infrastructure | 511 Contra Costa

Caltrans District 4 Bike Plan – Take the 2017 Survey!

Caltrans has set a target to triple bicycling by 2020, but in order to make that happen, they need your help!
The Caltrans District 4 Bicycle Plan, which is currently being created, will guide California’s decision makers in developing bicycle projects and programs. With over 2200 miles of road under their management, Caltrans is relying on local feedback to let them know what residents feel is and isn’t working and what improvements they’d like to see.
Completing the Bike Plan survey will assist Caltrans with their mission to build bicycle facilities that are safe, comfortable and convenient. These expanded and upgraded facilities will:

  • Improve public health and promote active lifestyles
  • Create connections that allow people to bike to work, school, or transit, and
  • Reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions

Caltrans want to hear from as many residents as possible, so please take the survey and help spread the word!

Play CCTA's Online Game: Spend Virtual Money, Give Real Feedback (2015 Promotion)

The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) is gathering public input to help prioritize what projects and programs should be included in their long-term roadmap for future investments – the Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP). Giving your input is both easy and fun thanks to the CCTA’s online investment game.
The way the game works is simple: You start with ten ‘coins’ which you spend on the projects most important to you. Projects are grouped by category (e.g. BART, Biking, Highways) and to ‘invest’ in a project, you just drag one (or more) coins into the project’s ‘coin box’:
Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 2.30.18 PM
Once you’ve used up all your coins, you can review and submit your investment priorities, as well as share the tool with your friends. Here’s what a completed investment ‘portfolio’ might look like, including the major project categories:
Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 2.09.00 PM
If you’d like to play the game and give your feedback to CCTA, or just want to see which projects have gotten the most support so far, visit
CCTA Funding Our Future

Concord's Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan Workshop – April 8, 2015

You’re invited to help create a more walkable and bikeable Concord at a Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan Community Workshop on Wednesday, April 8.
Community input is vital to the creation of the Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan, which seeks to improve access for pedestrians and bicyclists to the City’s BART stations, guide investments in infrastructure, improve connections between the regional trails network and downtown, and improve safe access between schools, jobs, downtown, and other important areas of the city.
A light dinner, childcare, and Spanish translation services will be provided.
Accommodation for individuals with disabilities is available by request a minimum of 5 business days before the event. For more information, view the event flyer or call (925) 671-3152.
To give immediate feedback on how Concord might improve walking and biking conditions, or to read more about the Bicycle & Pedestrian Master Plan, visit the City of Concord’s information page.

Closer Look at The Amazing "Hovenring"

With thousands of likes, shares, re-blogs, tweets, comments and views, the floating bicycle roundabout known as “Hovenring” may well be the most popular piece of bicycle infrastructure around the globe. It really is quite impressive, in fact we blogged about it shortly after it was first unveiled.  Visually, it’s sleek and beautiful…
… but there’s more to the story.
The project was an engineering feat that had to overcome some obstacles. Ethan Siegel, writing for Starts with a Bang!, notes:

“A huge challenge for building any large, suspended structure is dealing with the inevitable vibrations that will come about, and the Hovenring indeed came face-to-face with that right after its inauguration. A 70-meter (230-foot) tall central pylon was erected, which was then connected by 24 steel cables to the circular bridge deck. All told, the structure weighs in at more than one million kilograms. That much mass, constructed in this fashion, prevented torsion on the structure to keep it stable, but was insufficient to prevent severe vibrations due to winds.”

It took a few months, but the Hovenring eventually overcame all barriers and today sits as likely the most stunning roundabout – bicycle-specific or not – in the world.
For more information about Hovenring, head over to Starts with a Bang! or Twisted Sifter.

Spectacular Floating Bicycle Roundabout

Floating bicycle roundabout under construction. Photo credit: Jeroen van Lieshout
25% of all trips in the Netherlands are bike, making bicycling a part of everyday life; it’s a trivial activity that the Dutch don’t think twice about. However, the bicycling nation’s latest piece of innovative infrastructure might even amaze a local Dutchman. The municipality of  Eindhoven recently constructed a captivating bicycle roundabout to provide safe, convenient passage by bike… and it just so happens to float above motorized traffic!
Mark Wagenbuur, the influential and award winning video-maker and blogger behind Bicycle Dutch recently documented this incredible piece of infrastructure known as “Hovenring”.
He writes of the infrastructure:

The bright white 70 meters (230Ft) tall bridge pylon can be seen from far away. Attached to the top are 24 cables that suspend a large bicycle roundabout, 72 meters (236Ft) in diameter, that seems to float over a large new junction for motorized traffic…The exceptional piece of bicycle infrastructure was built to stand out. It is to be the iconic new landmark that signals ‘you are entering Eindhoven’. At night the slender bike ring is lit from below to further enhance that floating effect.

Of course, which such a distinctive design, the project didn’t come easily, Wagenbuur notes:

Building such a unique ‘circular bridge’ was more difficult than expected. During construction, early 2012, the cables vibrated much more than they were supposed to in the Dutch winds. Experts recalculated the design specifications and with some modifications and counter weights the cables became much more stable. People questioned why it was necessary to have cyclists go up so high. They feared the gradient of the entrance ramps would be too steep. But the city explained on it’s website that cyclists have to go up less than it seems, because the junction was constructed below surface level. The gradients are different on all sides, but range from just 1.86% to 3.09%.

Naturally, the impressive infrastructure was celebrated once completed

Video credit: Mark Wagenbuur
And once the festivities settled and the roundabout opened for regular use, this video shows how it looks on a daily basis

Video credit: Mark Wagenbuur
Pretty cool, right? Locally, Berkeley’s impressive I-80 bicycle and pedestrian bridge (pictured below) is probably the Bay Area’s crowning piece of infrastructure that comes closest to rivaling such an iconic and innovative investment in bicycling
Yellow Bike Rider
Berkeley’s impressive bicycle bridge. Photo credit: Jeffrey-Anthony
Elsewhere in Dutch bicycle news, A View From the Cycle Path shares that the city of Groningen has introduced a red carpet for pedestrians to keep sidewalks cleared of the masses of parked bikes;  a “problem”, if you can call it that. Check out the video below to see what this red carpet looks like in practice

Video credit: David Hembrow

Bob Dylan's top 10 infrastructure songs

In honor of Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday, the Infrastructurist compiled its list of Dylan’s top ten songs about infrastructure.
10. Down the Highway (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan)
In the liner notes to Freewheelin’, prepared by Nat Hentoff, Dylan says of this blues number: “What made the real blues singers so great is that they were able to state all the problems they had.” Dylan’s problem in “Down the Highway” is that his woman has left him, and he reflects on his down luck during a lonely walk across America, from the Golden Gate bridge to the Statue of Liberty, on the side of its highways. The trek itself provides his only sliver of solace: “I ain’t got much more to lose / Right now I’m havin’ trouble / Please don’t take away my highway shoes.”
9. Highway 61 Revisited (Highway 61 Revisited)
As both a road and a tune, Highway 61 clearly hits close to Dylan’s heart; he has only played two songs more often in concert — “All Along the Watchtower” and “Like a Rolling Stone” — and the actual U.S. Route 61 stretches south from his native Minnesota all the way to New Orleans. In “Highway” the physical road takes a secondary role to the characters who convene upon it: from a rovin’ gambler trying to start a world war to the Abraham and the seventh son. Rolling Stone’s recent countdown of the top 70 Dylan songs puts it at No. 14 and quotes the artist: “I always felt like I’d started on it, always had been on it, and could go anywhere from it.”
8. The Levee’s Gonna Break (Modern Times)
When Dylan released Modern Times in August 2006, a year after Hurricane Katrina crushed the Gulf Coast, some writers considered the song a nod to the devastation. In all likelihood Dylan’s “Levee” has more to do with his practice of commandeering old blues numbers — in this case, Memphis Minnie and Joe McCoy’s “When the Levee Breaks” — than with any attempt at cultural commentary. Still, many of the lyrics could serve as suitable captions to the images of those fleeing New Orleans: “Some people on the road carrying everything that they own.”

7. From a Buick 6 (Highway 61 Revisited)
The narrator of this twisted love tune might be addressing his “junkyard angel” from the driver’s seat of his ride; then again, he might be singing from inside the trunk. After all, he appears to be on the verge of both personal and automotive breakdown: “Well, when the pipeline gets broken and I’m lost on the river bridge / I’m cracked up on the highway and on the water’s edge / She comes down the thruway ready to sew me up with thread,” Dylan sings on “Buick.” What’s clear, at least, is how Ray LaHood would interpret the song: Fix America’s pipelines and bridges.
6. Marchin’ to the City (Tell Tale Signs – Disc 1 version)
This track was released on volume 8 of the bootleg series but recorded during the Time Out of Mind sessions, and some of its lyrics can be found on that album’s “‘Til I Fell in Love With You.” Once again Dylan’s subject is a pretty girl who done him wrong; instead of hiking across the country as in “Down the Highway,” this narrator marches toward the city. The chorus of “Marchin’” suggests he has yet to arrive in town, but the random ramblings seem to fit the mind of someone strolling city sidewalks, and Dylan captures the strange solitude of urban life: “Loneliness got a mind of its own / The more people around the more you feel alone.”

Its Open! Treat Boulevard Bike/Ped Crossing Ribbon Cutting Photos

511 Contra Costa was present at the Treat Boulevard bike/ped crossing ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct 2, 2010. Here are some photos of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Ribbon

The Official Plaque

A video of the first cyclists to cross the new bridge.

Check out our post with additional photos and a timeline of the project, or read more about the Grand Opening of the Contra Costa Centre & the Treat Boulevard overcrossing at:
Contra Costa Times