Clayton | 511 Contra Costa

Summer Bike Challenge 2020: Announcement of Grand Prize Winners

Despite COVID, 2020 Summer Bike Challenge was a big success! We’d like to thank everyone who helped make that possible.

While so many other recreational programs, activities, and summer vacations were canceled due to COVID, we received great photos and heartwarming comments from hundreds of participants. Riders were happy and grateful for a healthy and fun program that got them outside, active, and doing something fun during these otherwise strange times.

If you didn’t get enough biking this summer, or just want to ride your bike to more places, visit our Biking page for resources and tips on how to get going. You can also find lots of bike rides and bike-related events on our Bike Events page.

All registered participants were entered in a random drawing for an iPad, with one winner per city. Read about each of the eight winners and what inspired them to get on their bikes this summer.

What Is the Summer Bike Challenge?

The Summer Bike Challenge is an annual event that encourages people of all ages to get out on their bikes to enjoy healthy, no-cost summer recreation while experiencing pollution-free transportation.

The Challenge provides participants with destination ‘bingo cards’ full of interesting places to ride with special ‘Free Stuff’ prize opportunities along the way. While COVID prevented us from hosting our usual in-person prize events, we still found a way to keep the fun going by exchanging prizes for biking selfies.

2019 Earth Day Events

Earth Day is Monday, April 22! We’ve pulled together a list of Earth Day celebrations in Contra Costa, happening through Sunday, April 28.

If you see a ☀ next to an event listing, it means 511 Contra Costa staff will have a table at the event. Say hello, pick up some 511CC swag & get info on bonuses for trying an alternative (and environmentally friendly) commute.

Click any link below for additional information

Earth Day Events

Saturday, April 20

  • AntiochUpper Sand Creek Basin – Spend the morning in the beautiful Upper Sand Creek watershed, exploring an area that is usually closed to the public. Volunteer activities include trash pickup, invasive species removal, and planting native flora. Upper Sand Creek Basin, 6600 Deer Valley Rd, 9am-12pm.
  • Clayton: Clayton Cleans Up – Community clean-up day; volunteers check in at Clayton City Hall. Various locations. 9am-12pm (Must complete registration form; for more info call the Pioneer at (925) 672-0500.
  • Crockett: Crockett Shoreline Cleanup – Join the Carquinez Watershed Council in a celebration of Earth Day. The Carquinez Regional Environmental Education Center will be hosting a free planting party for the whole family; volunteers will be cleaning up trash and doing a trash assessment at the site. Crockett Shoreline, 10am-2pm.
  • Martinez ☀: John Muir Birthday–Earth Day Celebration511CC staff will be giving each person who bikes to the event a $5 Jamba Juice gift card. Celebrate pioneering naturalist John Muir’s 181st birthday at his former home while learning practical ways to help the planet thrive. There will be live music, activities for the kids and other entertainment. John Muir National Historic Site, 10am-4pm. 511CC giving people who bike to the event $5 Jamba Juice gift cards
  • Port CostaPort Costa Earth Day Cleanup – Meet at the café in Port Costa for coffee and snacks in the morning, followed by an Earth Day cleanup of the Port Costa Shoreline! 2 Canyon Lake Dr, Port Costa, 9am-12pm.
  • RichmondNorth Richmond Earth Day Cleanup & Celebration – Help clean up Wildcat Creek at Verde Elementary School. After the creek cleanup, enjoy the North Richmond Earth Day Celebration at Shields-Reid Park and Community Center including food, live performances, kids activities, and more! The Watershed Project will be hosting fun and educational watershed activities for kids of all ages. Cleanup 9-11am, festival 11am-2pm.

Sunday, April 21

Monday, April 22

  • Pleasant Hill ☀: Diablo Valley College Earth Day – Meet the experts, ask questions, and learn what you can do to be more sustainable. Live entertainment, giveaways, and free food. 511CC staff will have prizes and information on how students can earn rewards for everyday transportation with the Miles appAll are welcome. Commons at DVC, 321 Golf Club Rd, 11am-2pm. 

Tuesday, April 23

  • Pleasant Hill ☀: Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Earth Day CelebrationA day of ecologically oriented fun including a recycling contest! All ages welcome. Kaiser Permanente Medical Center – Main Courtyard, 1425 S Main St, Walnut Creek, 11:30am-1:30pm.

Wednesday, April 24

  • Concord ☀: ASI Earth Week Festival – Celebrate sustainability and Mother Earth on the CSUEB Concord campus! Talk with featured organizations and enjoy music, food, and giveaways. In front of CSUEB Concord University Union, 4700 Ygnacio Valley Rd, 11am-2pm.
  • Moraga: Saint Mary’s Earth Day Festival – Enjoy over 20 booths, including an electric vehicle car show, the Global Gael food truck, yoga, music, art, and more. Celebrate the Earth and learn about environmental issues and solutions. St. Mary’s College, De La Salle Hall, 1928 St. Mary’s Road, 12:30pm-3pm.
  • Pittsburg ☀: Los Medanos College Earth Day Fair – An opportunity to learn about environmental organizations, their work, and how to live in an environmentally friendly way. The Sierra Club will be hosting a table to share information about the work they do and outings they sponsor. Los Medanos College Campus Quad, 2700 E Leland Rd, 10am-1pm.

Saturday, April 27

  • Orinda: Orinda Action Day – A day of community service by residents and friends. Volunteers check in at the Orinda Library Plaza. Orinda Library Plaza, 26 Orinda Way, 10am-12pm.

Sunday, April 28

  • Lafayette: Lafayette Earth Day Festival – Discover opportunities to make environmentally friendly choices at the festival. Several organizations will host informative and educational booths including the Girl Scouts, the Climate Reality Project, and Wheel Kids Bicycle Club. Lucia’s, a popular Berkeley pizzeria, will offer regular, vegan and gluten-free pizzas for purchase. Lafayette Library, 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd, 11am-2pm.
  • Orinda: Wagner Ranch Wildlife Festival – Enjoy free admission to the beautiful historic ranch and 18-acre nature preserve, rarely open to the public. Join a variety of activities for all ages: wildlife fun at the Frog Pond, animals to visit in the garden, tours of the meadows, and live music. You’re also welcome to bring a picnic lunch or visit one of four food trucks. Wagner Ranch Nature Area, 350 Camino Pablo, 11:30am-4:30pm.
  • Walnut Creek: Lindsay Wildlife Experience Eco Fest – Meet wild animals – like falcons and porcupines, check out an electric car showcase, learn about sustainable food choices, and more! Lindsay Wildlife Experience, 1931 First Ave, 10am-5pm.

Monday, April 22 – Saturday, April 27: Cal State East Bay Earth Week

  • Concord: Earth Week is free & open to the public, with events including talks, tree planting days, free lunch (bring your own utensils), a scavenger hunt & more. Check the schedule for times & locations.

 

 

Steve Biggs: A Bike To Work Day Success Story (BTWD 2016)

Can Bike To Work Day change your life? Ask Steve Biggs of Clayton. He tried bike commuting in 2009 and hasn’t stopped since!
Before Bike To Work Day 2009, Steve wasn’t sure that bike commuting was for him. He’d never tried biking to work, having concerns about finding a good route, being able to get cleaned up after the ride, and not arriving late. But on May 14, 2009, he rode from Clayton to Lafayette on Bike To Work Day and was hooked!
Steve continued commuting by bike, and when he hit the six-month mark we wrote about him on our blog.
We checked in with Steve and it turns out that almost 7 years after his first bike commute he’s still going strong!
We asked Steve if he would share his bike commuting experience with us. Here’s what he had to say:
His Commute
Currently Steve bikes to work 4 days a week. His 16-mile commute from Clayton to Lafayette takes about 70 minutes — only 15 minutes more than if he had driven. He learned it’s worth taking a longer route if it helps him avoid congestion and dangerous intersections, finds most motorists to be considerate, and prefers mixed-use paths over roads because they’re not crowded during the week.
What He Enjoys About It
Beyond the bump cycling to work gives his fitness, Steve enjoys the calm he finds on the morning rides. It lets him brainstorm for the coming work day, organize his thoughts, and arrive at work feeling energized and focused. The daily rides even act as training miles for when he’s on the mountain bike — which helped him complete the Leadville 100 in Colorado, a 100-mile mountain bike race which starts at an altitude of 10,152 feet!
Strategies
According to Steve, a little planning goes a long way: Keep an extra set of clothes at work. Find a secure place to store your bike, preferably inside the office. Think about where you can freshen up after your ride (some health clubs offer ‘shower memberships’). Spend some time thinking about how you’ll transport your belongings on the bike. And most importantly, “Get used to the route before commuting to work.” Try riding it on the weekend when you’re less pressed for time.
Find a Bike Mentor
If you’re on the fence about bike commuting, Steve suggests finding a mentor or someone to help you get prepared and plan your route. Not only can experienced bike commuters share pitfalls to avoid and strategies which work for them, they often know cut-throughs (which aren’t on the map) that help you bypass congested or dangerous roads. If there isn’t someone in your office who bikes to work, you can find a Bike Buddy via the 511.org website.
btwd 2016There’s no better time than Bike To Work Day to see what it’s like to commute by bike! Look what it did for Steve. Who knows what it might do for you?
For information on Bike To Work Day, including resources to help you plan your route and find an Energizer station, visit the 511cc Bike To Work Day page.

The Future of SB 375 Implementation and Regional Planning (2015)


Julie Pierce is a council member for the City of Clayton, chair of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority and president of the Association of Bay Area Governments; she also serves on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and sits on the Board of TRANSPAC — the Regional Transportation Planning Committee for Central Contra Costa. In addition, Pierce is president of the California Association of Councils of Governments (CALCOG) — the state association for councils of governments, regional transportation planning agencies, transportation authorities and congestion management agencies. CALCOG’s board also includes representatives from the League and California State Association of Counties. For more information, visit www.calcog.org or follow CALCOG on Twitter (@The_CALCOG).  This article is courtesy of the Western City Magazine.


I am a city council member, but I am also a regionalist. These are not mutually exclusive titles — each needs the other. Regional governments are built with and depend on the expertise of local officials. Because local government is the level of government closest to the people, we hear firsthand when potholes go unfilled or the garbage is not picked up.
But our residents live in regions. It’s not unusual for someone to make their home in one city but work in a second city, shop in a third and go to a fourth for recreation. Our residents expect their local governments to work together regionally.
Enter SB 375 (Steinberg, Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008), a law that requires a Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) to go beyond existing requirements and meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. Implementing this policy at the regional level made sense to the Legislature because travel patterns could not be addressed on a city-by-city approach; it requires regional cooperation.
SB 375 also recognizes local authority and leverages the symbiotic relationship between local and regional planning. Local plans provide the baseline for all regional plans and investment decisions. Yet at some point, a transportation investment crosses local boundaries: A new bus line is funded, a road is built or a bike lane is created, and the land-use market responds. New homes are built, businesses spring up, and transit and freight routes are altered. Land-use investment drives transportation systems. And transportation investment drives land-use markets.
By the end of April 2015, all 18 metropolitan planning organizations in California will have adopted their first RTPs under SB 375. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), which was the first to adopt in 2011, will be adopting its second regional transportation plan in summer 2015. So it’s appropriate now to take stock of what SB 375 has — and has not — accomplished.
trainblurChanging the Conversation. Historians may ultimately conclude that SB 375 was more about conversation change than climate change. SB 375’s real power derives from spotlighting the RTP. In the past, these plans were barely understood by many local officials, much less by the public they represented. But SB 375 brought in stakeholders in a wonderful way. Suddenly, people (such as residents, local business owners, public health advocates, social justice groups and other stakeholders) could talk about the future of the transportation system, spotlighted by the RTP, in the same way they could engage in their local planning processes. This type of transparency and public engagement, which often involves passionate and sometimes conflicting input, can be an intense and challenging process, but it is the cornerstone of democracy and can only be good for our future.
Performance and Trajectory Are Key Measures. SB 375 added a performance metric — greenhouse gas reduction — to transportation funding, but did not say how to achieve that goal. Local and regional governments retain full discretion on how to achieve the goal. (The California Air Resources Board sets reduction targets for each region.) As a result, the appropriate way to review a particular plan is not by determining whether it includes a specific policy or practice but whether the trend line of greenhouse gas reduction and other key indicators for each unique region is improving at an appropriate pace with regard to the target.
Considerations of Fairness and Equity. Part of the conversation change created by SB 375 has been the increased participation of equity groups, such as advocates for disadvantaged communities and social justice. This is an area where we all can still do more. Because transportation and transit are critical elements to household economic independence, it is important to consider all voices in our transportation system. This means including modes and destinations that differ from those used in traditional transportation planning.
Litigation and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The California Supreme Court is considering whether to review the court of appeal’s decision in the first CEQA case brought against an RTP that includes a greenhouse reduction goal. That case was filed against the San Diego Association of Governments. Another environmental lawsuit has been filed against Merced County Association of Governments, and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the San Francisco Bay Area has been the target of four lawsuits from environmentalists and conservative property groups.
Although CEQA lawsuits are not unusual, it is a little unsettling that this costly litigation involves elements of the RTP that may or may not occur. An RTP covers 20 to 35 years. But unlike a General Plan, federal law requires that the RTP be updated every four or five years. As a result, some of the litigation involves assumptions that are made about what may or may not happen in 20 years if all the revenue, population, economic and development assumptions hold true. Think about the events of the past five years that nobody would have predicted 20 years ago, and you get the idea. It’s worth considering whether the value of defending such assumptions under the fair argument standard is a prudent use of funds when each metropolitan planning organization is required to update its plan and conduct a subsequent full environmental impact report every four years.
Funding, Funding, Funding. SB 375 is a good planning law, but it remains an unfunded regional mandate from the state. The costs of increased planning, modeling, public outreach and more environmental analysis have been only partially covered with one-time funds. Regions cobble together funds from a variety of sources — including in some instances dues from member cities and counties — and it’s unclear where the long-term planning funds will come from.
But more importantly, funding for infrastructure is critical if California is going to meet its economic, housing and climate goals. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Our transportation funding has been stagnant. It’s hard to build a new low-carbon system when so much of our current funding must be invested in maintaining what we have.
Our collective challenge as a state is to develop new sources of funding that can rebuild and restore our transportation system. CALCOG supported SB 1077 (DeSaulnier, Chapter 835, Statutes of 2014) to study the viability of a road usage charge in lieu of a gas tax, because this is the type of transformative structure that is needed. I have not, until now, mentioned cap and trade. That is because cap and trade is unlikely to produce enough revenues to facilitate transformative change in neighborhoods statewide. It’s a tool in the toolbox, but not a panacea.
Bottom-Up Regionalism. Finally, let me put my city hat back on. The regional process works only if city and county governments are fully engaged. Ultimately, a regional transportation project does not proceed unless the local governments want it. Many regional entities consider themselves “wholly owned subsidiaries” of their member local governments. Often, regional transportation agencies can provide good regionwide travel data that all member agencies can access and rely on. The agencies also provide an excellent forum for facilitation. But they do not work unless the local officials from the region are willing to collaborate — and work from the ground up. Together we are charged, by our residents and now SB 375, to plan the future of our region for our children and grandchildren’s families. To get that right, we must work together.
CONCLUSION
The future economic prosperity of our regions will be shaped by these regional strategies that expand transportation and housing options while protecting agricultural resources, open space and natural habitats. The plans start by funding long-overdue repairs to infrastructure and then look to the future by:

  • Investing in transit that connects workers to jobs
  • Providing incentives for businesses to locate in our cities
  • Offering strategies for making homes more affordable, and
  • Helping our communities plan to meet the needs of our younger generations just starting out and of baby boomers as they enter retirement

The regional visions come into focus in our downtowns, main streets and neighborhoods where investments and policies are tailored to the character of our unique communities. The decisions we make today will drive the economic prosperity of our regions tomorrow. It’s a process that requires all of us to be engaged as we shape the future of our cities, regions and state.


ABOUT SB 735

  • California comprises 18 metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs); four are multicounty organizations, and one (the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency) straddles the state line into Nevada.
  • A metropolitan planning organization is created under federal transportation law to provide local input into planning and funding transportation projects.
  • Federal law requires a metropolitan planning organization to develop a long-range (20-plus years) Regional Transportation Plan for investing transportation dollars and to program transportation funds in a way that is consistent with the long-range plan.
  • A Regional Transportation Plan is not a “plan” in the land-use sense. It’s a reasonable forecast of population growth, economic growth and future land development that is used to make informed long-range transportation investment decisions.
    Each Regional Transportation Plan must be fiscally constrained, meaning that it is based on reasonable revenue assumptions that are likely to occur.
  • In air quality “non-attainment” areas, the Regional Transportation Plan must also undergo a conformity analysis by the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of air quality requirements.
  • SB 375 requires each metropolitan planning organization to develop a Regional Transportation Plan that achieves the greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the California Air Resources Board. These targets vary by region.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


SIX THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR REGIONAL GOVERNMENT

  1. It Belongs To You. Most regional entities are joint powers authorities or transportation authorities set up to serve their members and are governed by locally elected officials. Make them work for you.
  2. Flexible & Versatile. Because regions are public agencies represented by local officials from communities throughout a county or region, they are uniquely positioned to build consensus across political boundaries.
  3. Economies of Scale. It often makes sense to do something once rather than have every agency develop a separate plan or program. In these instances, when consensus is high, regional governments can provide important economies of scale.
  4. The Sky is the Limit. When need and consensus converge, regional governments formed under joint powers agreements can take on almost any issue — ranging from habitat preservation to homelessness and from water quality to earthquake warning systems. For example, Western Riverside Council of Governments initiated a regionwide residential energy financing program (AB 811, Levine, Chapter 159, Statutes of 2008) that is attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in private financing and going statewide.
  5. Learn More About Your Council of Governments (COG). It’s worth your time to engage with your COG. Invite the executive director to lunch. Talk with your representative on the COG board. Spend 30 minutes on their website. Read an agenda.
  6. And Finally. Reach out to your fellow officials and executives at other cities and counties and ask a simple question: Is there something that we should be collaborating on to serve our communities better? You just may find another opportunity to collaborate across local boundaries.

Photo credits: Iona Davies (Drutu)/Shutterstock.com; Konstantin Sutyagin/Shutterstock.com