With 2022 just around the corner, we highlight two things that come with the new year – an increase in Bay Area bridge tolls and new laws that affect drivers.
Bay Area Bridge Tolls: Tolls at the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges will go up by $1 on January 1, 2022. Regular tolls for cars, trucks, and motorcycles at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay, Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael, and San Mateo-Hayward bridges will increase to $7.
Great Weather Creates High Bike to Work Day Turnout
Thousands of East Bay residents pedaled to work on Thursday, May 10 to celebrate the 24th annual Bay Area Bike to Work Day. Morning counts taken at East Bay Energizer Stations tallied 19,800 people either stopping in or rolling by. In Contra Costa alone, over 4,000 riders were counted.
The event’s 48 Energizer Stations were located next to popular bike commute routes, along regional trails, at BART and other transit stations, and in downtown areas around Contra Costa. Volunteers cheered cyclists on by giving away coffee, snacks, and free Bike to Work Day bags.
Free Bike Bells: At the 511 Contra Costa Energizer station in Walnut Creek, the East Bay Regional Park District affixed over 200 free bike bells as part of their “Share Our Trails: Ring or Call Out” trail safety and etiquette program.
A BTWD Success Story: Sometimes all it takes is one bike commute for people to realize they’d like to bike to work regularly. That’s what happened with K. Myers – she literally started cycling on Bike to Work Day and is now committed to making her commute between Concord and Walnut Creek by bicycle every Thursday to work at AAA. When asked how she would get home in the case of emergency, she said, “Uber, Lyft or GIG if it was available in Walnut Creek.” Clayton to Concord for a Decade: Steve Biggs has been bike commuting between Clayton and Concord most days for the past 10 years. Although he biked for fitness throughout much of his life, it was only 10 years ago that Bike to Work Day inspired him to try biking to work. This year’s BTWD was his 10th year anniversary as a bike commuter, so he whipped up a bike-blended smoothie on the trail.
Steve recently bought an e-bike which allowed him to commute in the driving rain this past winter. He discovered that with his e-bike he was able to travel more in step with cars on the road, making him feel safer.
During the summer Steve rides his road bike. He loves cycling to work and to the grocery store. An added bonus from cycling to work is that it has increased his fitness level for his double centuries (200 mi. rides).
Bike to School Events: Bike to Work Day wasn’t just for commuters – local students and teachers joined in the fun with 117 schools hosting Bike to School Day festivities on Thursday and throughout National Bike Month this May.
Participation Up Substantially: Participation in Bike to Work Day has increased 30% over the past five years.
Elected Officials Join on Two Wheels
In Brentwood, Mayor Robert Taylor and Brentwood Traffic Engineer, Steve Kersevan, joined the Delta Pedalers Bicycle Club at their City Park Energizer Station.
Moment of the Day
Longtime Bike to Work Day volunteer Dick Anderson (age 82), who hosted the Martinez Amtrak Energizer Station, had a story to share which seems sums up the ‘people helping people’ spirit behind Energizer Stations: A young couple got off the last train of the morning commute. They were about to transfer their boxed bikes to an AMTRAK bus to continue their journey. After I presented them with bike bags, Gatorade and bagels they offered to pay me for them. I told her that I do this strictly as a volunteer and I’d never accept any payment anyway. Since I was ready to pack up for the day, the fellow offered to take the table I borrowed from AMTRAK back for me, saving me the effort.
Is carpooling for you? Here’s a quick test: Do you dislike sitting in traffic, enjoy saving money and wouldn’t mind a little company on the drive to work? If you answered “yes”, keep reading. Myths Debunked “It’s hard to find people to carpool with.” Finding people to carpool with is actually easier than it’s ever been. Beyond networking with friends, neighbors & co-workers to create a traditional carpool, apps like Lyft Line, UberPOOL, Scoop and Carzac help you connect with a carpool one ride at a time with no long-term commitment. Advance planning ranges from a few hours (Scoop) to a few minutes (LyftLine, UberPOOL). “Carpooling doesn’t offer enough flexibility.” Carpooling works best when you tailor it to your needs. You don’t have to carpool five days a week; you can carpool as much as you like. Would you like to alternate between riding and driving? That can be arranged. And if you enjoy having no long-term commitment but want to go app-free, you can always try Casual Carpool. Just remember, there’s no wrong way to carpool!
“If I miss my carpool, I’ll be stranded.” The Guaranteed Ride Home program ensures that carpoolers (and other alternative commuters) have a ride home when the unexpected happens. In the event of a crisis, unscheduled overtime or a carpool vehicle breaking down, Guaranteed Ride Home will reimburse you for your taxi or rideshare trip home up to six times a calendar year if you’re registered in the program.
NOTE: Which Guaranteed Ride Home program you’re eligible for depends on your county of employment. For more information, click the appropriate county program in the table above.
The Benefits of Carpooling
Here are some strong arguments in favor of carpooling:
Faster Commute: With access to more HOV lanes in Contra Costa County, you travel faster and get to work sooner
Save Money: Splitting the cost of gas and tolls saves you money
Cleaner Air: Fewer cars on the road means less emissions and better air quality
Less Stress: Getting out from behind the wheel allows you to read, relax, or even work
Be Social: If you have to drive to work, why do it alone?
Get Happy:Studieshave shown a direct link between shorter commutes and greater satisfaction with life
Ready to give carpooling a try? If you live or work in Contra Costa be sure to sign up for the $25 Commuter Incentive, then visit the 511CC Carpool page for more information on how to get started! If you have any questions about carpooling, feel free to contact us by firstname.lastname@example.org.