Without a change in Caltrans leadership, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is not going to offer the economical path option that was presented to the Bay Conservation and Development Commission on 2/5/09.
The Marin IJ and the SF Chron both reported the inaccurate portrayal of the project presented by Caltrans. BCDC Commissioners were told by Caltrans officials that the only savings in cost between an earlier $70 million movable barrier proposal and the latest plan to simply use concrete “k-rail” barriers would be the elimination of $25 million in operating costs. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission estimated the solid barrier price at $15 to $20 million–a small fraction of the $1 billion Caltrans has spent on the bridge in the past several years.
The McAteer-Petris Act mandates that BCDC offer the “maximum feasible public access” (§66602) essential to public welfare to correct the inadequate bay and shoreline access. In lieu of real public access over SF Bay, Caltrans suggested costly shuttles or buses. Our experience with such services is that they lack the capacity for even small groups, schedules are inadequate, and they can be abruptly curtailed, as on the Benicia-Martinez Bridge. Foremost, however, a bus or shuttle is no substitute for riding over the bay any more than a You-Tube video of the ride!