Is getting around West County getting harder? Is traffic on I-80 at every hour of the day getting you down? If you’re interested in providing input to the design of public transportation that works for you, join staff and other citizens at a community workshop to help shape the future of transit in West County.
The West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC) is hosting a series of community workshops and an online survey to develop realistic public transportation alternatives to driving and commuting on congested roadways. Do you live in Richmond and want an express bus to see your family in Oakland? Do you live in Hercules and want BART to get you into San Francisco on workdays? These are just some of the options being considered, but policy makers need your input to decide which options will move the region one step closer to reality.
If you live, work, or travel anywhere in West County and are interested in expanding your transportation options, WCCTAC wants to hear from you! Attend the workshop closest to you or the one that works best for your schedule (the same information will be provided at each workshop). Attendees will have a chance to win pre-loaded Clipper Cards from 511 Contra Costa! West County Community Workshops: Tuesday, April 12
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
San Pablo City Council Chambers
13831 San Pablo Avenue, San Pablo
Add to calendar: Google | Outlook | iCal Wednesday, April 13
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Pinole City Council Chambers
2131 Pear Street, Pinole
Add to calendar: Google | Outlook | iCal Thursday, April 14
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Richmond City Council Chambers
440 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond
Add to calendar: Google | Outlook | iCal
If you can’t make it to one of the workshops, your option can still be heard. One week before the April meetings, WCCTAC will post a brief survey to learn more about your preferred travel methods and favorite destinations at WestCountyTransitStudy.com. Using your the public’s, WCCTAC will determine which transit options will make it to the next stage. A second round of workshops will be held in the fall to see what the public thinks about the options that were advanced.
If you’re considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV), visit San Francisco the weekend of November 23 & 24 for an Experience Electric event, where you can test drive EVs from a variety of manufacturers for free.
The test-drive weekend is part of a series of Experience Electric events put together by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and Center for Sustainable Energy. The goal of the series is to spur electric vehicle adoption by offering thousands of free test drives around the Bay.
At the event, licensed drivers can test vehicles from a variety of manufacturers free of charge with no sales pressure. Participants should check in at the EV test drive area outside the main entrance of the Moscone Center. Experience Electric Test-Drive Event Moscone Center (outside main entrance) 747 Howard Street, San Francisco Monday & Tuesday, November 23rd & 24th – 10am to 4pm
For more information, check out the MTC press release.
The wait is over! Clipper is now accepted on County Connection, WestCAT, Wheels (LAVTA) and Tri Delta Transit buses. Here is some information to help you get started using Clipper: How to Get a Clipper Card: If you don’t already have a Clipper card, you can order one by phone, visit ClipperCard.com, or purchase one at transit agency ticket offices and select retail stores. (Details) 31-Day Pass vs. Cash: You can use a 31-Day Pass or cash value on a Clipper card. To determine the best value for you, visit the appropriate fare page:
Clipper Discounts: Clipper offers discount cards for youths and seniors. Customers with disabilities may also receive a discount card through the Regional Transit Connection (RTC) program. (Details) Clipper Applies Transit Agency Discounts: Each transit agency offers its own discounted fares, passes, and/or tickets for adults, youths, seniors and passengers with disabilities. When you use cash value on a Youth, Senior or RTC Clipper card, Clipper automatically applies any available discounts for which you are eligible. Routes Which Now Accept Clipper:
Tri Delta Transit: All fixed routes.
County Connection: All regular and express fixed routes except routes 250 and 260 and the Alamo Creek Shuttle.
WestCAT: All routes except the local portion of the Lynx route. If you ride a Lynx bus for a local trip, you should pay your fare in cash, or Clipper will charge you a transbay fare.
Wheels: All fixed routes.
How to Use Clipper: Tag your card by holding it flat against the Clipper logo on the Clipper card reader, and wait for the beep and green light. If your card balance is low, the reader will beep twice and display a yellow light. You can still board the bus, but you will need to add value to your card before your next trip. If you do not have enough value on your card, the reader will beep three times and display a red light, and you will not be able to pay your fare with Clipper. Transfers Between Bus Systems: Clipper automatically grants you one free transfer from other Wheels, County Connection, Tri Delta Transit and WestCAT routes. If you are transferring to a transit service that does not accept Clipper, you should request a paper transfer. Day Pass: A Day Pass gives you unlimited rides on a single day: $3.75 for adults and youth, $1.75 for senior and RTC customers. The Day Pass is a regional pass good on most Tri Delta Transit, County Connection, WestCAT and Wheels routes. You get the Day Pass discount automatically – once you pay $3.75 in fares in a day on any combination of the participating transit services, your rides will be free of charge for the rest of that day. Free transfers and fares paid on WestCAT Lynx Transbay service do not apply toward a Day Pass.
For more information on how using Clipper works with regard to a specific transit agency, visit ClipperCard.com and click the logo of the transit agency you’re interested in.
Construction 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to request project updates. Construction is a dynamic process and information is subject to change without notice. Work is subject to weather conditions.
Give feedback to help shape the future of Contra Costa County and the Bay Area at an MTC Plan Bay Area Open House – Wednesday, April 29!
Plan Bay Area is a roadmap to help Bay Area cities and counties adapt to the challenges of future population growth. Attendees will have the opportunity to view displays and offer comments on long-term goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light-duty trucks, house the region’s projected population, improve public health, maintain the region’s transportation infrastructure and preserve open space. Developing Plan Bay Area 2040 is a collaborative process, so community input is vital in shaping the finished plan.
There will be one Open House held in each of the Bay Area’s nine counties. People are welcome to attend the session(s) of their choosing. There are two Open Houses this week:
Plans are underway to build a separated bike/pedestrian path on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. As part of a four-year Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTC) pilot project, the shoulders on the upper and lower decks of the bridge will be converted to a bike/pedestrian path and a traffic lane, respectively.
The bike/pedestrian path is slated to be 10 feet wide, separated from vehicles by either a movable barrier or temporary concrete walls, and include a raised approach on the bridge’s east side. In addition to the new path, transportation officials plan to build a bike/pedestrian trail connecting the bridge and Richmond to Point Molate.
If all goes according to plan, the bike/pedestrian path will be completed in the fall of 2017. Once complete, the new path will fill a major gap in the Bay Trail.
More information is available here.
Plans are underway to build a separated bike/pedestrian path on the upper deck of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. As part of a four-year Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTC) pilot project, the shoulders on the upper and lower decks of the bridge will be converted to a bike/pedestrian path and a traffic lane, respectively. The bike/pedestrian path is slated to be 10 feet wide, separated from vehicles by either a movable barrier or temporary concrete walls, and include a raised approach on the bridge’s east side. In addition to the new bridge path, transportation officials plan to build a bike/pedestrian trail connecting the bridge and Richmond to Point Molate.
If all goes according to plan, the bike/pedestrian path will be completed in the fall of 2017. Once complete, the new path will fill a major gap in the Bay Trail.
In late January, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission unveiled their new Vital Signs website. Drawing from over 20 years of data, the website offers interactive, customizable charts and graphs on various aspects of transportation in the Bay Area. According to the MTC, the idea behind the project is to allow Bay Area residents, “to track the region’s progress toward reaching key transportation, land use, environmental and economic policy goals.” The MTC plans to add land use and economic development data to the site in the spring and data relating to environmental and safety questions in the summer.
Because of the interactive nature of the site, users can essentially create their own charts and graphs by choosing which cities, counties or metro areas are displayed. It’s a way to track both changes over time as well as differences between communities and regions. You can select various transportation performance indicators, called ‘measures’, relating to commuting, congestion, transit reliability and ridership, traffic volume, pavement condition, bridge and transit condition, and transit system efficiency.
It’s quick and easy to change a chart or graph to reflect the information you want to see. For example, if you visit Vital Sign’s ‘Transit Ridership’ page and scroll down to ‘Local Focus’, by clicking on the names of transit agencies you can select/deselect them. In this particular example, the result is a Contra Costa-focused graph:
Want to know what pavement conditions are like in your area? You can see general results or street-by-street results depending on how much you zoom in:
For people who want to go beyond the interactive site and work with the raw data, the MTC has made it easy to access. Just click on the ‘Data Center’ icon in the website’s top-right corner.
You’ll find the new website at vitalsigns.mtc.ca.gov. For a video tutorial on how to use the Vital Signs website, check out the video below:
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is offering opportunities for Bay Area high school students to get hands-on experience in the transportation field through paid summer internships. They are currently accepting applications for positions in 9 Bay Area counties, including Contra Costa. This year 511 Contra Costa is proud to offer two internship opportunities as part of the program, in our El Cerrito and Pleasant Hill offices.
Interested students are encouraged to apply for positions in their home county. A current list of available positions is available on the MTC website.
Qualified applicants must:
live and go to school in the county they are applying for;
have completed the 10th grade; and
be at least 16 years of age by date of hire (Thursday, June 18, 2015)*
*NOTE: If you are offered an internship, are under 18 years of age and will not be graduating prior to the start of the program, you will be required to obtain a work permit. Graduating seniors are eligible to apply.
The program is the creation of the MTC’s Minority Citizens Advisory Committee, designed to encourage young people who might not otherwise consider a career in transportation to do so. Students of all races and ethnic backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.
To apply or to get more information, visit: mtc.ca.gov/jobs/high_school or contact the MTC Internship Coordinator by phone at (510) 817-5807 or by emailing them at InternCoordinator@mtc.ca.gov. The application deadline is Sunday, March 22.
This article has been edited to reflect the MTC’s application deadline change.
In November, it was announced that Metropolitan Transportation Commission Photographer Karl Nielsen’s photograph of the Caldecott Tunnel Fourth Bore breakthrough won grand prize in AASHTO’s Faces of Transportation competition.
The photo took grand prize amongst 126 entries across three categories.
The breakthrough occurred in November of 2011 when the east and west sides of the tunnel met. Here’s an awesome video of it happening:
Karl Nielsen’s photo of this Caldecott Tunnel shotcrete nozzleman also won in the Building the Future – Individual category.
View the list of all winners in all categories.
Look for this next time you’re in a downtown San Francisco BART station. Screen grab via MTC
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission recently installed new information centers including street maps, schedules, transfer info, and large LCD screens with real-time departures on sidewalls at the Civic Center, Montgomery, and Embarcadero BART stations in San Francisco. The sleek, highly-visible updated information centers are part of the MTC’s Transit Connectivity Plan to make the Bay Area’s public key transit hubs more friendly to users. The new information centers are clear and intuitive but the most welcoming feature is undoubtedly the live screens with real-time transit arrival information. Now riders can tell at a mere glance whether they should rush to catch their train, or whether they have time to grab a cup of coffee– no more running down to the platform simply because you hear a train arriving.
The new information centers are indicated by, and signed to, large orange circles with an “i” for information (see the picture at the top of this post) and twelve additional BART stations are slated to receive the same addition by summer 2013.
See the MTC’s video below that explains the phasing in of these new information centers and see what the already installed ones look like:
With S.B. 1339 passed, are you more likely to pedal as part of your commute? Photo credit: Carrie Cizauskas
In September 2012, Governor Brown passed into law S.B. 1339 – legislation that allows the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to implement a region-wide Bay Area commuter policy benefiting employees who work at least 20 hours per week for an employer with 50 or more full-time employees in the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The purpose of the legislation is to encourage commuting by means other than single passenger automobile travel.
While some Bay Area cities already have commuter benefit policies to encourage the use of public transit or bicycling, the passage of S.B. 1339 will require select employers to offer one of the following commute benefits:
Roger Matoba’s of Pleasant Hill was honored by MTC for operating a commuter vanpool for 29 years. Roger proudly named his vanpool vehicle after the Japanese word Ichivan, meaning Number One. Departing from Pleasant Hill early each morning, Roger drove over 100 varpoolers to/from work in San Francisco for nearly three decades. It is estimated that the IchiVan traveled an estimated half million miles before retiring earlier this year.
Matoba and his ItchiVan vanpool was recently honored by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission with the Miriam Gholikely Public Service Award for his 29-year contribution to Bay Area transportation.
511 Contra Costa is proud to have nominated Roger and his IchiVan as an example to live by in reducing congestion and auto emissions saved by carrying many passengers!
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and 511 Traveler Information Service just released the 2012 edition of the Getting There on Transit guide. The free publication features detailed maps of dozens of transit systems throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, highlighting more than 250 popular destinations with public transit directions to reach them.
New content added in this edition:
Maps of the region’s 150 free Park & Ride lots (where drivers can meet for carpooling or vanpooling, or park and make transit connections).
Information about the 511 SF Bay-Transit app for iPhone 4 and Android.
Information about the 511 Enhanced Trip Planner (an online tool that provides a side-by-side comparison of using transit, driving or a combination of both).
Updated transit route maps with a new ferry routes map
Get a free copy of the 511 Getting There on Transit guide by emailing your name and address to email@example.com or calling 510.817.5836. Copies of the guide also are available through Bay Area transit operators, at Bay Area airports, and in San Francisco at the Embarcadero BART/Muni station (visit the Clipper kiosk on the main concourse) and the Bay Crossings store located in the Ferry Building.
Of course, free transit information is also available by calling 511, going to 511.org, or using the 511 SF Bay-Transit application on a smart phone.
Read more details about the Transit Guide over at MTC.
For decades, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways (MTC SAFE) has provided a lifeline to Bay Area motorists by installing and maintaining a nine-county call box system. While the boxes have become a visual reminder of safety on the freeways, their use has continued to decline since the advent and popularity of the cell phone. MTC SAFE saw this change and responded with a cell phone call box service. By dialing 511 and speaking the words “Freeway Aid” you are immediately connected to the call answering center that handles the call box calls without leaving the safety of your vehicle.
If you are broken down, in a non-emergency situation and on the shoulder, please dial 511 and say “Freeway Aid.” Non-emergency situations include having a flat tire, dead battery, running out of gas, stalling, etc. Freeway Aid is like having a roadside call box on your cell phone.
How do I use Freeway Aid?
It’s easy to use! Dial 511 on your cellphone, once connected say “Freeway Aid”. The call with then be transferred to the current call answering center that answer roadside call boxes, which will then determine your location and provide the appropriate assistance for roadside service. Who will help you?
Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) will help you if you are stranded during peak commute hours (M-F 6am-10am and 3pm-7pm). FSP will provide free roadside assistance such as changing a tire, jump-starting a battery, or providing a free tow off the highway.
Rotational Tow will aid motorists during non-commute hours. Standard rates will apply.
Get stranded on a regional bridge or tunnel? The call will be dispatched to Caltrans.
511 Freeway Aid rapidly, links the three agencies together to deploy the appropriate roadside service(s) to get motorists help and moving again.
Download and print this informational brochure to keep in your glove compartment in case of an incident. More Information
Freeway Aid was created due to the decreasing use of yellow roadside call boxes, and to ease congestion and non-emergency calls on 911. With 511 Freeway Aid,motorists on regional freeways can now rapidly access and summon non-emergency services, and decrease inappropriate 911 calls.
511 Freeway Aid only provides non-emergency roadside assistance. For information on when you should Dial 911, please visit the California Highway Patrol’s site for information.
For more information about 511 Freeway Aid, please visit the 511 website at 511.org.
Do you know a person, project or organization that is improving the way people get around the Bay Area each day?
Nominate the person, project or organization for an MTC “Excellence in Motion” Award.
Innovative activities that promote more efficient use of the transportation network or transit services.
Someone who has made a significant, lasting contribution to Bay Area transportation on the job, throughout their career, or through community service and volunteerism. This could be your favorite bus driver, another transportation professional, or community leader.
People or organizations whose efforts have resulted in significant improvements in transportation services for the elderly or persons with disabilities.
Efforts to boost smart growth, encourage climate-friendly behaviors and/or encourage the use of alternatives to driving alone.
Nominees must have been active (persons or organizations) or under way (projects) between April 2010 and March 2012.
The July 1st toll changes on all state-owned Bay Area bridges will affect almost all motorists, including carpoolers and motorcyclists. Find out how your commute will be affected by reading our FAQ. If you have a question that isn’t answered, please leave a comment below.
1. What are the new tolls for regular/single commuters during peak and non-peak commuting hours?
Golden Gate Bridge – The toll on the Golden Gate Bridge remains the same for two-axle vehicles: $5 with FasTrak, $6 cash
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge – Weekdays (Monday-Friday) from 5-10 AM and 3-7 PM: $6
All other bridges* – Every day, all day: $5
Weekdays (Monday-Friday) at all other times: $4
Weekends (Saturday and Sunday): $5
2. What is the discounted toll for carpoolers during peak hours?
Peak/carpool hours are Weekdays (Monday-Friday) from 5-9 AM and 4-6 PM
Golden Gate Bridge – With FasTrak: $3. There is no dedicated carpool lane, so you must stop in a staff-toll lane to be accurately registered as a qualifying carpool.
All other bridges* – $2.50. You must use a designated carpool lane to qualify for the discount.