friday.
  • Some variations including night and weekend work will occur.
  • The curved part of Buskirk along the southernmost side of the shopping center will be closed from Elmira Lane to Hookston Road.
  • Traffic will be detoured along the dogleg section of Elmira and Hookston. Buskirk will remain open to two-way traffic north of Elmira.

For more information including the purpose of the work read the Buskirk Ave- Stage 1 Notification.

Announcing the Buskirk Avenue Improvement Project (2013)

Buskirk Avenue in Pleasant Hill will be undergoing an improvement, reconstruction and widening project. In addition, drainage improvements, new pedestrian and bike facilities, new pavement and striping will be added to the Avenue.
As part of this project:

  • Buskirk Avenue will be realigned with a new traffic signal at the Buskirk Avenue/Clarie Drive intersection.
  • A new traffic signal will be installed at the new Buskirk Avenue/Contra Costa Center southwesterly driveway access intersection.
  • A new, free sweeping 90 degree roadway curve and traffic island calming feature will be added to the eastern section of Hookston Road north to the new Buskirk Avenue/Clarie Drive intersection.
  • New ornamental street lighting, sidewalks and landscape features will be incorporated into the project in order to enhance the appearance of the corridor.

511 Contra Costa will be providing updates on the project status within the Buskirk Project section of this Blog. The City of Pleasant Hill’s website provides a way to get text or email notifications about the project. Additional info about the project can be found on the official Buskirk Avenue Phase 2 Improvement page.

Commuter Benefits Raised for 2013

6629120915_556a318093_zThe American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (HR 8) has restored the pre-tax transit and vanpool commuter benefits to be on par with the qualified parking benefit. For the 2013 calendar year:

  • up to $245 per employee per month for vanpool and all public transportation
  • up to $245 per employee per month for qualified parking, or
  • up to $490 per employee per month for both public transportation and qualified parking

The effective date for the revised limits above allows for retroactivity back to January 1, 2012 if an employer so chooses under Sec. 203.
In 2012, the IRS Transportation (Commuting) Benefits rolled back to pre-2009 levels of $125 per month (adjusted for inflation) for vanpool expenses and public transit passes. The maximum was temporarily raised to $230 per month under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and extended under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 to equal the monthly qualified commuter parking limit.
Qualified bicycle commuting reimbursements will remain unchanged at $20 per month in the new year.
By offering pre-tax commute benefits to employees, employers can save on paying FICA payroll taxes  and employees can take advantage of saving on federal withholding and FICA taxes on the amount deducted. Find out more from these third-party commute benefit administrators: Benefit Resource Inc., Clipper Direct, TranBen, TransitCenter (TransitChek), and WageWorks.

Image Credit: 401(K) 2013